Timber DIY – What You Need to Know When Choosing Timber For Your DIY Projects

Selecting the correct raw timber for use in your woodwork or DIY projects is something that is often overlooked by many DIY experts. At first, choosing the right timber can seem like a daunting task. Don’t worry though because in this timber DIY guide, I’m going to run you through the basics and make sure you know what you’re doing when choosing good timber.

When selecting your timber, it’s important to look at each and every board before making your selection. It’s hard work but it’s an essential part of the process if you want to end up with a good selection.

Start by pulling out the boards which appear to be the straightest and flatest. It’s best to pull out two or three times the actual quantity that you think you will actually need. Check the edges of each board for signs of sapwood. Sapwood sometimes affects the colour and is usually a haven for wood worm.

The next thing is to check is the figure and grain characteristics. Make sure these are similar in all the boards. It’s best to select only the timber that matches closely in characteristics.

Any pieces with bad knots require careful judgement. Check the rest of the board and if you think it’s well figured then probably usable providing that you can work between the knots.

By this point you should have properly cut your initial selection of timber down to 50%. The final choice of timber for your DIY or woodworking project should be based on colour. The colours may vary greatly from piece to peace depending on whether the boards have all been mixed together from different trees.

Shaving a small patch with a hand plane or chisel and sometimes reveal any hidden treasures may lay beneath the outer surface.

Another important thing you should be aware of is most hardwoods are also graded by quality. The best grades are firsts and seconds. While the lesser grades are known as ‘selects and commons’.

Estimating and pricing the timber is sometimes a job fraught with difficulty.

As a rule of thumb you should take the actual requirements from the cutting list and then double it as a starting point for the pricing. You can think of this as the minimum price which can then be increased.

if you’re lucky, somebody at the lumber yard may be able to help you with the pricing. As long as you’ve got some decent plans they should be able to check them out and give you a more accurate price for all your materials.