How to 'Talk Timber'

If you have never needed to order timber before or request a price it can be quite daunting so here is a helpful guide so you get exactly what you need


Now lets talk measurements. In the timber industry but especially at Marthall size matters. Always request the sizes you are after in millimetres, inches or feet. The one to avoid is centimetres. This particular measurement can cause a bit of confusion so try to avoid using it.

Even if you talk ‘old school’, which our staff do too, modern timber practices mean almost all timbers are cut to the metric size. For example you might ask us for a 12 foot rail but you will be given the metric length of 3.6m not a full 12ft (3.66m) We do sell just a couple of rails, fence panels and purlins at imperial lengths but you need to be very specific if your rail needs to be imperial.

You will notice in our price list that we list the metric measurement first. This is the timbers true size. The imperial measurement in the brackets after is APPROXIMATE imperial sizes to help customers who still like to work that way.

If you would like square timbers instead of round remember to give all the measurements. For example if you ask for a 6ft x 4 inch you will end up with a round post. If you want a square one ask us for a 6ft 4 x 4 inch.

Our full range of sizes can be found in the price list. We can also give you a hard copy in our shop to take away.

Smooth timbers are listed in their nominal size (size before the planning process). Their actual size/finished size is around 6mm less. You will notice we put the finished size in brackets next to the nominal size. i.e.(fin 144 x 32mm).This is to aid our customers.

Sometimes Abbreviations Are Used

4ww - Four way weathered (pyramid shaped top)

1ww - 1 way weathered (sloped to allow rain water run off)

PAR - Planed all around. Most of our planed teamers have corners that's have been rounded.

Sawn or Rough Sawn - The mill saws the timbers but does not planed it.

2 wp - Two way pointed- pointed at the bottom to aid you in driving in the post, often with a machine.

Vt - V Top- We cut a V shape in the top of the post to allow a rail to sit in the gap. Often referred to as knee rail, birds mouth or birds beak.

2ex - Two pieces of timber cut from one. For example on feather edge boards. The mill takes a 125mm x 22mm board and slices it across the diagonal to create two pieces of feather edge, thus leaving a taper on each piece allowing for overlapping of the pieces when building a fence. The price shown is for one piece only.

Timber Terms

Peeled/Cundy - The mill strips the majority of the bark off the tree you are then left with a timber that is very natural in its appearance. It has lumps and bumps and it’s diameter varies. This is why peeled posts are referred to as 2-3 inch or 3-4 inch.

Machine Round/Machine Turned/Uni Round - The mill rounds off the timber so it has an even circumference. This does not mean it is perfectly smooth the timber has not been planed just rounded.

Half Round - The mill cut a full and rounded piece of timber in half, effectively creating a half piece or ‘or half round’ it will have a flat face.

Chamfered Top - The very edge of the timber is taken off to create a sloping edge.

Kick Board/Base Panel - A timber that runs along the bottom of a fence or under a fence panel. We do timber and concrete base panels and our staff can advise what size is best if you are a little unsure.

Feather Edge/Vertical Board/ Close Board - A tapered board. This taper allows it to be over lapped to build a fence. Often placed vertically hence the name. Close board is actually a 100 x 22mm butted close to the next board but is often miss used.

Pale/Picket/Lollypop - We hear these terms quite regularly. A vertical timber placed onto rails to create a picket style fence.

Hit & Miss - Pales or boards placed vertically with a gap in between them

Overlap - As a hit and miss but with an additional board placed over the top covering the gap.

Yorkshire Boarding - A 150 x 22mm board (6 x 1 inch)

V Board or TGV - TGV is tongue and groove. A profile board often used for constructing sheds and for cladding. It is some times referred to a V board due to its shape where the pieces interlock. When referred to in this manner it can be confused with feather edge. (See above)

Loglap/Ship Lap - Boards that are profiled into a certain shape. See our timber gallery. Ideal for cladding and building sheds.

Strainer - A larger post used to take the strain of a wire fence.

Playgrade - A timber that has been milled specailly for play equipment. It is slower growing and suffers from smaller/less splitting. It is normally sanded to reduce the risk of splitters. It is only milled to order.

Redwood - A slower growing softwood.

White Wood - A faster growing, less dense wood normally pine, spruce or fir.

Hardwood - A much slower growing wood. Apart from our green oak sleeper and Iroko gates we do not offer hardwood products.

Tilt Fillet - The tilt fillet is commonly used at the edge of a flat roof to form an upstand. When viewed from the end they are triangular in shape. We do not sell this at Marthall.

Arris Rail - Very popular down South but not really used up North. A square rail is spilt to create two triangular pieces. These pieces are known as arris rail. They are normally nailed to a post that has triangular shaped notches to suit the rails.

Morticed - A hole cut into the timber. Sometimes this hole allows a rail to pass through or another piece of timber to interlock with it.

Mortice & Tenoned - A hole and a corresponding timber that fits that hole to lock them together. A strong connection between timbers. Some of our gates are built with morticed and tenon joints.

Incised - Small slits are milled into the timber’s surface to aid pressure treatment. The theory is it drives the treatment further into the timber.

Cant Rail - A rail which has a slope or weather running along its length. We do not sell a cant rail.

Scant - This is a timber that is kiln dried and tends to be used for partition walls (Non load bearing). The edges tend to be square and not rounded like CLS timber. It also tends to be smaller sections than CLS timber. (Take of about 5-6mm from the nominal size for its finished size) We do not sell Scant timber.

CLS (Canadian Lumber Size) - Timber that is ideal for partition walls that are none load bearing. It tends to have a small radius on the corners and it has a smaller finished size than scant timber. (Take off approx. 12mm from the nominal size for its finished size). We do not sell CLS timber.

Eased Edge - Timber that has been planed with the corners rounded off.

Capping - A piece of timber used to finish off the top of the fence or fence panel. Normally it is shaped to allow rain water to run off.

Waney Edge - The edge of a timber that has not been milled square but left in its natural state.

Waney Lap - As above but the boards have been overlapped. Normally this has been done to create a panel or for cladding.

Planed - A smooth SQUARE EDGE timber. Approximately 6mm is lost from the nominal size.

Planed All Round (PAR) - A smooth timber with the corners rounded off. Approximately 6mm is lost from the nominal size.

Weathered Top - A slope is cut across the timber to allow rain water to run off.

Four Way Weather - A pyramid shape is cut at the top to allow rain water to run off.

UC4 - Treated for ground contact.

UC3 - Treated for above ground use.

Tanalised - "Did you know the term tanalised is a generic term that came about from the past. Let me explain. When timber treatment changed in 2003-2004 there were two main ‘players’ in the industry Tanalith E and Celcure and depending on where you were from the timber was often referred to as Tanalised or Celcurised. So over time the term just stuck, a little bit like when you say you are going to Hoover the house! The correct term is actually pressure treated."