We are timber experts, with many years of experience working with the Forestry industry, specialising in the properties of wood from grading the wood logs through extensive knowledge of live edge wood drying and advanced, unique crafting techniques to optimise longevity, durability as well as exposing and preserving natural beauty of live edge wood (square if you prefer).
Timberdeal is exceptional in the marketplace in that we offer a truly unique all-in-one service: as we are also a wood yard, we source, vacuum kiln dry, design and then handcraft all our earthy furniture and tops in our workshop in Sussex, England.
We keep in stock a vast selection of the most beautiful live edge English timber and live edge European timber, which we treat and kiln dry in our specialist on-site vacuum kiln, ensuring the stability and optimum moisture content (below 10%) for all our beautiful & earthy solid wood furniture.
Our experienced carpenters will then select the live edge wood planks on your behalf ensuring the utmost suitability for your project. For projects over £5000+vat per piece you can personally select the wood slabs for your bespoke furniture, although our clients usually trust us to make the best selection.
The prices of our standard ‘everyday range’ live edge tables (square if you prefer), live edge worktops & live edge table tops (square if you prefer) can be found in our Online Solid Wood Tables and Tops Shop
For luxury, bespoke functional art pieces please refer to our sister company Earthy Timber
If your budget is more than our standard range, but less than our exclusive Earthy Timber range, please let us know your investment figure so that we can allow for this when selecting more distinctive-featured planks for your project and use finishing techniques that will reflect your investment with us. Each piece of live edge timber in our East Sussex based wood yard is unique, as we personally select each round wood log for its rare characteristics and markings. The distinctiveness and uniqueness is a part of the beauty of our handmade earthy tables and tops.
We have an eye for detail, and we love all of the natural earthy timber ‘imperfections’, although we don’t see them as such : knots, voids, splits, and in-grown bark. We don’t hide them, we make a unique and beautiful feature out of them with our exclusive range of wood resin inserts and tree bark preservation techniques, resulting in a rustic modern appearance
The wood finishing techniques employed will obviously be dependent on your budget.
We have the exclusive ability to produce bespoke wooden furniture and wooden tops from your own tree, subject to you providing us with the license or other valid permission for cutting the tree, or if you can prove the tree fell from natural causes, and we can be satisfied that you can meet all the relevant legal obligations.
All our products are produced in an environmentally friendly and ethically justified way from timber sourced in England, Scotland and Europe. We are registered with the Forestry Commission, ref UK/FC 103323 and we support sustainable forest management. All our products are EUTR compatible.
Our vacuum kiln drying chamber uses an advanced, patented technology to reduce the moisture content of the timber to the desired level and to make the wood planks suitable for internal use. The live edge timber planks kiln dried in this way are stable and will never warp or twist after this treatment. The quality benefits of using vacuum drying will be enjoyed for the generations to come.
This superior to conventional drying technique also allows for precise extraction of water excess in the thick and wide wood slabs that are impossible to be effectively dried in conventional kilns.
Located in the Heart of Sussex, we are ideally placed to access Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, London and Essex. Amongst our projects that were delivered to Tunbridge Wells, London, Sevenoaks, Lewes, Horsham, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Cranleigh, Midhurst, Petersfield, Chichester, Arundel, Brighton, Worthing, Guildford, Dorking, Reigate, Hastings, Battle, and even the areas covering Shetland, Scotland, Holland, Sweden, Malta, Majorca, France and Belgium. Examples of these are featured in the photos throughout our website.
We have over 35 years of experience and expertise working in the wood industry, part of which was with the Forestry Commission, to deliver top quality solid wood tables and solid wood countertops. We are able to offer service with substantial stock for local trade customers covering West Sussex, East Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Kent, Essex, and London, as well as national deliveries. We build lasting relationships with our partners (we work with architects, interior designers, kitchen showrooms, artists, carpenters, joiners, cabinet makers & property developers) based on trust, understanding and real passion for wood.
Every single step of the design and manufacturing process is undertaken in our wood yard and workshop in Plumpton Green, Lewes, Sussex.
The visits to our workshop are strictly by appointment only. Please kindly use the contact form on our contact page to tell us about your project.
Kiln drying below 10% moisture content is a pivotal part of manufacturing process for the timber destined for internal use, essential if you want to enjoy high quality, long lasting wooden tables and surfaces.
Our timber vacuum kiln drying plant is a unique, patented technology, water evaporation and air circulation system, which is responsible for the most gentle yet the most effective method of wood drying. We produce expertly dried, with uniform moisture content English hardwood and European timber that is stress relieved. This process guarantees that our high quality wooden tables and worktops are dimensionally stable and free of defects associated with the drying process (such as longitudinal distortion, cupping, twisting or staining).
Quality of wood drying cannot be underestimated as it determines the quality of the final product. It is the most significant, requiring skill, care and understanding timber properties, element of the wood manufacturing process.
We also offer vacuum kiln drying as a part of the ‘fallen tree to the table’ projects.
We specialise in vacuum kiln drying homegrown timbers and European hardwoods such as, but not limited to, the following species: live edge maple, wild pear, live edge sweet chestnut, waney edge ash, live edge English ash, live edge cherry, live edge lime, walnut, live edge English walnut, live edge English elm, hornbeam, cedar, waney edge London plane, waney edge acacia, live edge yew tree , live edge oak, waney edge English oak.
The wood planks for all our projects are carefully kiln dried to the desired moisture content 10% or less. For each completed process of wood drying the certificate is issued confirming the moisture content at the beginning and the end of the process.
Being precursors of this patented technology not previously accessible on UK market we are indeed proud of our knowledge, experience and the value we add to the timber from English woodlands.
– We will ask if you followed Tree Preservation & Forestry Commission regulations and had permission for felling or pruning the tree
– We will consider when we can dry your wood species (please note different species cannot be mixed in the kiln, unless they have very similar properties. If they are varied, they may have to be dried in separate batches)
– The live edge timber (waney edge timber) thickness (please note different thicknesses cannot be mixed. If they are varied, they may have to be dried in separate batches)
– The initial and required moisture content. Have the boards been sawn during the same season or have you got a mix from different years, if so the moisture content varies significantly from board to board. If you haven’t got an accurate moisture reading than the estimated time the tree was fallen and the time it was cut and stacked for air drying will be useful. We will take the precise measurements once the timber is delivered to our site. Please keep the boards cut during different seasons separated.
– The detailed list of all lengths and widths of the live edge wood planks or live edge wood slabs.
It is only after full consideration is given to the above that we can calculate the cost and most effective options for kiln drying requirements of your own wood planks. Please note that if the timber already has defects due to incorrect storage or incorrect air drying process the problem areas may deteriorate further during the kiln drying course.
Beautiful English hardwoods can be used for making bespoke furniture as well as joinery and construction purposes. However, in order to use the English live edge wood planks to their full potential the timber must be adequately dried before it is further processed. Correctly seasoned and kiln dried waney edge timber can be used in many more settings than freshly sawn timber. Waney edge kiln dried timber slabs and waney edge kiln dried timber planks will also command a substantially higher price. Freshly cut timber contains up to 90% of water. If the water is not removed , the wood cannot be used to produce a high quality finished product. When timber is correctly dried, it machines, glues, stains and finishes better. Drying also maximises the strength of the wood, as the technical properties of timber increase as it dries below 10 % moisture content, preventing the unacceptable shrinkage after installation. The correct live edge wood drying kills wood infections, reduces vulnerability to fungal decay, as the wood reduced to below 10 % moisture content is unlikely to be attacked by wood decaying fungi. Wood kiln drying increases the effectiveness of preservative treatments as most of the preservatives should only be applied when the moisture content of the live edge timber has been reduced. Kiln drying is also preventing the corrosion of metal fixings in timber. The moisture content of the timber used for construction purposes has to meet legal requirements relating to the use of structural timber in buildings.
Please bear in mind, the waney edge timber planks and waney edge timber slabs that are not dried under controlled conditions are prone to warping, staining, and other degradation that diminishes its application and workability.
You can use this guide to successfully take control over the first step of wood slab drying and invest in the emotional and future financial value of your live edge timber planks. Please remember to follow the Forestry Commission and Tree Preservation Order regulations and seek permission for felling or pruning before you commit to any work on your tree.
Timber air drying is the first step of the drying process, which is a low cost and low energy method. The surrounding conditions must allow the live edge timber to dry slowly and evenly to avoid degradation. If dried too fast, cracking, collapse and deformation may happen. The initial stages of wood drying are the most important to avoid degradation of green sawn timber.
Stacking the live edge slabs for air drying requires great care and attention to detail for good results. For removable foundations a perfectly level base of bearers must be prepared. There must be sufficient space between the ground and the top surface of the bearers to allow for plenty of air movement under the stack (200 mm will be adequate; 300 mm is ideal). Weeds should be removed. There should be a minimal ground moisture and good surface drainage. The two end bearers should be levelled.
The ground must be firm and compacted so that it does not sink under the weight of the timber stack. Spacing between bearers should reflect the type of timber being stacked, but is usually around 1000 mm, with bearers under every line of waney edge wood planks. When the timber is stacked the live edge planks must be lined up vertically above each other from the bearer below. Attention needs to be paid to keeping the width of the stack consistent and without any lean. Outer live edge wood boards should be placed first and lined up carefully.
Weighting the stacks helps reduce distortion in the top layers of waney edge timber. Weighting must hold down the timber evenly over the top surface of the stack. Waste slab wood can be used or special concrete blocks can be made.
Seasonal weather differences should also be taken into account when drying live edge timber. Drying can take place too fast in summer and too slow in winter. In summer heat can build up under the cover and dry the top layers of timber too fast causing warping and splitting. It is advisable to weight the stack well and use a layer of buffer material such as slab of wood on top of the stack and under the iron. The top two or three layers of wood boards should be lower quality seconds. Overhead shading is beneficial for summer drying, such as that provided under trees. Shade cloth can be used for the sides of the stack to slow airflow and drying. During winter drying of waney edge timber planks is slowed, but provided the stack is covered well so that rain does not penetrate and there is reasonable air-flow through the stack, the timber will not deteriorate.
Some durable timbers can be left stacked in the weather and in fact can be conditioned this way in order to slow the drying process. In general, however, sun and rain are not conducive to drying of timber.
Please note the moisture content should be measured in the deeper layers of the wood plank (half way through). Surface moisture meters (pinless moisture readers) will not give you a valid reading! This is a very important fact to consider especially with very thick or/and very wide timber slabs. So please take this basic care at the beginning of the process and buy your wood slab from a reliable source if you want to avoid disappointment of the table or breakfast bar moving uncontrollably (incl but not limited to warping, twisting, cracks, splits and potential damages to the neighbouring furniture) in your kitchen or dining room!
Timber loses it’s moisture naturally until it reaches an equilibrium with the environment around it (for the timber air dried under the roof maximum 17-18%), at which point it neither gains nor loses moisture. This is called the equilibrium moisture content. The EMC will change as the relative humidity and temperature of the surrounding environment changes. Timber dried to 17-18% moisture content is suitable for construction industry and external furniture BUT NOT INTERNAL USE.
Once the moisture is below 30% the timber can be kiln-dried. A general rule of thumb for air drying is one year for every cm of thickness.
Lower density wood slabs generally dry faster than wood with higher density.
During the lifecycle of the tree the liquid water responsible for exchanging moisture with its surroundings moves through the cells of the wood. This water is called “free water” because it exists in water form and can be removed relatively easily from the wood.
“Bound water” is water that becomes part of the wood fibre itself, and is more difficult to remove. When wood is dried, the first thing that happens is that the free water evaporates until the timber moisture content drops to what is called fibre saturation point. Fibre saturation is generally reached when the moisture content gets to around 28%. At that point, all the free water is gone and only bound water remains. Wood does not shrink until it is below fibre saturation and the bound water begins to be removed from the cells of the wood slab.
Kiln drying below 10% moisture content is always essential for wood intended for interior uses, with the special attention given to very wide and very thick slabs and boards as they are the ones that can cause the most serious problems if the process has not been executed, or not sufficiently executed including, but not limited to, wooden slab warping, wood slab twisting, wood slab swelling, encouraging the infestation of woodworm. Also the surfaces and cabinets in direct contact with timber regardless of composition (mdf, timber plywood etc.) could potentially be affected and damaged. Unfortunately these problems can take weeks to manifest themselves, by this time your warranty for the product may expire.
Thicker and wider boards (slabs) should be dried slower and require individual approach, each drying procedure requires very close supervision and frequent adjustments, so the process is time consuming and rather demanding. The rate at which live edge timber is dried in a kiln must be carefully controlled by air temperature, humidity and air flow. To avoid excessive evaporation from wood board surfaces the air in the kiln must be kept relatively humid.
Generally speaking, difficult species, thick wood slabs, very wide wood slabs should be dried slowly because higher rates of drying will develop greater stresses in the timber which may cause warping, twisting and other distortion. Moderate temperatures and adequate humidity levels allow live edge timber to dry slower. Higher temperatures and higher levels of moisture extracted mean faster drying but with a higher risk of degradation.
Once below 30% MC, wood slab shrinks as it dries. The rate at which moisture is evaporated from the surface of the wood planks must be controlled so that it equalises with the rate at which moisture moves outward from the inner wood. The drying rate is controlled by three crucial factors: temperature, relative humidity and the rate of air circulation.
Wood slab conditioning at the end of vacuum kiln drying
We always condition our square edge wood slabs and live edge wood planks (for sale and internal use) at the end of the vacuum drying process to offset stresses caused by moisture gradients in drying. A high temperature, high humidity treatment period at the end of wood slab drying will relieve such stresses.
Wood slab correct moisture content
Vacuum kiln drying allows for a final predetermined moisture content, usually the equilibrium moisture content (EMC) for the intended end use of the wood slab. This is to minimise dimensional changes in the wood slab (plank) in service. The equilibrium moisture content will vary depending on use. For example, the in-service average EMC is below 10% for interior uses in England. However, this depends on temperature and humidity which may vary, such as in dry centrally heated houses or permanently air-conditioned buildings.
The rate of wood drying is influenced by different species, the way the timber is sawn (e.g. quarter sawn or flat sawn) and different thicknesses. It must be kept in mind that timber does not dry at a linear rate over time. More energy is needed to remove each additional unit of water as the moisture content falls.