Intro to Timber: Supply Chain, Products, and Where to Source it

Timber is one of the most common building supplies, and is widely used in various housing related structures, commercial buildings, decks, sheds, indoor trim, outdoor features, and DIY projects.

Even with the rise in popularity of other building materials, wood is still used as either a primary material or an accent piece. It is also used as a binder in composite materials as recycled wood continues to grow in popularity for certain applications.

trees for timber

Timber supply chain: the journey from tree to timber

Timber is usually sourced from large tracts of forested area where tree growth is pre-purposed for logging. An alternative source is from smaller private timber proprietors selling lumber from their property, particularly if the wood produced is high quality.

However, timber cannot be cut and ready to use straight from the tree.  If it’s set to be used in construction or carpentry, it needs to be purpose-prepared. Once the tree is cut, it is sent to a mill where it is sawed into the boards or timber planks for purchase.

Some timber species are naturally resistant to the elements, rot and other types of fungal decay, whilst other species need to be treated to protect against such things. Timber which is likely to be in posted in the ground or outdoors may require additional specialised coating or treatment.

Inlong past decades timber would be sourced directly from forested areas for building and construction.  Thankfully those days are long gone and there are far easier ways for you to source the timber you need. The most common resource is hardware stores or specialist timber merchants . The timber in stock is already cut, treated, and good-to-go for whatever your building project or need may be.


Timber products: not all timber is created equal

It’s important to note that not all timber is the same.  Characteristics and appearance vary amongst different types of wood and also between species of tree. The uses of jarrah will differ vastly from that of un-treated pine, and the wrong material use can be detrimental to your whole project.

Some timbersare better suited to indoor use and others to outdoor. Certain types will stain better than others, while some varieties are kept as close to their natural state as possible. What you plan to use it for will also determine how the timber is treated after it is milled.


Sourcing timber: find out exactly what’s needed

Sourcing the right kind of timber for your needs doesn’t have to be complicated, even if you know next to nothing about wood. Timber projects can range from fencing to flooring, from decking to infrastructure.Beyond just the timber, you may also need other supplies such as sealant, stain, hardware and tools to successfully complete your project.

By choosing a reputable timber supplier, all you need to be clear on is the purpose you need it for, the measurements, and a ‘ball park’ idea on how much timber you’ll require to complete your project.

Reputable suppliers have knowledgeable employees who can help you in answering questions and help with technical details you might be unsure about.

Buying timber: get the best deal on your timber

It’s likely that the best deals will be with a specialist timber supplier who carries a large amount of timber stock.  They will be a one-stop-shop for price, quality, and selection for a variety of possible applications. By comparison, an outfit that stocks timber along with other materials and hardware is unlikely to get the best – or most consistent – wood direct from the mill and as such, prices might be higher.

Merchant timber stockists are especially helpful if you need a high volume of timber for a substantial project, as wood from the same “batch” will be more consistent in appearance.  Be aware that matching wood type throughout a project is often important.

The best suppliers for your timber project materials are independent timber merchants whose business model is based heavily on customer service. They will work to customise and provide all information that is specific to your project.


What’s next?

Want to learn more about timber and how to choose, build, and maintain your project? Check out Austim’s timber blog.

Ready to find the best timber supplies for your project? Get in touch with Perth’s leading timber suppliers, Austim, today!

Mike Rowney