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British Elm Sawn Timber

©David Eastwood | Decorative elm table top by Matthew Burt LtdWaney edge elm drying
Decorative elm table top by Matthew Burt Ltd ©David EastwoodWaney edge elm drying

Many varieties of elm are to be found throughout Europe, though with differing levels of abundance. When elm was in plentiful supply, the varieties were often separated for specific uses, with red elm being favoured for its grain and wych elm for its strength.

Since the onset of Dutch Elm disease, however, the availability of elm has been in terminal decline and the tree has all but disappeared in central and southern England although small enclaves continue to exist around Brighton and Cambridge with parts of Scotland also having fared better.

Despite this tragic disease, we try to maintain stocks by combining British and European grown elm.  Please contact us for  information about availability.

Waney edge boards of elm will be supplied with wane (bark) on one or two edges. The boards tend to be quite short (1.6 – 2.5m) but reasonably wide.

The creamy coloured sap wood of elm is narrow and contrasts with the heart wood which ranges in colour from a pinkish brown to mauve. Much of the elm available is of the wych variety which includes streaks of green and dark purple.

The grain can be quite wild and the mixture of species results in a wide variety of colours. This can, however, be overcome by selecting planks from the same log.

Elm is an inherently unstable wood and is prone to distortion during drying.

To avoid disappointment please make an appointment before arriving at either yard to select sawn timber.

Technical Specification

Common name Elm
Other names Red elm. Wych elm. Cornish elm. Dutch elm
Family Ulmaceae
Genus Ulmus procera. Ulmus glabra. Ulmus stricta
Unit of sale M3 (Cubic meters) (1M3 = 35.315 Ft3)
Kiln dried weight Approx 580KG / M3
Specification Supplied in waney edge sawn boards
Width range: 150mm – 350mm +
Description Board
thickness (mm)
thickness ()
Kiln dried and air dried boards 27 / 41 / 54 / 80 / 100 1 / 1½ / 2 / 3 / 4
Air dried quarter sawn boards 27 / 41 / 54 / 80 / 100 1 / 1½ / 2 / 3 / 4
Moisture content
Description Board
thickness (mm)
Kiln dried Boards 27 – 54 10 – 14%
Kiln dried Boards 80 – 100 14 – 18%
Air dried Boards 27 – 100 18 – 40%
Durability BS EN350-2. Non-durable
Workability + Polishes well
   Difficult to work. Prone to distortion. Curly grain picks up when machined
Grades available Elm is available in the following grades but please note that not all thicknesses are available in all the grades:
First Joinery
This is our standard joinery grade where occasional sound knots up to 40mm are permitted, providing there is a good percentage of clear cutting. The grain and colour will vary dramatically between logs. Larger knots and defects will be measured out.Accepted: Some live knots, colour variation, heart split with areduction in volume.Not accepted: Rot, excessive worm attack, shake.

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