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English Sweet Chestnut Sawn Timber

Sweet chestnut internal doorWaney edge sweet chestnut drying
Sweet chestnut internal doorWaney edge sweet chestnut drying

Sweet chestnut trees were reputedly introduced into the British Isles by the Romans and they have flourished ever since. In many parts of southern Europe sweet chestnut is favoured over oak as a joinery timber because of its stability and mellow texture whereas in England its similarity to English oak has limited its popularity so it has remained a relatively under-utilised species.

Note: sweet chestnut should not be confused with horse chestnut (the conker tree) whose wood is white in colour and inferior for joinery purposes.

Waney edge boards of sweet chestnut will be supplied with wane (bark) on one or two edges.

The sap wood is narrow and generally usable where a waney edge feature is desired. The heart wood is similar in appearance to oak but is paler and less coarse. The easy way to differentiate between English oak and sweet chestnut is that the latter does not display the flecks or silvery streaks of the medullary rays.

Sweet chestnut often develops chocolate brown streaks which rise up from the base of the tree to create an interesting contrast to the normal coloured wood.

Sweet chestnut trees suffer from ‘stress’ and as the boards often split up the middle after cutting they do not tend to be particularly wide.

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

Technical Specification

Common name Sweet Chestnut
Other names Spanish Chestnut
Family Fagaceae
Genus Astanea sativa
Unit of sale M3 (Cubic meters) (1M3 = 35.315 Ft3)
Kiln dried weight Approx 560 KG / M3
Specification Supplied in waney edge sawn boards
Width range: 150mm – 250mm +
Description Board
thickness (mm)
thickness ()
Kiln dried and air dried boards 27 / 41 / 54 / 80 1 / 1½ / 2 / 3
Moisture content
Description Board
thickness (mm)
Kiln dried Boards 27 – 54 10 – 14%
Kiln dried Boards 80 14 – 20%
Durability BS EN350-2. Sweet chestnut is classed as durable and does not require treatment for external use as long as the sap is excluded.
Workability + Easy to work.  Stable
   Contains tannin
Grades available Sweet chestnut 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 only occasional knots up to 40mm diameter are accepted. The grain may be slightly angled and some colour variation is likely. Larger knots and defects will be measured out. Brown mineral streak is not considered a defect. Centre splits are accepted but a suitable reduction in measure will be applied.Accepted: Grain deviation, occasional knots up to 40mm, brown colouring. Other isolated defects if measured out.Not accepted: Curly grain, orange rot, black stain, ring shake, bark pockets, excessive worm attack.

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