There are many ways in which trees can be used. The list includes paper, house building, furniture, fencing and gates (estate work), pit props (pitwood), bridges, pallets and packaging. Many species produce general purpose woods while others, particularly hardwoods from broad leaved trees have more specialised uses, such as for high quality furniture and sports equipment because of their beauty or durability.

Tree Species

Scots Pine (soft wood)

Fairly good strength; works, nails and finishes well. Easily treated with wood preservatives. Preservative treatment required when used in contact with ground.

Uses; general purpose softwood. Railway sleepers, telegraph poles, joinery, flooring, carpentry and general construction, box and packing cases, various boards, some pulp, pitwood.

Corsican Pine (soft wood)

Moderate strength; works, nails and finishes well. Easily treated with wood preservatives, preservatives needed when used in the ground. Fairly stable in changing atmospheric humidity.

Uses; general purpose softwood. Boxes, pitwood, fibreboard and ground wood pulp, woodwool, selected material suitable for joinery.

Norway Spruce (soft wood)

High strength/ weight ratio. Works easily, is difficult to get good finish, clean white colour, fairly stable in changing humidity. Preservative treatment needed if used in the ground.

Uses; kitchen furniture, boxes, cable drums, food containers, pulpwood.

Oak (Hard wood)

Hardwood durable in contact with the ground, resistant to abrasion, handsome figure.

Uses; furniture, veneers, flooring, coffin boards, sea defences, estate work, construction, cooperage, barge building.

Beech (Hard wood)

Works fairly easily, excellent strength, easy to treat with wood preservatives.

Uses; furniture, wood turning, estate work, charcoal manufacture.

Sweet Chestnut (Hard wood)

Durable in contact with ground, cleaves readily, works and finishes well, fairly stable in changing humidity.

Uses; large furniture, flooring, wood turning, estate work. Coppice- estate work, hop poles, cleft paling and fences.

Silver Birch (Hard wood)

Excellent strength, work fairly easily, readily treated with wood preservative.

Uses; furniture, wood turning, cooperage. General purpose hardwood suitable for estate work if treated with preservatives, charcoal manufacture.

Sycamore (Hard wood)

Clean white colour, easily treated with wood preservatives, works and finishes well.

Uses; furniture, veneers, food utensils, turning, textile wood ware, estate wood and rollers.

Parts of the Tree


Product: The main crop is the thicker trunk which provides timber for the saw mill (sawlogs) and produce planks or boards - sawn straight from the tree and plywood made by gluing layers of wood or 'plys' together at right angles. This is extremely strong.

Uses: furniture, construction, flooring, packing cases and pallets.

Tops of trees, thinnings (smaller, younger trees)

Product: panel boards made from the tops of trees and residues from sawmills. Panel boards include chipboard, engineered wood and oriented strand board (OSB). These are all made from small parts of the tree, flakes or fibres, which are then bonded together under pressure, although the process differs slightly in each case.

Uses: furniture, boards in construction, flooring and work tops. Can be covered in veneers or laminates.

Paper and cardboard - made by breaking wood down into fibres to produce a pulp which is mixed with water and spread in a layer before being rolled and dried under pressure.

Uses of paper and cardboard: maps, newspapers, books, stamps, labels, toilets rolls, wallpaper and more.


Product: Bark chippings

Use: playgrounds and garden mulches.

Forests cover about a third of the Earth's surface and support much of the world's biodiversity. It is estimated that about half of the world's species are found in forested areas, particularly in species-rich tropical forests. Forests also provide critical ecosystem services by replenishing oxygen in the atmosphere, reducing erosion, retaining moisture in the soil, and storing carbon. In addition, forests are one of the world's most important renewable natural resources, supplying timber products for fuel, building materials, paper, and other consumer goods, in addition to non-wood forest products, including fruit, cocoa, coconut, rubber, and coffee. There is also increasing awareness of the economic value of forests for recreation and tourism.

You can read further information on the following pages about pine wood and oak wood. Follow this link if you would like to shop by wood. You can read about furniture care advice, here. On this page you can compare pine and oak furniture


Site A-Z