Since last year’s demise of John Boddy’s and the Fine Wood and Tool Store (FWTS) at Boroughbridge I have been asked many times by leisure woodworkers where they can go to get good hardwood. This is a common problem for hobby woodworkers. They usually only require relatively small quantities which is not convenient for most wood yards and also going to a large yard can be quite intimidating. The timber offered at most yards is “in the raw” just sawn and often with the bark still attached. This is difficult to deal with if you have only basic equipment. So the set up at the FWTS was very convenient and people travelled from afar to purchase there.
Since the FWTS went down the options for woodworkers in the north have been limited. I have been recommending British hardwoods at Cross Hills near Keighley. They are a relatively small supplier and have a friendly attitude towards hobbyists. Jim, who usually serves is very patient! They also provide a machining service based on your cutting list. They stock most of the common temperate hardwoods such as euro oak, ash, steamed beech, American cherry and walnut. Their off cuts bin is very popular with my evening class students.
On a recent trip to Duffields Timber at Melmerby near Ripon, to purchase the beech for a bench making course, I had the chance to look round their new retail centre which is due to open in September. It is clear that they are planning on stepping into the shoes vacated by the FWTS (perhaps I should say FWS as they will not be selling tools) and even improving on it.
The new centre is designed so you can spend time browse the shelves of wood to make a selection. Looking at the layout of the centre I thought it was better than the FWTS, I never liked the way they stacked the wood in bins there and the space always looked a bit desolate.
There will be a wide selection of woods available as rough sawn and planed or sanded and also turning blanks (as squares rather than cut circular) Rather than my listing the timbers available I will attach the stock list from Duffields at the end of this post. Although the list only mentions sawn boards I was assured that there will also be a planed option.
Some pieces that really impressed me was some huge boards of bubinga, I didn’t measure them but they must have been about ten/twelve feet long about three feet wide and two/three inches thick. With a lot of work they would have made fantastic table tops (if you don’t mind using tropical hard woods). However they were about £2,500 each!
I was shown round the centre by Artie. I know Artie from his days at John Boddy’s, I dealt with him when I used to go to the yard at Boddy’s (Duffields took on a number of ex Boddy’s people). He is very easy going and obliging.
I hope the enterprise at Duffields is successful, it certainly fulfils a need in the region. Check it out I think you will be impressed. If you do go I would be interested to hear your opinion, please post it as a comment to this blog.
For more information contact Duffields Timber.
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