The Endgrain Project
The Endgrain Project ran from July 2009 to July 2015. It was part of the Supply Chain Efficiencies Scheme funded by the Welsh Government under the Rural Development Plan for Wales. The key aim of the project was to add value to small diameter Welsh timber. How could this be converted into value added products that used the unique qualities found in endgrain timber?
Timber tiles and cobbles can maximise the value of small diameter logs from first and second thinning of Welsh woodlands. Most tree species available in Wales can be used for tiles and cobbles. We carried out extensive research and development and through collaboration with private partners identified weaknesses and bottlenecks. These have been highlighted, solutions investigated and the supply chain strengthened from tree through to finished product.
Endgrain private project partners include:
- John Price, Aberbechan – Woodland owner
- Heartwood Timber, Caersws – Woodland contractor and timber processor
- Woods of Wales, Welshpool – Timber flooring manufacturers
The scope of the project grew in response to unique developments from the research conducted. A number of enquiries from architects and designers requiring endgrain tiles or cobbles for specific private projects were received by the project manager at Coed Cymru. Supply chains were developed here in Wales in response to these enquiries and a number of contracts were fulfilled. Examples of these completed projects can be seen under the Portfolio heading. Outputs included:
- Enquiries for endgrain tiles and cobbles to the project – 68
- Timber businesses in contact with the project – 42
- Projects facilitated and completed through the project – 14
- Hardwood targeted through the project: Ash, Alder, Beech, Birch, Cherry, Oak, Sycamore, Poplar
- Softwoods targeted through the project: Larch, Pine, Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce
During the course of the project, data provided from trials and testing to current EU standards highlighted further unique qualities of endgrain. A summary of these trials can be viewed under the Research Summary heading. The data collated gave rise to new product potential and market opportunities for designers and manufacturers such as:-
- Treatments to improve impact and wear resistance.
- Giving durability to non-durable species through resin treatment.
- Improving sound absorption qualities in certain species.
- Added slip resistance through scorching.
- New floor and wall covering products.
The above diagram shows the supply chain for thinnings from well-managed Welsh Woodlands into the Endgrain flooring market. This principle can be applied to many other timber products and demonstrates how an integrated timber supply chain can work to generate employment in the local economy and add significant value by conversion of the timber into a finished product.