Timber  cut into planks, or commonly called boards,  for joinery use – floor boarding, walling, furniture making. Planks are cut in various widths, according to the type of tree and general demand. Depths vary and can be very thin or deep, but are generally between 15mm and 24mm.  Widths also can be of any width that the tree can provide but  generally vary from about 100mm ( 4 ” ) to 225 mm (9″ )- wider or narrower by bespoke milling.

Sawn edge, or straight edge, boards are used for shelving, for joining into wider widths and singly as floor or wall boarding. The edges are either butted up and glued and jointed in some way,  grooved out to take loose tongues or just butted up.

Planks for floors are usually milled with integral  tongues and grooves, so  that they interlock easily and can be fitted efficiently, even secret nailed through the tongues- the boards gold each other in place and provide a surface through which dust, and even air, will  barely penetrate.

Reclaimed timbers, especially good long ceiling joists and roof beams are often planked – sawn into strips –  to make floor boards, either sawn edge or tongue and grooved.  These have age in the material itself but no wear or damage, and the colour, although it  has deepened  or mellowed with time has less patina that it would have had  it been exposed to the air. The saw marks are sometimes   left to show, the surface may be planed smooth or left slightly rough, and the colour can be changed by induced chemical reaction- all or none, just according to the design brief it needs to fulfil.

Planking can be used vertically or horizontally, to clad walls, baths, buildings, floors and ceilings as well as for floor boarding. Wall cladding is very much in vogue at the moment- for  the clean,  linear line it provides,  for the warm colour that wood imparts, and for it’s ability to seamlessly unify flat walls with  storage spaces.

Horizontal planking reflects a country barn style existence as it echoes traditional shiplap boarding, but is as often butted up as overlapped.

Planks that run with the tree shape, even with the bark left fully or partially on, are called waney edge – and are planned and selected to work together by overlapping.

Overlapped planking is eminently suited to exterior walls and to  any room with steam and damp,  as the method creates natural water run-off planes.

Painting is the traditional finish, both for protection and distinctiveness, as can be seen in the many timber framed and planked homes and barns throughout North America,  and also across the world in any place where there are plentiful localised  timber supplies.

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