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Strength grading of sawn timber in Europe: an explanation for engineers and researchers

Ridley-Ellis, Dan; Stapel, Peter; Baño, Vanesa


Peter Stapel

Vanesa Baño


This paper is a concise explanation of the normative background to strength grading in Europe, addressing important aspects that are commonly misunderstood by structural engineers and timber researchers. It also highlights changes that are being made to the standards to: incorporate requirements of the construction products regulations; add improvements to the system to accommodate the latest knowledge and technology; and widen the application of the standards. Where designs need to be optimised, there is an opportunity to use the system more intelligently, in combination with the latest technology, to better fit design values to the true properties of the timber resource. This can bring a design enhancement equivalent to effort improving other aspects of the structure, such as connectors and reinforcement. Parallel to this, researchers working on other aspects of structural improvement need to understand what grades really mean in respect of the properties of the timber, in order to correctly analyse the results of testing. It is also useful to know how techniques used in grading can assist with material properties characterisation for research. The amount of destructive testing involved in establishing machine grading settings and visual grading assignments presents a barrier to greater use of local timber, and diversification of commercial species, so it is important that any researcher assessing the properties of such species should consider, from the outset, doing the research in a way that can contribute to a grading dataset at a later date. This paper provides an overview of what is required for this.


Ridley-Ellis, D., Stapel, P., & Baño, V. (2016). Strength grading of sawn timber in Europe: an explanation for engineers and researchers. European Journal of Wood and Wood Products, 74(3), 291-306.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 7, 2016
Online Publication Date Mar 22, 2016
Publication Date 2016-05
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 23, 2017
Journal European Journal of Wood and Wood Products
Print ISSN 0018-3768
Electronic ISSN 1436-736X
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 74
Issue 3
Pages 291-306
Keywords Timber strength grading; European Timber Industry; grading standards; machine grading; grading dataset;
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Mar 29, 2016


EJWP ridleyellis et al submission Mar 2016 revised after proofing check.pdf (1 Mb)

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