James Jones & Sons works closely with growers and land owners to source the very best quality timber and to ensure that we can utilise the entire crop regardless of diameter or specification.
Sitka Spruce, the most widely planted softwood species in Scotland and takes up to 40 years to reach maturity. Around 90% of the softwood harvested and processed by James Jones is Sitka Spruce, the other 10% being made up of Pine, Larch and Douglas Fir.
The harvesting process ensures that stock is only taken from sustainable sources, with James Jones having FSC chain of custody accreditation for all the roundwood timber it purchases. More than 100 hectares (that's approximately 140 football pitches) of forest are harvested every week to keep the company’s sawmills supplied.
Once felling is complete in an area the brash is left to die, which naturally puts valuable nutrients back into the soil. Once this has happened new saplings are planted, usually by hand, ensuring a fully sustainable cycle is maintained by James Jones and the landowner.
The logs are then transported by road to one of our sawmills. Typically we aim to harvest timber within 50-60 miles of our closest sawmill. Our mills process more than one million tonnes of roundwood every year – that’s 30,000 logs every day.
Preparing for Processing
Once at the sawmill the logs are sorted based on their size and then sent down the sawline for primary processing, where they are cut into timber sections for use in construction, pallet production, packaging, fencing and landscaping.
Like all industries, sawmilling is now heavily reliant on digital technology and every log that enters our Lockerbie 3 sawmill is digitally scanned within seconds to ensure that we can maximise the timber potential of every single log that comes into the site.
After the manual grading all timber also goes through an automated grading process – which picks up any internal quality indicators. We only ever let the highest quality timber get through.
Once primary processing is complete the timber can undergo a number of secondary processes. All wood is graded by eye by a skilled technician who removes any pieces of timber that don't meet James Jones' high standards
Treatment and Incising
The wood can then be treated in a number of ways to ensure that it will retain its shape and strength for years to come. We kiln-dry the wood to reduce the moisture content; we can treat the wood with chemicals to fight off rot and insect attacks and we can also incise wood to ensure our treatments keep our ground contact wood products in great condition.
Mini-bundling and incising
Innovations such as mini-bundling give greater protection for small section timber and James Jones was one of the first UK timber companies to introduce incising, which is the only way to ensure treated spruce fence posts meet Use Class 4, meaning we offer a 15-year warranty on all incised product.
There is 0% waste in our timber processing - everything we harvest in the forest gets used. We produce around 450,000 tonnes of bark, wood chips and sawdust (what we call co-product) a year and this goes to other companies who process that for products such as MDF, animal bedding, landscaping materials etc. We send a proportion of our co-product to the E.on biomass plant next door to our Lockerbie mill and in return they pipe hot water to our site to heat our kilns, reducing our carbon emissions by 8,000 tonnes every year.
Ensuring the best quality timber from sapling to sawmill
At every stage of the process, from forest floor to delivered product, James Jones demonstrates that taking a little more care at every stage of the process ensures that the timber we produce and sell to our loyal customers is always the very best it can be.