Buying the most suitable timber

Buying timber shouldn’t be the most challenging part of your project. However, if you aren't familiar with how timber is sized, the purchasing process can be anything but easy, and when buying exotic timber - the size you see isn't what you get.


SA pine is the most commonly used wood for projects and it is available in PAR pine (planed-all-round) planks, or laminated pine shelving. The reason for its popularity for DIY projects is its affordability, versatility and the fact that it is readily available at Builders or timber merchants around the country.

The downside of using pine for projects is that the thickness varies from product to product, and across different suppliers. As an example of this, we bought three different pine products: 94mm wide PAR pine, 44mm wide PAR pine, and a board of laminated pine shelving. The 94mm pine is 22mm thick, while the 44mm pine is 20mm thick, and the laminated pine shelving is 19mm thick.

When working to a specific project plan - such as those on Kreg’s - the materials list may specify a particular thickness, and it's important to take note of this. Where the thickness varies across products used for the project, you need to adjust the dimension accordingly.

Where you are designing and drawing your own project plan, it's essential that you take into consideration the actual thickness for all the boards being used for the project. If you accidentally design your project using incorrect thickness, it may not go together as you had planned.

"It’s important to remember: length is measured in line with the grain, width is measured across the grain and thickness is measured on the edge of the board," said Greg De Villiers of Vermont Sales. "Once you understand board sizing, you’ll be ready to purchase what you need for your projects.

Another point to consider when buying timber planks or boards is that boards and planks tend to bow, warp, and twist. So, you need to examine each board to make sure it’s flat and straight. To do this, hold the board out, and look along the length of the board. Look at the edge first to check for twisting and bowing. Then look at the face to see if the board is bowed or crooked.

For more information on a selection of Kreg project plans visit and look for the Kreg brand or find Kreg’s range of plans on