LTP Newsletter - March 2005 - Issue No.10

Welcome to the Tenth Edition of this Newsletter for the Lisnavagh Timber Project


Welcome to our "new look" Newsletter! We haven't just changed the look though - you will find there is even more information now, and we are also going to run feature articles in each issue.


Currently in stock

We have almost 3,000 cu ft of sawn, air-dried and kiln dried hardwood timber in stock at the moment.  

A Summary of Current Stock and our Price List are available directly from the web site.   These lists are regularly updated and can be found at:

Our new kiln is flat out and trying to keep pace with demand - we are considering putting in a second kiln!

Finished wood

Since we set up our workshop last year, we have seen a very decent upturn in business - notably in the production of kitchen worktops.

Gerry van Soest's skills at carefully dimensioning and joining wood have resulted in several thank you letters! Repeat business for custom made worktops, shelving, mantelpieces and other finished items is very encouraging.

The waiting list is currently about 28 days, depending on timber availability.


In December, we bought an Isuzu Trooper and 14 ft trailer and started collecting some interesting logs such as walnut, yew, spalted beech and cherry from a growing list of people who have offered logs to us. In most cases, the quantity of timber is too small to justify a timber lorry - the trailer is ideal.

Combined with our own supply of (mainly windblown) timber from Lisnavagh, we had a good selection of logs for sawmilling here last week when we added a further 600 cu ft to our air drying supplies.


Our monthly sales figures are going up and up, month after month. The Lisnavagh Timber Project is continuing to grow at a fast rate with increasing numbers of customers seeking an increasing range of finished and unfinished timber products.

Web Site

Our web site, at, is achieving plenty of hits. The web site is still the most usual way for our customers to discover us.

Please make use of the Forum! You do not need to Register to see the discussion topics, or even to leave a message! (This was the case until recently, but we felt that it was putting people off using the forum and have adjusted the settings accordingly). So have a look, and leave a message! Click here to visit the Forum.

If you would like a link from our web site to yours, please visit our Links page where you can add your link to our web site. Alternatively, just e-mail us and we can add a link for you.


The Timber Project is developing at a fair rate, and our already comprehensive database needs to adapt to those changes. Eoghan O'Neill's work on this over recent months is now almost complete and will give us a more flexible system for keeping track of every board of timber in the Project as well as suppliers, customers, sales and many other aspects of the business.

Need a workshop? Or a house to rent?

We have workshop space available here at Lisnavagh. The workshops would be ideal for anybody working with hardwood timber, as there is a very plentiful supply of timber on the doorstep!

We also have a three-bedroom cottage available to rent at the moment, in case you feel like moving to the area!

Please contact William Bunbury on 059 9161285, or e-mail if you would like to learn more about these possibilities.


Thank you for reading this Newsletter and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Best wishes,

William McClintock Bunbury

The Lisnavagh Timber Project

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by William Bunbury

Drying wood

A lot of time, money and effort goes into drying (or "seasoning") timber. Why?

Timber from a freshly sawn log is called "green" timber and has a very high moisture content (MC) of around 100%MC.

Air drying

After sawmilling, the boards are stacked for air drying, using small spacers (called stickers) to separate the boards. Over time, the moisture evaporates off and the boards dry out. It takes a year for a 1" board to dry properly, two years for a 2" board and so on. When the board has dried fully to the centre, it will have a moisture content of about 18 to 20%MC.

During the drying process, some boards will warp, twist, cup, bow or split. Thankfully, most boards will stay straight and sound, but every board shrinks by as much as 10%.

If a board is going to "misbehave" it is obviously far better for it to happen during the drying process than after it has been used in a fine piece of furniture! This is why timber needs to be properly dry before use.

Once air dried, wood can be used for certain applications, for example outdoor uses. The moisture content of the wood will vary according to the environment in which it is placed. Increases in moisture content will cause the wood to expand. A decrease will cause the wood to shrink.

The stability of timber is important, and especially so with indoor furniture. Kiln drying timber down to 10%MC gives wood greater stability and reduces the extent to which expansion and contraction occur.

Kiln Drying

The Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) of wood is the moisture content that a piece of wood reaches when it is consistent with it's environment. For example, wood in a garden bench outside will have an EMC of about 20%, as with air dried timber. Wood in a piece of furniture in a modern house will have an EMC of nearer 10%.

If wood is to be used indoors, it is therefore going to be far more stable if it is dried down to 10%MC, and this is done using a kiln.

Kiln drying wood is a lengthy process, and carries several risks with it. All of the wood in a kiln can be destroyed if the kiln is not operated correctly.

We use a 16ft long dehumidifier kiln, which we built last year, and so far we have had no problems. It takes about 3 weeks to bring air dried oak form 20%MC down to 10%MC, and more than double this for 2" oak.

Once dried down to 10%MC, the wood is ready for use indoors. There will still be some movement in the timber if it's environment is allowed to alter and so furniture is carefully designed to accommodate this movement with minimal impact.

For more information on What We Do, visit:

Plane beautiful!
A story of resurrection...

In 2004, this 24" Sagar planer thicknesser was sitting in a shed near Punchestown, Co Kildare where it had been for many years.

It was rescued from the old Power's distillery in Dublin which closed in 1976, almost 30 years ago.

The machine was originally made by J. Sagar & Co of Halifax, England. The age of the machine is not known, but Sagar closed down in 1958, so we estimate the machine to be 50 years old.

The joint owners of the planer thicknesser very kindly allowed us to take it and give it a new life here at Lisnavagh, and we are extremely grateful to them for allowing us to do this.

Since last December, Gerry van Soest has painstakingly stripped the machine down to the last nut & bolt and rebuilt it. Despite a good coating of rust, the machine was in extremely good condition. Very few parts needed replacing and we were fortunate enough to have someone nearby who could machine these for us.

The Sagar planer thicknesser has now been completely restored and will be fully operational later again this month. It will give us the ability to plane or thickness boards up to 600mm wide - and give this wonderful and beautifully crafted machine the new lease of life that it so richly deserves.


Contact information

William McClintock Bunbury
The Lisnavagh Timber Project
The Farmhouse, Lisnavagh, Rathvilly, Co Carlow, Ireland

Tel:             (059) 9161784       Int'l: +353 59 91 61784
Fax:             (059) 9161475       Int'l  +353 59 91 61475

Web site:

Click here to visit our web site


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