Selecting, converting and using timber


This intermediate level standard provides the learner with the information and skills to select and convert timber appropriately for a simple oak frame structure.

CITB has developed this standard in discussion with industry


Minimum 1 day of 6 learning hours


This intermediate level standard will provide the attendee with the information and skills to select and convert timber appropriately for a simple oak frame structure.

The scope of this standard covers:

  • personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
  • felled timber
  • timbers in the round
  • debarking
  • conversion of timbers
  • timber grading
  • re-sawing
  • shrinkage and distortion
  • timber orientation
  • species of timber
  • moisture content

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard would be relevant to the following occupational groups:

  • operative and craft

Candidate pre-requisites

It is expected that the candidate will be employed within the oak frame industry or have significant relevant carpentry experience.


As a minimum, course instructors must be able to demonstrate that, in relation to this standard, they have:

  • a train the trainer or instructional techniques course certificate
  • successfully completed training to this standard
  • at least 10 years relevant industrial experience
  • a verifiable CV


Delivery may be in an on or off the job environment.

All materials and equipment must be of a suitable quality and quantity for candidates to achieve learning outcomes, and must comply with relevant legislation.

The class size and candidate/instructor ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable candidates to achieve the learning outcomes.

The following delivery methods may/may not be used in the delivery of this standard:

  • classroom
  • workshop

This standard is considered to contain 51 per cent or more practical learning.

This standard is considered to be set at an intermediate level.


For the successful completion of training, candidates must complete an end of course practical assessment and knowledge test that measures the learning outcomes and has a pass or fail criteria.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance against this standard will require initial approval of the training organisation and their content mapped to the standard. 

CITB will also conduct an approval intervention, either desk-based or centre visit, to ensure the training organisation can meet the requirements of the Training Standard. 

Approved training organisations will be required to present information on records of training and assessment upon request to CITB for desk based analysis. They will also be visited annually by the CITB quality assurance team.


There is no mandatory renewal or recommended refreshment requirements for this standard.

Approval date

April 2019

Review cycle

Either on request or in 3 year(s) from approval date.

Learning outcomes

The candidate will be able to: Additional guidance to support learning outcome

Select, fit and use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), store, maintain and report defects in training and work equipment.

Will be able to Identify the correct PPE and understand storage, maintenance and employer damage reporting procedures for:
  • safety footwear
  • safety gloves
  • safety eyewear
  • RPE/dust masks
  • knee protectors
  • hearing protectors
  • hard hats
  • high visibility clothing

Be familiar with Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) regulations, workshop hazard identification, safe working conditions.

Select appropriate felled timber in the round.

Identifying appropriate timber requirements from cutting list or framing information.

Explain the difference between conversion types as regards properties and suitability for use:

  • box hearted
  • halved
  • quartered
  • slabbed
  • sap free
  • jowled or shaped

Safely handle and move timbers in the round.

Explain safe removal of round timber from a stack.

Describe different moving techniques including;

  • dragging by tractor or horsepower
  • tirfor winch
  • timber trolley
  • mechanical plant

Safely use debarking tools.

Explain the reasons for debarking and the safe and effective procedures.

Observe and assist in the conversion of timbers.

Describe how to convert suitable timbers in a variety of methods to include;

  • band sawmill
  • circular sawmill
  • hewing
  • cleaving

Grade timber using recognised visual grading system such as British TH or European QP standards.

Explain the criteria by which to visually grade timber including;

  • knot size and position
  • grain slope and consistency
  • fungal defect
  • ring shake, heart shake
  • sap/bark inclusion
  • types of beetle infestation
  • heart position

Describe how visual grade may be used to correspond to a mechanical strength grade.

Re-saw squared timber.

Explain how visual grading can be affected by exposing new timber surfaces.

Observe and measure shrinkage and distortion of timbers.

Explain the effect and extent of the following types of shrinkage and how they may affect the performance of the timbers in the frame;

  • radial
  • tangential
  • longitudinal

Describe ways in which the effects of shrinkage may be minimised.

Orientate timber with regard to its use in the frame.

Describe how the orientation of a timber may affect its durability and its strength.

Identify and use different species of timber.

Demonstrate the ability to identify a variety of suitable structural timber species including

  • Oak
  • Chestnut
  • Ash
  • Douglas Fir
  • Larch
  • Elm
  • Pine

Explain how their properties may affect their usage

Measure the moisture content of structural timber elements.

Describe the seasoning process.

Explain how moisture content affects workability, shrinkage and suitability for use.

Additional information

Recommended reading:


FRAMING ROOFS – The best of Fine Homebuilding

BARNS OF RURAL BRITAIN –Graham Hughes ISBN 0-906969-36-0

TIMBER FRAME – Ted Benson ISBN 1-56158-281-6

TIMBER FRAMED BUILDINGS – John Bailey Bed Bucks and Cam Historic Building Research Group