“Dado height raised and fielded high quality oak panelling to walls with semi-matt clear lacquer finish all as dwg”.
The above is a typical example of a specification that we may receive from a designer, architect or quantity surveyor and to many, would appear to be a clear and precise description of what is required. It is largely all that is required for a craftsperson to provide a price, however, there is a great deal of difference between what is meant and intended and what is literally correct. Below we have outlined a number of points to consider and incorporate in any specification.
Timber Quality and Grading:
Specify the timber quality based on accepted terms in the UK:
- Prime (QSA) – Virtually flawless, best quality
- Joinery (Firsts and Seconds) – Acceptable knots and sap
- Character – Allows colour variations, sap, knots, and splits
- Pippy – Lots of small knots (cat’s paw)
Oak Type and Origin:
Specify the oak type and origin:
- American white oak – Less expensive
- European Oak (English or French) – Generally preferred and more expensive
- Discuss the preferred appearance considering growth location variations as there is considerable difference across Europe.
Specify the desired grain pattern:
- Rift sawn or un-figured quarter sawn for straight, unfigured oak
- Figured quarter sawn for highly figured oak with prominent medullary rays
- Crown oak for a more flowing grain pattern
- Consider adding a picture to illustrate the preference.
Construction and Material: (Using Oak as an example)
- Specify whether the panelling is solid oak, veneered, or a combination.
- Discuss suitability based on design requirements, matching grains, inlays, marquetry, or environmental conditions (dry or humid environments).
- Specify the desired finish:
- Semi-matt clear lacquer
- Confirm the sheen level percentage, e.g., 25% semi-matt.
“Dado height raised and fielded panels to match design intent and full-size moulding detail drawings. Solid timber frames and mouldings with veneered panels in Rift sawn prime quality French Oak finished with 25% semi-matt clear synthetic lacquer”.