John Grimes

Ask Grimesy

Grimesy Gardener possesses a wealth of experience although admits to not knowing everything….so if there is a question to do with wood, he asks his joinery pal, ‘Chip’ Carpenter.  If you have any technical questions or simple uncertainties, please ask away.

Some examples of questions we have received:

Q. I have just had a brown treated fence put up, but I have discoloured boards and white marks!  I know it is not your fence, but please will

David,  Thank you for the photographs you emailed over to us.  The problem that you have is quite common and is easily remedied.  Your feather edge board fence has a couple of boards which are nearly green and not brown as the others adjacent.  This is due to the boards being tightly ‘stuck’ together with sap during pressure treatment.  The brown is a dye, which is in suspension, unlike the treatment which is in solution.  During pressure treatment, the preservative is forced into the vessel and it penetrates the wood.  The dye is applied to the surfaces of the wood during the ‘submersion’ process.  We suggest you ask the contractor to come back and paint on a matching water based dye, which should be available from the source company.

Q. What is EUTR

EUTR is the abbreviation for the European Union Timber Regulation. 
What is the EUTR and how could it affect my business?
The regulation is designed to combat the trade in and harvesting of illegal timber. From 3rd March 2013, the EUTR places a legal obligation on all those placing timber or timber products on the European market for the first time (known as operators) to conduct due diligence (DD) on these products to minimise the risk that they are from illegal sources.
John Grimes Sawmills are in the process of ensuring that ALL their suppliers are EUTR compliant.

Q. Is there a specific type of treatment that would be more effective when looking to protect my fencing at home

Always a good question.  To which there are a couple of answers and many suggestions.  Many recommend treating a fence at the end of the growing season as plants and climbers die back.  The wood is usually dry and ‘takes’ preservative better.  It is also suggested that painting the fence to protect against the inclement weather of Winter.  However, some suggest leaving the ‘decorating’ until the Spring.  All wood should be maintained annually, whether it be windows, doors or any fencing. There are a range of preservative products available to protect wood against fungal and insect infestation. From water based plant/animal/child friendly to solvent based preservatives, some are better than others. 
With regard to painting the fence, again, there are a range of coatings available.  Stains, translucent coatings and water repellant coatings.  Best to read the specification sheets as well as speak to the retailer for advice.

Q. Is it worth me replacing just a few broken slats in a panel instead of the whole panel ?

Hi, Thank you for your question.  I am asked this every year by people who are not sure what to do about a broken slat or more.  It depends on a couple of factors.
1).  Is it possible to remove the panel from the posts? (Concrete posts should be easy, panel clips should be straightforward, but nailed through to a wooden post might be difficult).
2).  How old is the panel and what is it’s condition? (If the nails are badly rusted, the battens may come apart easily when laid on the ground.  If all the framing and slats are old and in poor condition, it may be difficult to nail through and into the components).
3).  Do you have the time?
It may seem an easy task to undertake and for the price of a few slats and a handful of nails.  But it is necessary to think about how much of an extended life you are giving the panel.  So it is your decision whether to spend time and energy perhaps to only extend your panel by a few seasons or replace with a new panel which should give you many years of service.

Q. I need some advice on fixing panels to timber posts.  Any tips please?

Gardening ‘Tipmeister’, Grimesy, has some recommendations when fixing panels to wood posts. 

“For ease of maintenance when unable to access both sides of your fence panel, use the metal clips and screws. Place a clip in line with each of the top and bottom horizontal rails and then depending on the height, at 300mm centres.  Pozi drive screws are practical for fixing with a battery driver, although slotted dome head are more attractive”.

“If wanting to nail the panel to the post, my chum ‘Chip’ the carpenter, suggests a round wire nail which he recommends blunting of the point with a hammer before driving through the wood.” ‘Chip’ says “every good joiner/carpenter knows that to prevent splitting of wood, a blunt nail ‘tears’ through the grain”.  ‘Chip’ goes on to say, “by using round wire nails of good quality, leave the head on the surface rather than sinking so that you can extract the nail should you ever want to remove the panel”.

Hope this helps

Q. Could you give me a price please? I need four 6x4 sturdy feather edge fence panels. and also what is the difference between those and the fe

Thank you for your enquiry.  We do not sell individual panels as we are a manufacturing wholesaler.  If you use our find a stockist search facility, you will locate your nearest stockholder of our panels.
Your question was not fully completed so we are unable to respond with regard to the ‘difference’ about which you are enquiring.
Many thanks
John Grimes Sawmills Ltd

Q. I am considering using either pressure treated panels or dipped.  Which are the best?

All species of softwood, in fact all woods, will decay/rot in time.  However, fencing in most cases is manufactured from softwood species. Pressure treatment is not as effective with Spruce as it is with Pine.  The majority of fence panels are manufactured using Spruce, so the effectiveness of pressure treatment over dipping is in my opinion marginal.
However, all manufactured wood products exposed to the elements require regular maintenance. So even if your panels are pressure treated, they will require surface treatment to prevent deterioration caused by the rain and sun.

Q. I’ve noticed many contractors use a gravel board across the bottom of panels. Should I ask for this?

Soil holds moisture and moisture causes decay.  Your fencing contractor or merchant will most probably recommend to you using a gravel board whether wood for wooden post and panel fencing and concrete with slotted concrete posts.  The gravel board will protect the bottom edge of your panels or boards.  If using a wood gravel board, ask for Pine, pressure treated with preservative.  It will not last as long as a concrete gravel board (obviously), but if it decays before the panel, you can merely replace it without having to replace the panel.