CLIFFORD JONES TIMBER CELEBRATES ITS PLATINUM ANNIVERSARY
Clifford Jones Timber has been providing high quality timber products since 1948, and this year is celebrating 70 years as a fourth generation family business.
Based in Ruthin, North Wales, Clifford Jones Timber is one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of round timber products suitable for use within the agricultural, construction, landscaping and play industries. The company works across the region as well as nationally and internationally, supplying as far as the United Arab Emirates and even down to the Falkland Islands. They employ 55 people in Ruthin and a further 15 at their Hunter Wilson site in Gretna, Scotland, which was acquired in 2005.
The company has a history of significant investment. In the last five years alone, Clifford Jones has installed three modern kilns, fuelled through its state of the art biomass boiler running on woodchip from its sawmill operations. One kiln is dedicated specifically for drying their ECO LAM range of laminated landscaping timbers. In the last 6 months they have also invested in the latest mill technologies including a new sawline and an impressive 5-axis CNC that allows fast and creative production of particular design requirements of their timbers. The company is also about to add to their surface incising capabilities with an EXCALIBUR PRO machine to enable incising of sawn ground contact timbers to their range.
Josh Sambrook-Jones is the fourth generation of Jones’ to work for the company. “I’ve done nearly every job going on-site. As area Sales Manager, I look after key account and clients advising on their product needs, but I enjoy the opportunity to get back out on site, helping plan the new sawline or run a forklift!”
Josh and his father, Clifford Jones’ Chairman, Richard Jones credit diversity of business and having high standards as key to the company’s success and longevity: “Over the years we have grown and evolved. By diversifying we haven’t had to rely on one or two products. Our range is quite extensive, and we have multi-layers products so that should one dip, another picks up and our business runs more evenly,” said Richard.
An FSC® certified company, Clifford Jones Timber prides itself in creating products which exceed customers’ expectations for innovation, performance and quality. Their products range from machine and peeled rounds for fencing to high premium landscape grade timbers, supplying local customers as well as large businesses such as Network Rail and local authorities. The company is currently completing the stringent standards required in order to supply the Highways Agency with high performance motorway timbers. They also manufacture their own glulam timbers onsite for playground equipment production and are working on a project with Bangor University on the use of Welsh timbers for glulam construction projects.
In recent years, Clifford Jones Timber has come a long way in terms of timber protection and meeting the industry expectations, particularly for Use Class 4 ground contact projects. They now offer their Platinum Range of 15, 25 and 35-year warrantied posts, all produced from FSC homegrown timber. All are incised with their EXCALIBUR R facilities, kiln dried and Tanalith preservative treated on-site in their own treatment facilities. In addition to being incised and treated, the 35-year life posts come ceramic wrapped at ground contact level to provide an additional significant long-term durability.
“There are always customers that will go elsewhere based on price,” says Richard, “But more often than not, they return because of our quality and consistency. Our customers find that the reassurance we offer is more than worth any small variation on cost.”
Clifford Jones Timber has been working with Lonza Wood Protection since 2005 when the company acquired the Hunter Wilson site in Scotland. Hunter Wilson had been using Tanalith treatment since 2002 and had developed a strong working relationship with Lonza. The company decided to standardise the two sites using one timber treatment and continue the partnership. Recently Clifford Jones Timber became one of the first of Lonza’s customers to transition from Tanalith 8000 to Tanalith 9000 – the latest technology formulation with increased BARamine technologies to meet market needs. “We have a programme of continuous improvement with Lonza, working with them to get the best possible performance for our treated timbers,” continued Richard.
Both Clifford Jones Timber in Wales and Hunter Wilson in Scotland pressure treat all their own timbers Use Class 4, the standard recommended for ground contact timbers to protect against all forms of wood decay and insect attack. In undertaking their own processing, the company meets the preservation of wood code of practice BS8417 to give their customers every confidence that their products will have a long and low maintenance service life.
“We have millions of posts in the ground that we have supplied over the years, and because of the quality of the treatment and support we get from Lonza, any issues are truly negligible,” says Richard.
Richard Jones is passionate about the forest resource in Wales, and subsequent material supply issues which are affecting the British timber industry; “As a nationwide industry, and to the great delight of other timber-supplying countries, we are already importing far more timber than we should be doing. In terms of our forestry resources there is a better balance to be found between what works environmentally and recreationally for people enjoying a day out, and what is possible sustainably and commercially for our harvested timbers. Our homegrown timber resources could be much greater and more useful.
“Back in the 1970s we were planting over 7,000 acres of trees every year – in recent years it’s been less than 250 acres for a crop that takes 20 years or more to grow to maturity. There is a huge market for our timber. Every sawmill in Wales would double or treble production if the timber was there to feed that mill.”
The Welsh Government’s target is 2,000 hectares a year, and the environmental agency, Natural Resources Wales, said commercial timber operations remained “a high priority”.
The Clifford Jones Timber Group takes sustainable development extremely seriously and is continually looking for new ways to improve the environmental performance of all their trading activities, through to their next milestone anniversary and beyond.
For more information, visit Clifford Jones Timber’s new website www.cjtimber.com. For details on Tanalith and Lonza Wood Protection, visit www.lonzawoodprotection.com/eu