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Gloucestershire Business News

Nicks Timber finds solution to UK-wide wood problem

One of Gloucester's oldest businesses has come up with a way to future-proof buildings across the UK.

Nicks Timber has found a solution to a UK-wide problem with wood pannelling from abroad.

The business based in Canada Wharf off Bristol Road has been importing wood for more than 150 years. Over the last two decades it has seen quality drop as manufacturing shifted to China.

Around 2million cubic metres of plywood are imported to the UK each year but panels often come apart as the glue fails and air pockets appear, letting in water.

Phil McCormack, owner and MD of Nicks Timber, said: "The plywood may look the same but the manufacturing methodology and the controls put on that process to maintain an acceptable constant standard of end product just don't exist.

"With over 2,000 factories, China now produces the majority of the world's needs for this product sector.

"The advice for over a decade has been to seal the edges with old paint, varnish or PVA Glue - not a very satisfactory solution.

"There was not a product on the market that could be recommended."

Phil became aware of the scale of the issue through his work as a director of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and tried to get big brand names to find a solution. When they declined he decided to take on the challenge himself.

Nicks Timber partnered with another family business- Protek in Somerset and both firms set up subsidiary companies to manage the project.

They have invested £200,000 in developing End Seal Protection (ESP) which will work on any panel product and extend its usage.

Protek ESP Ltd dealt with the chemistry and manufacturing issues while Phil's firm Gloucester Timber Company Ltd took care of the testing and will be taking the product to market in July.

The product changes colour as it dries to indicate when this is cured and has been given the thumbs up by the The Timber Research And Development Association test centre in High Wycombe.

Phil said: "There is no doubt that this product will greatly increase the lifespan of panel products."

See our Big Interview with Phil here 

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