Guidance

Classifying wood for import and export

Get help to classify various types of wood for import and export.

This guidance refers to chapters and headings in the UK Global Online Tariff. If you’re importing goods into Northern Ireland, or if this guidance does not include your item, read more information.

Wood items are primarily classified in chapter 44. Exclusions are listed in legal note 1 of chapter 44.

Fuel wood and logs

Fuel wood is classified under subheading 4401 11. It can be in the form of:

  • short pieces of logs
  • split logs
  • billets
  • twigs
  • faggots
  • rough sticks
  • vine stems
  • tree stumps
  • roots

Logs used for manufacturing matchsticks or pulping are classified under heading 4403 (see Rough wood and roughly squared wood). They’re carefully graded and may be bark-peeled. They’re not usually:

  • broken
  • split
  • curved
  • knotty
  • forked

Wood shavings and waste

Wood shavings used for manufacturing vinegar or clarifying liquids are classified under heading 4404.

Wood waste and scrap wood are classified under subheading 4401 3. They consist of wood that’s not usable as timber, including:

  • saw mill or planing mill rejects
  • manufacturing waste
  • broken planks
  • old (not reusable) crates
  • bark and shavings (unless classified under 4404, see Lightly-worked wood)
  • waste and scrap joinery and carpentry
  • spent dyewood and tanning wood bark

Wood waste and scrap wood intended for use as fuel (whether or not it’s been formed into common fuel types like logs, briquettes or pellets) are still classified under subheading 4401 3.

Pulpwood in rounds or quarter-split is not classed as waste or scrap wood, and is classified under heading 4403 (see Rough wood and roughly squared wood).

Wood charcoal

Wood charcoal (obtained by carbonising wood through contact with air) is classified under heading 4402. Charcoal may be in the form of:

  • blocks
  • sticks
  • granules
  • powder
  • briquettes
  • tablets
  • balls

Heading 4402 also includes charcoal obtained by carbonising shells and nuts, and charcoal agglomerated with tar.

Rough wood and roughly squared wood

Rough wood is timber in its natural, felled state, usually with the branches removed. It may be stripped of its outer and inner bark and have any rough protrusions removed.

Rough wood is classified under heading 4403 and includes:

  • fence posts – in rough primary form only
  • logs for pulping, which may or may not be quarter split
  • round logs for manufacturing, such as veneer sheets
  • logs for manufacturing, such as matchsticks and woodware
  • tree stumps and roots of special woods and certain growths, for example, those used for making veneers,
  • timber for sawing

Heading 4403 also includes:

  • half-squared wood, which has been prepared on 2 opposite faces only, ready to be cut at a sawmill for further use (such as for roofing timber)
  • certain timbers (such as teak), that have been split by wedges or hewn into baulks along the grain

Rough wood treated with paint, stains, creosote or other preservatives, is classified under subheading 4403 10.

Roughly trimmed wood for making walking-sticks, umbrellas, tool handles and similar items, is classified under heading 4404.

Lightly-worked wood

Lightly-worked wood is wood that’s been worked only a little more than rough wood. It’s classified under heading 4404 and includes:

  • hoopwood lengths (often used for manufacturing items such as barrel hoops and hurdle)
  • split poles (often used as supports in horticulture and agriculture)
  • pointed piles, pickets and stakes (round or split poles, pointed at the ends) that are not sawn lengthwise
  • wooden sticks of a length and thickness suitable for manufacturing (such as walking sticks and handles for tools)
  • chipwood (used to manufacture sheets and boards)
  • wood shavings (mainly used in vinegar manufacturing or for clarifying liquids) – these are different from wood shavings classified under heading 4401 because they have a uniform thickness, width and length and are evenly coiled

Blanks for brush bodies and boot or shoe lasts, are classified under heading 4417.

Wood-wool and wood-flour

Wood-wool and wood-flour are classified under heading 4405.

Wood-wool is made from fine slivers of coniferous wood that are curled or twisted to form a tangled mass. The slivers are of a regular size and thickness, and are a considerable length. Wood-wool is presented in pressed-bales.

Wood flour is a powder made by grinding sawdust, shavings or other wood waste. It can also be obtained by sifting sawdust, of which 8% or less of its weight is retained by a sieve, with a mesh size of 0.63 millimetres. It’s mainly used in particle board and linoleum manufacturing.

Railway and tramway sleepers

Sleepers and switch ties that are impregnated creosote (or other preservatives used for their long-term preservation) are classified under subheadings 4406 91 and 4406 92. This includes sleepers and switch ties treated with fungicide or insecticide for protection, but not when they are used for protection from fungi or parasites during shipment or storage – these are classified as ‘not impregnated’ under subheading 4406 11.

Sawn or chipped wood

Sawn or chipped wood is simply prepared timber that has been sawn or chipped along the grain, or cut by slicing or peeling. It can be any length, but must be thicker than 6 millimetres. It may be planed, sanded or finger-jointed.

Sawn or chipped wood is classified under heading 4407 and includes:

  • sawn lengths of various sizes
  • beams
  • planks
  • flitches
  • boards
  • laths

Sheets of sliced or peeled (rotary cut) wood are also included under heading 4407.

The term ‘planed’ does not cover dressed timber that has been planed to remove bumps and rough saw marks; this is classified as ‘other’ wood.

Wood sheets

Wood sheets used for veneering or making plywood (and similar laminated wood), with a thickness of no more than 6 millimetres, are classified under heading 4408. This includes sheets for plywood that have been patched with paper, plastic or wood to cover or strengthen a defect.

They can be put together to make larger sheets by :

  • splicing
  • stitching
  • using tape
  • using glue

They may also be:

  • planed
  • sanded
  • end-jointed or finger-jointed (possibly in a zig-zag pattern)

Boards, planks and panels

Boards, planks and other wood that has been sawn or squared, then continuously shaped along any of its edges or faces, are classified under heading 4409. This is whether or not the wood has been planed, sanded or end-jointed.

Continuously shaped timber may be:

  • tongued and grooved
  • rebated
  • chamfered
  • v-jointed
  • beaded
  • moulded – unless built up by superimposing a mould onto another piece of moulded or unmoulded wood (classified under headings 4418 and 4421)
  • rounded or similarly shaped

This includes:

Items not classified under heading 4409

Heading 4409 does not cover particle board, oriented strand board, fibreboard and boards of a similar nature.

Planed or other worked boards that are presented in sets (as box boards) are classified under heading 4415.

Mortised, tenoned, dovetailed or similarly worked wood, and wood assembled into panels (such as carpentry, joinery and parquet flooring panels) are classified under heading 4418.

Panels made up of roughly-sawn wood laths (slats or narrow strip of wood), assembled with glue for transportation or storage, are classified under heading 4421.

Moulded wood that has been built up by superimposing a mould onto another piece of moulded or unmoulded wood is classified under headings 4418 and 4421.

Wood that has been bronzed or had metal leaf added is generally classified under heading 4421.

Particle board, oriented strand board and fibreboard

Particle board, oriented strand board, fibreboard and boards of a similar nature are classified under headings 4410 and 4411.

Particle board

Particle board (often known as chipboard) is a flat product manufactured in various sizes by pressing or extrusion. It’s generally classified under subheading 4410 11 and is usually made from:

  • wood chips (or particles resulting from the reduction of round wood)
  • wood residues
  • fragments of wood (or other ligneous materials, such as bagasse, bamboo, cereal straw and flax)

These materials are agglomerated by a resin or other binder, to form the particle board.

Particle board is usually denser and more uniform than conventional wood and plywood. It may be impregnated with one or more substances to provide, for example, waterproofing or resistance to rot or fire. Extruded particle board may have holes running internally from end to end.

Heading 4410 also covers:

  • particle board (and similar wood board) that’s covered with plastics, paint, paper, textile materials or metal
  • particle board and laminated panels made up of several particle boards, covered on one or both faces with fibreboard
  • laminated panels made up of several particle boards and several fibreboards assembled in any order

Veneered particle board is classified under heading 4412.

Cellular wood panels that have particle board on both faces are classified under heading 4418.

Oriented strand board

Oriented strand board is made from layers of thin strands of wood, which are at least twice as long as they are wide and oriented (not randomly placed). These strands are sliced from round, wood logs with small diameters, then bonded with an exterior-type binder under heat and pressure. Oriented strand board is classified under subheading 4410 12.

Waferboard

Waferboard is a structural panel board made from thin wafers of wood, or other ligneous material, which are less than twice as long as they are wide. The wafers look like pieces of veneer and are mixed with binders, coated with waterproof glue and bonded together under heat and pressure. Waferboard is classified under subheading 4410 90.

Fibreboard

Fibreboard is made from wood and other ligneous materials and is classified in heading 4411. It may be bonded with a resin or other organic substance and may have high, medium or low density. In more detail:

  • high-density fibreboard has a density of 0.8g per cm³ – it has 2 hard surfaces, one shiny and the other printed
  • MDF (medium-density fibreboard) has a density between 0.5g per cm³ and 0.8g per cm³ – it has 2 smooth surfaces and is made using a dry production process (classified under subheading 4411 12)
  • low-density fibreboard has a density of between 0.35g per cm³ and 0.5g per cm³

Fibreboard can be shaped (for example, curved, corrugated or perforated) and cut or formed to shapes other than square or rectangular. It may also be surfaced, edge-worked and coated or covered with textile, plastics, paint, paper or metal.

Sanding is not considered to be a mechanical working.

Fibreboard known as hardboard is included under subheading 4411 12 (alongside MDF). Hardboard is made using a wet production process and (in its unworked state) has one smooth and one rough surface. Once worked, it can have 2 smooth surfaces created by a special surface treatment.

Fibreboard known as mediumboard is classified under subheading:

  • 4411 12
  • 4411 13
  • 4411 14

Where it is classified will depend on its density. Mediumboard is made using a wet production process.

Fibreboard known as softboard is classified under subheading 4411 92. Softboard is made using a wet production process.

Heading 4411 also includes door facings made of fibreboard that are rimed and moulded to the shape and style of a traditional panel door, with a density of more than 0.8g per cm³.

Plywood and veneered panels

Plywood and veneered panels are classified under heading 4412. They can be shaped (for example, curved, corrugated or perforated) and cut or formed to shapes other than square or rectangular. They may also be surfaced, edge worked, coated or covered with textile, plastics, paint, paper or metal.

Plywood made from coniferous species often has defects or hollows on the outer ply. These defects may be repaired with wood inlays or plastic filler compounds, during the manufacturing process. These materials are not considered as additional substances, so do not affect the classification of plywood under heading 4412.

Plywood may be unsanded or further prepared by sanding. The term ‘unsanded’ includes plywood that is touch-sanded (the process of smoothing irregularities on the outer ply caused by patching, plugging or filling).

Items covered under heading 4412 include:

  • blockboard, laminboard and battenboard
  • plywood or veneered panels used as flooring panels (some are also known as parquet flooring) – these panels have a thin veneer of wood fixed to the surface to make them look like flooring panels made up of parquet strips
  • laminated wooden panels for doors with a blockboard-type core (also known as door blanks) – the exposed edges of the core may be made up of pieces of wood (known as lippings) and the edges may also be veneered – the panels may may have been further worked, for example, by adding hinges or other door furniture

Densified wood

Densified wood is classified under heading 4413. It is chemically or physically treated to increase its density or hardness. The wood is deeply impregnated usually with thermosetting plastics or with molten metal, and is densified which has the effect of contracting the cells of the wood.

Densification can be done at the same time as impregnation, by gluing very thin sheets of wood (usually beech) with thermosetting plastics under heavy pressure at a high temperature. This is done so the wood is deeply impregnated and compressed, as well as bonded.

It’s most commonly made of:

  • beech
  • hornbeam
  • robinia
  • poplar

It may be in the form of:

  • blocks
  • plates
  • strips
  • profile shapes

Wooden frames

Wooden frames are classified in heading 4414. They are generally used to frame items such as:

  • paintings
  • photographs
  • mirrors

They can be:

  • any shape
  • any size
  • cut in one piece from a solid block of wood
  • built up from beadings or mouldings
  • made of inlaid wood or marquetry
  • fitted with backs, supports or plain glass

Wooden tools and kitchenware

The following items are classified under heading 4417:

  • wooden tools
  • tool bodies
  • tool handles
  • broom or brush bodies and handles
  • boot or shoe lasts
  • shoe trees.

The following items are not classified under heading 4417:

  • wood only roughly trimmed or rounded for making tool handles (classified under heading 4404)
  • wood sawn into blocks or other forms, ready to be made into articles (classified in heading 4417)
  • wood sawn into blocks or other forms, not yet shaped to the stage of blanks (classified under heading 4407)
  • wooden handles for table knives, spoons and forks (classified under heading 4421)

Kitchenware and tableware of wood are classified under heading 4419. This includes only functional items, such as:

  • spoons
  • bowls
  • rolling pins

Tableware and kitchenware that are not made only of wood (such as knives, spoons and forks with only wooden handles) are classified under heading 4421.

Ornamental items and furniture are not classified under Chapter 44.

Wooden containers

Items classified under heading 4415 include:

  • packing cases
  • boxes
  • crates
  • drums

Items classified under heading 4416 include:

  • casks
  • barrels
  • vats
  • tubs
  • other coopers’ products and parts (including staves)

Ornamental cases and boxes (for jewellery and other items) are classified under heading 4420.

Incomplete sets of wooden boards (intended to be made into packing cases, crates and other containers) are classified under heading 4421.

Wooden ornaments

Ornamental wood and wooden ornaments are classified under heading 4420. These include:

  • wood marquetry and inlaid wood (classified under subheading 4420 90) – marquetry is usually made of thin pieces of wood and sometimes uses other materials for decoration (such as shell or ivory)
  • caskets and cases for jewellery, cutlery and similar items
  • small boxes that can be carried in a pocket, handbag or on the person (such as stationery cases and needlework boxes)
  • statuettes and other ornaments
  • wooden furniture not classified in chapter 94 (such as coat or hat racks, clothes brush hangers, ashtrays and ink stands)

Builders’ joinery and carpentry

Joinery and carpentry items are generally classified under heading 4418.

Joinery means builders’ fittings, such as:

  • doors
  • windows
  • stairs
  • door and window frames

Carpentry means woodwork such as:

  • beams
  • rafters
  • roof struts (for example, those used for structural purposes, scaffolding or arch supports
  • assembled shuttering for concrete building work
  • glue laminated timber or ‘glulam’
  • cellular wood panels (classified under subheading 4418 91)
  • assembled flooring panels
  • shingles
  • shakes

Solid laminated wood panels

Solid laminated wood panels with thick cores are classified under subheading 4418 20, provided they’ve been further worked only for use as doors. This means they may have recesses for handles, locks and hinges cut into them. Unworked panels (solid core door blanks), even with veneered edges, are classified under heading 4412.

Flooring panels

Parquet flooring panels are classified in subheading 4418 79. They consist of a ‘wear layer’ made, for example, of blocks, strips, friezes assembled on a backing of an appropriate material, such as wood, particle board, paper, plastic or cork. Panels for mosaic floors are prefabricated and made up of separate square or rectangular elements.

Plywood or veneered panels meant for use as flooring panels (with a thin veneer of wood fixed to the surface) are classified under heading 4412.

Shuttering

Shuttering is classified under subheading 4418 40.

Shuttering is used for all types of concrete construction work, such as for foundations, walls and floors. It’s usually made from resinous planks and beams.

Plywood panels used for shuttering (even if they’re coated on one or both sides and intended for use as concrete shuttering) are classified under heading 4412.

Wood flooring

There is no single commodity code that covers all types of wood flooring.

Classification depends on what the flooring is made of and, in some cases, how it’s made and from what type of wood. Flooring can be made of:

  • solid wood
  • wood fibre woods
  • tropical wood
  • plastic
  • wood laminate

Sheets of sliced or peeled rotary-cut wood, and strips and friezes for parquet flooring, are classified under heading 4407. This type of wood is not fully prepared and does not give the finished appearance of parquet flooring. It has not been worked beyond planing, sanding or end-jointing.

Continuously shaped wood is classified under heading 4409. This includes non-assembled strips and friezes for parquet flooring made of narrow pieces of continuously shaped board.

Flooring that satisfies all of the following conditions is classified under heading 4411:

  • an MDF core
  • tongued and grooved (lock system)
  • a surface with a photographic wood image on paper, simulating a parquet panel, which has an overlay of varnish for protection
  • a base made of impregnated paper

Strips of plywood or veneered wood for parquet flooring are classified under heading 4412. This heading also includes plywood or veneered panels that are used as flooring panels and have a thin veneer of wood fixed to the surface to make them look like flooring panels made up of parquet strips.

Cellular wood panels and assembled parquet panels or tiles (including those consisting of parquet strips assembled on a support of one or more layers of wood) are classified under heading 4418.

More information

If this guidance does not cover your specific item in detail and you’re importing goods into Great Britain, you can search for it in the Online Trade Tariff.

If you’re importing goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK, and the EU and the goods are not ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU, you should also use the Online Trade Tariff.

If you’re importing goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and the EU, and the goods are at risk of onward movement to the EU, you should use the Northern Ireland (EU) Tariff.

If this guidance does cover your item, you’ll still need to look up the full commodity code to use in your declaration on the appropriate tariff.

You can find more ways to help you find a commodity code by referring to the links given in this section.

Published 3 August 2012
Last updated 27 April 2017 + show all updates
  1. Some codes and terms for 'tropical wood' have been updated.

  2. The following codes on this page have been updated: 4411 12, 4411 12, 4411 13, 4411 14 , 4411 92 and 4418 79.

  3. The further information section has been updated to show the change of contact details.

  4. First published.