Guidance

Classifying wood for import and export

How to classify wood and wooden articles for import or export, using guidance from chapter 44 of the UK Trade Tariff.

Introduction

Wood and wooden articles covered in this chapter are classified in the Integrated Tariff of the UK (the Tariff) according to:

  • how much they’ve been worked
  • their nature and purpose
  • the type of wood they’re made from

This guide will help you to identify what is and what isn’t covered in chapter 44 of the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom.

Chapter 44 covers wood and wood products under heading codes 4401 to 4421. For classification purposes the term ‘wood’ also includes bamboo and other woody materials.

There are some wood articles which chapter 44 doesn’t cover, such as furniture, toys and other items that have been significantly worked. Items like these are covered in other chapters, according to their use.

Find commodity codes and other measures applying to imports and exports by accessing our online UK Trade Tariff tool.

Some articles (though not all) must meet specific size requirements to be classified under certain heading codes.

Specialist terms are often used to describe both woodworking processes and articles made of wood. Timber and wooden items may be classified according to whether they are, or are made from, coniferous, deciduous or tropical wood.

For general guidance on wood types, you may also wish to download our glossary of wood and woodworking terms and our glossary of types of wood.

Glossary of wood and woodworking terms

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Glossary of types of wood

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Quick reference guide - what’s covered where

Item Heading code  
Bark 4403  
Barrels, wooden 4416  
Battenboard 4412  
Beadings, wooden 4409  
Beaded seat cushion, wooden 4421  
Beams 4418  
Blinds, wooden 4421  
Blockboard 4412  
Bobbins, wooden 4421  
Boxes, wooden 4415  
Briquettes, wooden 4401  
Broom handles, wooden 4417  
Brush handles, wooden 4417  
Buckets, wooden 4416  
Candle holder, wooden 4421  
Cases for cutlery, wooden 4420  
Caskets for jewellery, wooden 4420  
Casks, wooden 4416  
Charcoal 4402  
Chipboard, wooden (particle board) 4410  
Chips, wooden 4401  
Chipwood 4404  
Cigarette boxes, wooden 4420  
Coat hangers, wooden 4421  
Coffins, wooden 4421  
Collapsable pallett collars, wooden 4421  
Containers for transporting or packing goods, fibreboard 4415  
Containers for transporting or packing goods, wood 4415  
Coopers’ products, wooden 4416  
Cops (cone) for spinning and weaving, wooden 4421  
Crates, wooden 4415  
Densified wood 4413  
Doors, wooden 4418  
Drums for packing goods, wooden 4415  
Faggots (fuel wood) 4401  
Fence panels 4421  
Fence posts, not sawn to length 4404  
Fibreboard 4411  
Flour wood 4405  
Frames - door and window, wooden 4418  
Frames - mirror, photograph and picture, wooden 4414  
Fruit bowls, wooden 4419  
Fuel wood 4401  
Handles for brooms, brushes and tools, wooden 4417  
Hardboard (fibreboard) 4411  
Hoopwood 4404  
Household utensils, wooden 4419  
Hutches, wooden 4421  
Inlaid wood 4420  
Kennels, wooden 4421  
Kitchenware, wooden 4419  
Laminated wooden 4412  
Laminboard 4412  
Lasts, boot and shoe, wooden 4417  
Logs, not used fuel 4403  
Marquetry, wooden 4420  
Match splints 4421  
Mediumboard (wood) 4411  
Medium density fibreboard (MDF) 4411  
Mouldings, wooden 4409  
Needlework boxes, wooden 4420  
Nut-crackers, wooden 4419  
Ornaments, wooden 4420  
OSB, oriented strand board 4410  
Packing cases, wooden 4415  
Paddles, wooden 4421  
Pallets, wooden 4415  
Panels, cellular wooden 4418  
Particle boards 4410, 4412  
Parquet flooring panels - assembled, wooden 4418  
Paving blocks, wooden 4421  
Pellets 4401  
Pencil boards, wooden 4407, 4408  
Pitprops, wooden 4403  
Plywood, including waterproof plywood 4412  
Poles - split or pointed, wooden 4404  
Posts 4418  
Pulp and pulpwood, in the form of chips 4401  
Pulp and pulpwood 4403  
Rabbit hutches 4421  
Railway sleepers, wooden 4406  
Reels for sewing thread, wooden 4421  
Roller blind 4421  
Rolling pins 4419  
Rudders, wooden 4421  
Sapwood 4403  
Sawdust 4401  
Sleepers - railway or tramway, wooden 4406  
Softboard 4411  
Spools, turned wood 4421  
Stakes, wooden 4404  
Statuettes 4420  
Staves - finished or unfinished, wooden 4416  
Sticks - roughly trimmed, wooden 4404  
Tableware, wooden 4419  
Telegraphic poles, wooden 4403  
Tool handles, wooden 4417  
Tools - wooden tools without metal working parts 4417  
Toothpicks, wooden 4421  
Tramway sleepers 4406  
Trays - for domestic use, wooden 4419  
Trays - for office use, wooden 4421  
Tubs, wooden 4416  
Vats - including fermenting vats without mechanical or cooling equipment, wooden 4416  
Veneer sheets, wooden 4408  
Veneered particle board 4412  
Window frames, wooden 4418  
Wood - builders’ joinery and carpentry 4418  
Wood - cellular panels 4418  
Wood - continuously shaped - tongued, grooved and so on 4409  
Wood - densified 4413  
Wood - roughly squared 4403  
Wood - wool 4405  

Classifying fuel wood, wood chips, waste wood and wood charcoal

Fuel wood is classified under subheading code 4401 11. There’s no limit to the size that fuel wood can be, but it’s generally in the form of short pieces of logs, split logs or billets. Fuel wood may also be in the form of:

  • twigs
  • faggots
  • rough sticks
  • vine stems
  • tree stumps and roots

Logs used for pulping or for manufacturing matchsticks aren’t classified as fuel wood. This is because, unlike fuel logs, they’re carefully graded, they may be bark peeled and they’re generally not broken, split, curved, knotty or forked. These logs are classified under heading code 4403.

Wood in chips or particles is classified under subheading codes 4401 21 and 4401 22. However, the following types of wood aren’t classified under these subheading codes:

  • chipwood that’s used for plaiting or making sieves, chip-boxes, pill-boxes and so on - this is classified under heading code 4404
  • wood shavings that are used in vinegar manufacturing or for clarifying liquids - these are also classified under heading code 4404
  • wood wool and wood flour - these are classified under heading code 4405

Wood waste and scrap wood are classified under subheading code 4401 31. They consist of wood that’s not usable as timber and include:

  • saw mill or planing mill rejects
  • manufacturing waste
  • broken planks
  • old crates
  • bark and shavings
  • waste and scrap joinery and carpentry
  • spent dyewood and tanning wood bark

Waste and scrap wood are used in particular in paper manufacturing, particle board and fibreboard manufacturing as well as for fuel. All waste and scrap wood that’s intended for use as fuel (regardless of whether it’s been formed into common fuel types like logs, briquettes or pellets) is always classified as waste wood under subheading 4401 31 and never as fuel wood.

Pulpwood in rounds or quarter split isn’t classed as waste or scrap wood. Instead it’s classified under heading code 4403.

Wood charcoal, which is obtained through carbonising wood out of contact with the air, is classified under heading code 4402. This heading code also includes charcoal obtained through carbonising coconut shells, other shells and nuts. Charcoal may be in the form of:

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

Charcoal that’s agglomerated with tar is also classified under heading code 4402.

Classifying rough wood and roughly squared wood

Rough wood is timber in its natural, felled state, usually with the branches chopped off. It may be stripped of its outer and inner bark and have any rough protrusions removed to make transport easier and also to prevent decay. Rough wood is classified under heading code 4403 and may include:

  • fence posts - in primary form only
  • timber for sawing
  • telephone, telegraph and similar poles
  • unpointed and unsplit piles
  • pickets, stakes, poles and props
  • round pit-props
  • logs for pulping, which may or may not be quarter split
  • round logs for manufacturing veneer sheets and so on
  • logs for manufacturing matchsticks, woodware and so on
  • tree stumps and roots of special woods and certain growths, such as those used for making veneers or smoking pipes

Roughly trimmed wood which is used for making walking-sticks, umbrellas, tool handles and similar products isn’t classified under heading code 4403. Instead it’s classified under heading code 4404.

Rough wood treated with paint, stains, creosote or other preservatives is classified under subheading code 4403 10. Wood may be injected or impregnated to preserve it, to make it more durable, to make it fire resistant and to protect it from shrinking. The process may involve the wood being soaked in open vats of hot liquid for a long period and then left in the liquid until it cools. Alternatively the wood can be treated in an autoclave, in a vacuum or under pressure. Treatment products include creosote, dinitrophenols and dinitrocresols.

Poles made of coniferous wood are often treated in this way and, to be classified under subheading code 4403 11, they must be at least 6 metres long but no longer than 18 metres. Their circumference at the butt end must be at least 45 centimetres but mustn’t be greater than 90 centimetres.

Roughly squared wood is a tree trunk (or a section of a tree trunk) that has had its round surfaces reduced to flat surfaces by an axe, adze or by coarse sawing to form wood that has a roughly rectangular, including square, cross-section. Roughly squared wood is classified under heading code 4403.

Heading code 4403 also includes:

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

However, wood cut into the form of railway or tramway sleepers (cross-ties), isn’t classified under heading code 4403. Instead it’s classified under heading code 4406. Wood cut into the form of planks, beams and so on isn’t classified under heading code 4403 either. Instead it’s classified under heading codes 4407 and 4418.

Classifying lightly worked wood, wood wool and wood flour

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

  • hoopwood lengths are split rods of willow, hazel, birch, and so on, which may have the bark still on or may be roughly shaved - hoopwood is used for manufacturing items like barrel hoops and hurdles and it’s usually bundled or coiled
  • split poles are stems or branches of trees that are split along their length - they’re usually used as supports in horticulture and agriculture, for fencing, or in some cases for ceiling or roofing laths
  • pointed piles, pickets and stakes are round or split poles that are pointed at the ends and may or may not be peeled or impregnated with preservative - they’re not sawn lengthwise - this category includes fence posts
  • wooden sticks are of a length and thickness that are clearly suitable for manufacturing products like walking sticks, whips, golf-club shafts, handles for tools, umbrellas, besoms and so on
  • chipwood is normally produced from one of the common softer woods and is used to manufacture sheets and boards
  • wood shavings are usually beech or hazel and look like coiled chipwood - they’re mainly used in vinegar manufacturing or for clarifying liquids - the difference between wood shavings classified under heading code 4404 and waste shavings that are classified under heading code 4401 is that wood shavings have a uniform thickness, width and length and are evenly coiled

Blanks for brush bodies and for boot or shoe lasts aren’t classified under heading code 4404. Instead they’re classified under heading code 4417.

Wood wool is made from fine slivers of wood that are curled or twisted to form a tangled mass. The slivers are a regular size and thickness and are of considerable length. Wood wool is made from coniferous wood and is presented in pressed bales. It’s classified under heading code 4405.

Wood flour is a powder that’s 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 that has a mesh size of 0.63 millimetres. Wood flour is classified under heading code 4405 and is mainly used in particle board and linoleum manufacturing.

Classifying sleepers and sawn or chipped wood

Railway and tramway sleepers (cross-ties) are lengths of unplaned wood commonly used to support railway and tramway tracks. They’re classified under heading code 4406. This heading code also includes switch ties, which are longer, wider and thicker than sleepers.

The edges of sleepers and switch ties may be roughly chamfered and may have holes or seatings for fixing the rails or chairs. Sleepers and switch ties may also be strengthened at the ends by staples, nails, bolts or steel strips to prevent them from splitting.

Sleepers and switch ties that have been impregnated with creosote or other preservatives are classified under subheading code 4406 91. For classification purposes, ‘impregnated’ means only that they have been treated with creosote or other preservatives for their long-term preservation. It doesn’t include sleepers and switch ties that have been treated with fungicide or insecticide to protect them from fungi or parasites during shipment or storage. These are considered to be ‘not impregnated’ and are classified under subheading code 4406 11.

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 or may not be planed, sanded or finger-jointed. Sawn or chipped wood is classified under heading code 4407. Some examples of this type of timber are:

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

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

Note that for classification purposes the term ‘planed’ doesn’t cover dressed timber that has been planed to remove bumps and some of the rough saw marks - sometimes referred to as having been ‘hit or missed’. Timber that’s dressed in this way should be classified within the correct subheading code beyond ‘Planed’ as ‘Other’.

Complete sets of boards that are intended for making packing cases or crates - with or without accessories such as corner or foot reinforcements - aren’t classified under subheading code 4407 11. Instead, they’re classified under heading code 4415.

Classifying wood sheets for veneering and plywood, boards and planks

Wood sheets that are used for veneering and for making plywood or similar laminated wood are classified under heading code 4408. To be classified under this heading code, these sheets mustn’t be thicker than six millimetres. But they can be spliced, taped, stitched or glued together edge to edge to make larger sheets for use in plywood and similar laminated wood. Sheets may also be:

  • planed
  • sanded
  • end-jointed
  • finger-jointed, possibly in a zig-zag pattern

Sheets for veneering may also be produced by slicing blocks of laminated wood - as a substitute for veneer sheets made by the traditional method.

The classification of sheets for plywood isn’t affected if a defect has been patched with paper, plastic or wood.

Boards and planks and other wood that’s continuously shaped along any of its edges or faces (either to make assembly easier or to create contours) is classified under heading code 4409. ‘Continuously shaped’ timber may be tongued and grooved, rebated, chamfered, v-jointed, beaded, moulded, rounded and similarly shaped. It may also be planed, sanded or finger-jointed and includes:

  • wood and rounded wood for pegs
  • beadings and mouldings, including moulded skirting and other moulded boards
  • strips and friezes for parquet flooring that are continuously shaped

Moulded wood built up by superimposing a mould onto another piece of moulded or unmoulded wood isn’t classified under heading code 4409. Instead, it’s classified under heading codes 4418 or 4421.

Strips and friezes that haven’t been worked beyond planing, sanding or end-jointing aren’t classified under heading code 4409 either. Instead, they’re classified under heading codes 4407 and 4408.

The following are also not classified under heading code 4409:

  • plywood or veneered strips and friezes - these are classified under heading code 4412
  • strips of plywood or veneered wood for parquet flooring - these are classified under heading code 4412
  • planed or other worked boards presented in sets as box boards - these are classified under heading code 4415
  • wood that has been mortised, tenoned, dovetailed or similarly worked at the ends - also wood assembled into panels, such as carpentry, joinery and parquet flooring panels - these are all classified under heading code 4418
  • panels that are made up of laths of roughly sawn wood, assembled with glue for transportation or for working on later - these are classified under heading code 4421
  • wood that has been bronzed or had metal leaf added - this is generally classified under heading code 4421

Classifying particle board, oriented strand board and similar, fibreboard

Particle board, oriented strand board (OSB) and similar boards such as waferboard are classified under heading code 4410.

Particle board is commonly known as chipboard in the UK and is a flat product that’s manufactured in various sizes by pressing or extrusion. It’s classified under subheading code 4410 11 and is generally 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 organic binder to form the particle board.

Particle board is usually sanded and may be impregnated with one or more substances to provide waterproofing, resistance to rot, insect attack, fire or the spread of flame, chemicals and so on. Extruded particle board may have holes running internally from end to end.

Veneered particle board - with or without holes running internally from end to end - isn’t classified under heading code 4410. Instead it’s classified under heading code 4412.

OSB evolved from waferboard. OSB is different from waferboard in that the wood strands are oriented and not randomly placed. Both are engineered from strands, flakes or wafers sliced from small diameter, round wood logs and bonded with an exterior-type binder under heat and pressure. OSB is classified under subheading code 4410 12.

Waferboard is a structural panel board made from large, thin wafers of wood or other ligneous material. The wafers look like pieces of veneer and are coated with waterproof glue and bonded together under heat and pressure. Waferboard is classified under subheading code 4410 90.

Heading code 4410 also includes:

  • 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 consisting of several particle boards and several fibreboards assembled in any order

Cellular wood panels that have particle board on both faces aren’t classified under heading code 4410. Instead, they’re classified under heading code 4418.

Fibreboard is made from wood and other ligneous materials and may or may not be bonded with a resin or other organic substance. 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
  • coated or covered with textile, plastics, paint, paper or metal

For classification purposes, sanding is not considered to be a mechanical working.

Fibreboard is classified under heading code 4411 and may be high, medium or low density. In more detail:

  • high-density fibreboard has a density of 0.8 grams per cubic centimetre (g/cm³) and two hard surfaces, one of which is shiny and the other printed
  • MDF (medium-density fibreboard) has a density of between 0.5g/cm³ and 0.8g/cm³ - tt has two smooth surfaces and is made using a dry production process
  • low-density fibreboard has a density of between 0.35g/cm³ and 0.5g/cm³

MDF is classified under subheading code 4411 12. This subheading code also includes fibreboard called ‘hardboard’ that’s made using a wet production process. In its unworked state hardboard has one smooth and one rough surface. But it can have two smooth surfaces created by a special surface treatment.

Mediumboard - a wet processed fibreboard - is classified under subheading codes 4411 12, 4411 13 or 4411 14 depending on its density.

Softboard - also a wet processed fibreboard - is classified under subheading code 4411 92.

Heading code 4411 also includes door facings made of fibreboard with a density exceeding 0.8g/cm³ that are rimed and moulded to the shape and style of a traditional panel door.

Classifying plywood, veneered panels and densified wood

Plywood, veneered panels and similar wood products are classified under heading code 4412. These products may be worked to form shapes - 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 that’s made from coniferous species often has defects - or hollows - on the outer ply that have been repaired with wood inlays or plastic filler compounds during the manufacturing process. These materials aren’t considered to be additional substances and don’t affect the classification of plywood under heading code 4412.

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

The types of product that are classified under heading code 4412 include:

  • blockboard
  • laminboard
  • battenboard

They also include:

  • plywood or veneered panels, used as flooring panels and sometimes referred to 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, known as ‘door blanks’, that have a blockboard type core - the exposed edges of the core may be made up of pieces of wood known as ‘lippings’, and the edges may also be veneered - these panels may have been further worked, for example, by adding hinges or other door furniture

Densified wood is classified under heading code 4413. It may be in the form of blocks, plates, strips and profile shapes and is most commonly beech, hornbeam, robinia and poplar.

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, so that the wood is deeply impregnated and compressed as well as bonded.

Classifying frames, tools and kitchenware

Wooden frames for paintings, photographs, mirrors and similar objects are classified under heading code 4414. They may be any shape or size and either cut in one piece from a solid block of wood or built up from beadings or mouldings. Frames may also be made of inlaid wood or marquetry and be fitted with backs, supports and plain glass.

Wooden tools, tool bodies, tool handles, broom or brush bodies and handles, boot or shoe lasts and shoe trees are all classified under heading code 4417. This heading code also includes paint brush handles, shaving brush handles and so on.

The following wood items aren’t classified under heading code 4417:

  • wood that’s only roughly trimmed or rounded for making tool handles - these are classified under heading code 4404
  • wood that has only been sawn into blocks or other forms ready to be made into articles classified under heading code 4417, but not yet shaped to the stage of blanks - these are classified under heading code 4407
  • wooden handles for table knives, spoons and forks - these are classified under heading code 4421

Kitchenware and tableware made of wood is classified under heading code 4419 and includes only functional items, like:

  • spoons
  • forks
  • salad servers
  • platters, bowls and serving dishes
  • rolling pins
  • butter patters
  • pestles
  • trays
  • bread boards
  • plate racks

Ornamental items and furniture aren’t covered. Also, wooden parts of tableware and kitchenware that aren’t made solely from wood aren’t classified under heading code 4412. Instead, they’re classified under heading code 4421.

Classifying cases, casks, caskets and wooden ornaments

Wooden packing cases, boxes, crates, drums and similar containers are classified under heading code 4415. These items may be simply nailed together, dovetailed or jointed in some other way. They may be fitted with hinges, handles, fasteners, feet or corner pieces and lined with a material like metal or paper. Previously used containers that can be used again are classified under heading code 4415 too.

The following items are also classified under heading code 4415:

  • cable drums - these are large, empty drums used to hold and transport electric, telephone and similar cables - they often have a diameter that’s greater than 1 metre
  • load boards - these are portable platforms onto which a number of goods may be loaded - other examples of load boards are platforms, post platforms, collar-type box platforms, side-rail platforms and end-rail platforms
  • pallets - these are either load boards with 2 decks that are separated by bearers or with a single deck that’s designed to be handled by a fork-lift truck or pallet truck
  • box pallets - these have at least 3 vertical sides that are fixed, removable or collapsible - box pallets are designed to be stacked with a double decked pallet or another box pallet

Complete sets of wooden boards that are unassembled and are intended to be made into packing cases, crates and other containers are classified under subheading code 4415 10. These boards may be sawn, sliced or peeled and may be presented in a single consignment. The bottoms, sides, lids and fastenings may or may not be arranged in a series.

Incomplete sets of wooden boards that are intended to be made into packing cases, crates and other containers aren’t classified under heading code 4415. Instead they’re classified under heading code 4421.

Wooden casks, barrels, vats, tubs and other coopers’ products and parts - including staves - are classified under heading code 4416. This includes casks and barrels that have a body that bulges in the middle and two closed ends. Vats and tubs usually have one closed end and may have a removable lid.

Staves are planed, bent planks that are pared or chamfered at one or both ends. They have a groove that’s called a ‘croze’ designed to help with assembly. Staves may be:

  • sawn on only one of its main surfaces and not prepared any further
  • cylindrically sawn on at least one of its main surfaces and not prepared any further

New casks or barrels that are imported for use in the whisky trade are sometimes prepared for use by adding a few gallons of sweet sherry mixture to each cask. The casks are then left for several months and rolled over periodically. The residue of sherry mixture is removed before shipment.

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

  • wood marquetry and inlaid wood
  • caskets and cases for jewellery, cutlery and similar items
  • snuff boxes, small boxes that can be carried in a pocket, handbag or on the person, stationery cases, needlework boxes, tobacco jars and sweetmeat boxes
  • statuettes and other ornaments
  • wooden furniture that isn’t covered in chapter 94, such as coat or hat racks, clothes brush hangers, ashtrays, letter trays for office use, pen-trays and ink stands

Panels of wood marquetry and inlaid wood are classified under subheading code 4420 90. Marquetry generally consists of thin pieces of wood - and possibly other materials, such as base metal, shell and ivory - that are glued to a wooden backboard as decoration.

Classifying builders’ joinery and carpentry and miscellaneous wood items

Builders’ joinery and carpentry articles are classified under heading code 4418. They include cellular wood panels, assembled flooring panels, shingles and shakes.

Joinery means builders’ fittings like doors, windows, stairs and door and window frames. Carpentry means woodwork such as beams, rafters and roof struts that are used for structural purposes or for scaffolding, arch supports and so on. It also includes assembled shuttering for concrete building work and glue laminated timber - or ‘glulam’.

A shingle is wood sawn lengthwise that’s thicker at one end - the butt - and thinner at the other end - the tip. A shake is wood that’s split to reveal the natural texture of the wood.

Solid laminated wood panels with thick cores are classified under subheading code 4418 20, provided that they’ve been further worked so they’re clearly only for use as doors. For example, they could have recesses for handles, locks and hinges cut into them. Unworked panels - sometimes known as solid core door blanks - aren’t classified under this subheading code, even if their edges are veneered. Instead they’re classified under heading code 4412.

Parquet flooring panels are classified under subheading code 4418 79. These panels consist of a ‘wear layer’, made of blocks, strips, friezes and so on, that’s assembled on a backing of an appropriate material, like wood, particle board, paper, plastic and cork. Panels for mosaic floors are prefabricated panels made up of a number of separate square or rectangular elements. They may include cabochons, which are unfaceted, highly polished gemstones. The strips are laid out according to a certain pattern, such as chequered, basket-weave and herringbone.

Plywood or veneered panels that are meant to be used as flooring panels - and that have a thin veneer of wood fixed to the surface to look like a flooring panel made up of parquet strips - aren’t classified under subheading code 4418 40. Instead they’re classified under heading code 4412.

Shuttering is classified under subheading code 4418 40. It’s used for all types of concrete construction work, for example for foundations, walls, floors, columns, pillars, props and tunnel sections. Generally, shuttering is made from resinous planks and beams. Plywood panels that are used for shuttering aren’t classified under this subheading code even if they’re coated on one or both sides and are clearly meant to be used as concrete shuttering. Instead they’re classified under heading code 4412.

Cellular wood panels are classified under subheading code 4418 91.

Miscellaneous wood items are classified under heading code 4421 and include:

  • wooden articles made by turning or by any other method
  • animal housing, like rabbit-hutches, hen-coops, bee-hives and kennels
  • troughs, theatrical scenery, joiners’ benches, ladders, steps, trestles, labels for horticulture, toothpicks, fencing panels, roller blinds, coat hangers, oars, coffins and so on
  • incomplete sets of planks that are just parts of wooden packing cases, for example lids
  • wooden racks and shelves which may or may not be assembled, provided that they can’t be identified as furniture
  • garden fencing made of trellis work nailed cross-wise and then stretched out - known as ‘accordion system’ fencing
  • skewers and pointed sticks used for presenting certain foods
  • wooden handles for table knives, spoons and forks
  • strips of wood that are toothed or slotted on one edge to make book matches
  • roller blinds imported in sets, usually consisting of a wooden roller fitted at one end with a metal cap and spring, a metal cap for the other end, two brackets, a wooden lath and a rail and track
  • fibreboard toilet seats, which don’t have a visible grain and which are commonly coated with an acrylic paint

Classifying wood flooring

There is no single commodity code that covers all types of wood flooring. Instead, classification depends on what it’s made of, in some cases how it’s made and the type of wood used - solid wood, wood fibre woods, tropical, plastic or wood laminate and so on.

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

Wood that’s continuously shaped - for example tongued or grooved - along any of its edges or faces is classified under heading code 4409.

Flooring with an MDF core which is tongued and grooved (lock system) and a surface of a photographic wood image on paper simulating a parquet panel which has an overlay of melamine resin (varnish) for protection and has a base made of impregnated paper is classified under 4411.

Strips of plywood or veneered wood for parquet flooring - which may or may not be continuously shaped along any of their edges or faces - are classified under heading code 4412. This heading code also includes plywood panels or veneered panels that are used as flooring panels and that have a thin veneer of wood fixed to the surface to make them look like flooring panels made up of parquet strips. These may or may not be continuously shaped along any of their edges or faces.

Parquet strips that are assembled into panels or tiles are classified under heading code 4418.

Non-assembled strips and friezes for parquet flooring - consisting of narrow pieces of board which have been continuously shaped along any of their edges or faces - are classified under heading code 4409.

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 code 4418.

Characteristics of wood flooring

Solid and veneered wood can be sanded and matures with age. The grade is determined by the number of visible knots, colour variations and other markings that are found in the wood. ‘Prime’ grades that have few or minor knots and variations are more expensive and less rustic looking than those without a uniform appearance.

Many solid wood floors are supplied factory finished, meaning they’ve been sanded and sealed before delivery.

Veneered floors are all factory finished and - as they’re a combination of hardwood and softwood layers - they’re generally more stable than solid wood and less likely to develop gaps between the boards.

Panels and strips of wood flooring are given a tongue and groove construction to eliminate draughts. This makes them stronger and easier to fit, unlike the older style, square-edged planks or blocks.

Original hardwoods such as oak and elm are giving way to cheaper softwood alternatives like pine.

Glossary of wood flooring terms

Some of the wood flooring terms used in this guide - and in the Tariff - are listed and explained below:

  • basket pattern - assembly of fingers, blocks or strips placed edge to edge, to make up a square, the side of which is the same length as the finger, block or strip
  • brick pattern - parquet made up of pieces of equal length and width, where the end joint is at the centre of the juxtaposed element
  • engineered wood - layers of hardwood compressed together, like solid wood - it can be sanded and renovated after laying
  • French flooring - flooring made up of pieces that have a random length and a series of widths, arranged in a parallel direction
  • herringbone - parquet made up of pieces of the same size, with the ends cut at a right angle, laid perpendicular to one another, at an angle of 45 degrees in relation to the direction of the walls or battens
  • Hungarian pattern - parquet made up of pieces of the same size, with the ends cut at an angle of 45 and 60 degrees, that are laid end to end at a right angle or at an angle of 120 degrees, forming parallel patterns
  • laminated - laminated wood shouldn’t be confused with laminated plastic or paper - some modern laminated flooring uses a photographic representation of wood on plastic or paper that’s applied to high density fibreboard or a similar product - this type of laminate doesn’t age and usually can’t be sanded and renovated like solid wood
  • multi-layer flooring - wood flooring with a top layer thickness of at least 2.5 millimetres before installation
  • parquet - wood flooring with a top layer thickness of at least 2.5 millimetres before installation
  • parquet panel - pre-assembled laying unit made up from parquet pieces
  • planking - this is available in various widths, either with tongue and groove in lengths or as plain square-edged planks that simply butt up against one another
  • solid wood block parquet - uniform brick-like blocks - usually oak - laid in a herringbone, brick, ladder or basket formation
  • solid wood parquet - made up of different coloured hardwood sections to create decorative patterning - this type of floor is usually allowed to acclimatise to the building where it’s to be laid as the timber’s moisture content can vary, this causes expansion and contraction so the wood needs time to stabilise
  • strip pattern - parquet made up of an assembly of equal width but random length strips
  • veneer - a single thin or fine layer of wood that has been glued to a manufactured base - veneer floors are generally fitted ‘floating’, which means they’re not fixed to a sub-floor, they lie on a foam or cork underlay and must have a flat, even surface beneath them
  • wood block - floors made up from small strips or blocks of wood, around three inches wide and nine inches long, arranged in herringbone, basket-weave and other geometric patterns
  • wood laminate - has thin layers of wood that are glued to a manufactured base
  • wood planks - come in long lengths with widths of 4 inches (or 10 centimetres) or more
  • wood strip - boards are narrower and shorter than planks and have up to 3 strips of wood per board

What’s not covered in chapter 44

The following items are not covered in chapter 44:

  • wood in chips and similar forms, used mainly in perfumes and pharmaceutical products or in insecticides and fungicides - this is classified under heading code 1211
  • bamboo and other woody materials used mainly for plaiting - these are classified under heading code 1401
  • wood in chips and similar forms used mainly in dyeing or tanning - this is classified under heading code 1404
  • wood and wood waste that’s coated with resin or made up as firelighters in some other way - this is classified under heading code 3606
  • wood charcoal put up in the form of a medicament - this is covered in chapter 30
  • wood charcoal mixed with incense and put up in tablets or other forms - this is classified under heading code 3307
  • activated charcoal - this is classified under heading code 3802
  • drawing charcoals, or charcoal pencils - these are classified under heading code 9609
  • flour made from the shells of coconuts or similar - this is classified under heading code 1404
  • plates or strips of plastic containing wood flour as a filler - these are covered in chapter 39
  • boards of ligneous materials that are agglomerated with cement, plaster or mineral binding substances - these are classified under heading code 6808
  • multiplex paperboard - this is covered in chapter 48
  • panels that are identifiable as parts of furniture - these are generally covered in chapter 94
  • picture frames that include printed pictures or photographs - these are classified under heading code 4911
  • framed glass mirrors - these are classified under heading code 7009
  • tools with a blade, working edge, working surface or other working part formed by base metal or other material, specified in note 1 for chapter 82
  • hat-making blocks - these are classified under heading code 8449
  • wooden casting moulds - these are classified under heading code 8480
  • machinery and parts of machinery - these are covered in chapter 84
  • brushes and brooms - these are classified under heading code 9603
  • hand sieves - these are classified under heading code 9604
  • articles like wooden trunks and boxes that are classified under heading code 4202
  • goods like basketware covered in chapter 46
  • containers specially designed to be transported - these are classified under heading code 8609
  • casks and similar products cut to shape for use as furniture - these are covered in chapter 94
  • imitation jewellery - this is classified under heading code 7117
  • clock cases and parts - these are covered in chapter 91
  • musical instruments and parts - these are covered in chapter 92
  • scabbards and sheaths for side-arms - these are classified under heading code 9307
  • furniture, lamps and light fittings - these are covered in chapter 94
  • smoking pipes and parts, buttons and pencils - these are covered in chapter 96
  • works of art and antiques - these are covered in chapter 97
  • cupboards, with or without backs - these are classified under heading code 9403
  • prefabricated buildings - these are classified under heading code 9406
  • footwear and parts of footwear - these are covered in chapter 64
  • walking sticks and parts, umbrellas and riding crops - these are covered in chapter 66
  • wheelbarrows, carts and other wheeled vehicles, boats - these are covered in chapter 87
  • mathematical, drawing and measuring instruments - these are covered in chapter 90
  • gun stocks and other parts of firearms - these are classified under heading code 9305
  • toys, games and sports equipment - these are covered in chapter 95
  • decking board made of wood composite, waste wood fibres 60%, recycled plastic 30%, the plastic giving the appearance of the board, and the wood fibres being just the filling - these are covered in chapter 3918

Hints and tips

When you’re classifying wood and wood products, there are some specific things to take into account.

Tolerances

Wood can expand and contract, often as a result of the weather. For wood with a thickness of six millimetres or more that’s sawn or chipped lengthwise - classified under heading code 4407 - the suggested tolerance is 19.05 millimetres or 0.75 inches.

For wood sheets no thicker than 6mm that are used for veneering, plywood and similar laminated wood (classified under heading code 4408) no tolerances are allowed. Goods can only be classified under this heading if they meet the exact measurement requirements.

Unassembled and disassembled articles

Articles of wood that are unassembled or disassembled are classified under the same heading codes as corresponding complete articles, as long as all of the parts are present.

Tropical wood

For the purposes of classifying goods covered in chapter 44, the term ‘tropical wood’ covers the following:

  • abura, acajou d’afrique, alan, azob
  • balsa
  • dark red meranti, dibétou
  • ilomba, imbuia, iroko
  • jelutong, jongkong
  • kapur, kempas, keruing
  • light red meranti, limba
  • mahogany, makoré, mansonia, meranti bakau, merbau
  • okoumé
  • palissandre de para, palissandre de rio, palissandre de rose
  • ramin
  • sapelli, sipo
  • teak, tiama
  • virola
  • white lauan, white meranti and white seraya
  • yellow meranti

Tropical woods are named according to the popular name that’s used in their main country of production. A list of these woods - and alternative names for them - can be found in the annex to chapter 44 of the Harmonised System Explanatory Notes.

Further information

The free on-line UK Trade Tariff is available for your use to look up classification codes. This offers easy access to tariff information by providing commodity code and duty rate listings together with a search engine to facilitate enquiries and allow self-service to commodity code information.

If after visiting this site you are unable to self-assess your products, you can request additional support by sending a request by email to classification.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

Please ensure that one item only is detailed per email and that the request includes the following type of information, so that we can deal with your enquiry efficiently:

  • what the product is
  • what it is made of, if made or more than one material please explain the breakdown of the materials
  • what it is used for
  • how the product works/functions
  • how it is presented/packaged

Additionally detailed below is some additional information that is required on certain products:

  • for footwear – please include the type (for example shoe, boot, slipper), upper material details, outer sole material details, the heel height and the purpose for men or woman
  • for food – please include precise composition details by percentage weight of all the ingredients to 100% and the method of manufacture or process undergone, for example fresh, frozen, dried, further prepared/preserved
  • for chemicals – please include the Chemical Abstracts Service Number, whether the product is a liquid/powder/solid and include the % ingredients
  • for textiles – please include the material composition, how it is constructed (knitted/woven) and the name of fabric
  • for vehicles – please include the age, the engine type (petrol or diesel), the engine size, whether the vehicle is new or used, whether the vehicle is over 30 years old and whether it is in its original condition. Is the vehicle going to be for everyday use?

A classification officer will then email a response back to you providing you with non-legally binding classification advice based on the information you have supplied.

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.