The crisis in the supply of naval ship timber in 1803–04 was the result of two related pressures. The first was the expansion of British naval commitments after war with France was renewed in May 1803. The standard unit of measurement for ship timber was the load, of between 40 and 50 cubic feet. The average oak of ship timber size contained approximately one such load and provided, approximately, a ton of shipping. The bulk of naval timber was supplied by private contractors and if the Navy Board had always been willing to pay the contractors’ prices there would probably have been sufficient native oak to supply the royal dockyards. The second pressure therefore was that of price. The rise in the price of native oak timber after 1803 reflected a temporary scarcity, particularly of seasoned timber, but was part of an upward trend throughout the eighteenth century.