Wood

A hard substance which forms the branches and trunks of trees and which can be used as a building material, for making things, or as a fuel. Wood properties depend on moisture content. Wood is a composite fibrous material (cellulose and lignin fibres) that starts to decompose at 550 K.

Strong in both compression and tension.

Acacia

A durable wood used for palings and posts. A lot of the gums in common use are obtained from varieties of the Acacia.

Alder

This wood is very durable in water and not so durable in dry conditions. Historically it was used a lot in pumps, piles and sluices.

Balsa Wood

The wood from Ochroma Lagopus.

Beech

A very hard wood almost unaffected when exposed to water. Therefore, it is used for keels of ships and flood gates. On account of its hardness it was used for wheels and railway sleepers.

Birch

Strong flexible wood that has many uses. Amongst the uses are furniture making, building as well as being used for agricultural implements in the past.

Box-Wood

Very compact hard wood suitable for machining small parts from.

Cedar

A durable wood used in ancient buildings. Easy to work and strongly scented.

Ebony

A very dark, hard and smooth wood used for ornamental work.

Elm

A hard, durable and coarse grained wood. Used for ship building.

Fir

A light coloured and soft wood. Needs to be dried very well before use.

Heartwood

The fully developed wood which surrounds the pith.

Lance-Wood

An elastic wood suitable where some degree of bending is required.

Larch

An extremely durable wood used for rough work. It warps a lot when dried, but can be polished to a fine finish when dry.

Lignum Vitae

A very hard wood.

Mahogany

A very hard wood that is very durable and can be polished to a fine finish with a rich colour.

Oak

The strongest and most durable wood that lasts for long periods in either wet or dry conditions.

Plane

A North American wood that resembles beech, durable in water but not in air.

Plywood

Thin sheets of wood glued together with the grains running in different directions to improve the strength of the resultant board.

Poplar

A light wood, but not very strong and or very good wear resistance.

Sapwood

Lighter coloured wood on the outside of a log, this wood is more susceptable to rot than heartwood.

Teak

A strong and durable wood that doesn't shrink much and is comparatively easy to work.

Walnut

Cross grained wood used for ornamental work.

See also: Flitch, Heartwood, Sapwood, Wood Screws.

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Subjects: Chemistry Civil Engineering Materials Mechanical Engineering


Weblinks:
Timber Engineering A web portal/directory with lots of links to websites about engineering in wood.
Friends of Earth Good Wood Guide Use this page to help you determine to the best alternative if you can't repair or adapt an existing item, use reclaimed timber of buy locally-grown wood.