The Characteristics of Wood

The Characteristics of Wood

Without doubt wood is one of the most beautiful raw materials that we use in the construction industry today.

I start this blog with a fact, “wood is a natural product and each piece of timber is truly unique”. The impact of this short statement is very wide ranging and has many implications. In this blog I aim to highlight the unique factors of wood as a construction material but how we need to appreciate wood and its characteristics for what they are and how that differs from virtually all other products.

Timber Colours

In our day to day lives we are used to being able to choose and match colours almost without limits, paint as an example may be mixed to match almost any sample we care to choose, creating the same identical colour time after time. With Timber however, colour will vary depending upon the conditions in which the tree grew and what the tree draw up from the ground during the time it grew, Oak may be a honey colour or a quite dark brown with colour variation through the wood.

Colour will also vary depending upon what has happened to the wood after it has been cut and how it has been aged. Factors such as the timbers exposure to climatic conditions will grey and blacken the wood. Timber dried in a Kiln will however, stay general lighter in colour during the drying process and be more stable sooner and thus ready to use more quickly than timber left to dry naturally.

Natural Characteristics of Timber

Whilst growing the tree is host to many living organisms which may leave their traces on or in the timber which you purchase such as pinholes which are common and not detrimental the structural properties of the wood and doesn’t mean that infestation is present within the timber.

Another common feature in wood is tension and movement during drying. On a day to day basis cutting we see wood which bows as tension is released when cut, a source of huge frustration when customers need straight lengths of timber. Wood may also bow and twist as it dries unevenly.

Talking of drying, almost all Oak will split and crack to varying degrees, as it dries. If Oak is purchased freshly sawn then it will split and crack after purchase and the degree to which it will split and crack will be an unknown. If the timber is purchased seasoned then it will have splits and cracks in but will split and crack to a much lesser amount post purchase than freshly sawn Oak.

At Hillbarn Sawmills we do endeavour to meet our customers expectations but trading as we do in the sale of a beautiful natural product we like our customers must appreciate the ‘characteristics and features’ of wood for what they are.

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