Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Mysterious Wonders of Wood

Beginning with the basics, well we all know wood comes from trees, but there are a few other basic facts. Firstly you may know of two distinct groups referred to as hardwoods and softwoods. The strange thing is that all hardwoods are not necessarily hard, and to add to the confusion not all softwoods are soft, in fact some hardwoods are softer than some softwoods!

Let's take the popular wood used to construct model boats and airplanes, remember what it was called, yes, Balsa wood, one of the softest and lightest timbers available. Balsa is a hardwood. The Yew tree produces an incredibly tough wood, in fact yew is probably as hard as one of the hardest hardwoods, but actually Yew is a softwood. You are probably wondering how or where did these terms confusing terms originate? Well usually hardwoods come from broad-leafed trees and softwoods are associated with fir trees.

Popular hardwoods used in DIY and construction projects include mahogany, birch, ash, oak, and teak. Oak is synonymous with furniture manufacturing and is a popular choice material amongst professional carpenters & joiners for floors, doors and timber frame construction. Oak is incredibly tough wood and for that reason would not popular choice for novice DIY enthusiasts. Ash on the other hand is hard, strong and elastic, which is why it is extensively used for handles, sports equipment. Ash veneers (thin sheets of wood bonded together for strength) are widely used in the manufacture of office furniture. Birch veneers would be popular in the manufacture of residential furniture, musical instruments. Teak is hard and durable and closely associated with furniture, doors and window frames. As our knowledge and awareness of the importance of sustaining our natural resources, iroko being a more sustainable resource has largely replaced teak. Mahogany the quintessential timber choice with its red brown hues used so extensively in period furniture including dining suites, cabinets and ....

Of the soft woods, pine because of its durable nature, fast growing and relatively inexpensive is without doubt ubiquitous in use. It is commonly used and closely associated with diverse product categories including furniture, window frames, panelling, flooring etc. Spruce is to be found in garden furniture, decking, and musical instruments. Larch because of its hardwearing and water resistant qualities is another popular softwood choice used in the making of fence posts, boat building, and structural cladding.

Finally remember wood is available in a range of sizes and formats (boards, planks, sheets etc) to suit particular applications. So understanding the qualities of the various woods available will hopefully assist you through the woods and trees to making the right choice.

Autor: Owen Chubb Owen Chubb
Level: Platinum
Author is owner/manager of established and award winning garden design and landscaping company based in Dublin, Ireland. The company offers residential & commercial clients a ... ...

The author is principal of OWEN CHUBB GARDEN LANDSCAPES LIMITED, an established and award winning garden landscaping company based in Dublin, Ireland. The company offers clients a complete landscaping service including Garden Design, Construction & Planting

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Added: March 22, 2009