Wood and timber: Types and Basic Characteristics

Wood and timber are the main elements in woodworking. In this article, we’ll know different types, characteristics of wood and timber. This guide will help you in better woodworking.

Growth and structure of timber: The tree is born from the fruit’s seed within a few days after sowing in soft wet soil. In the first stage, two shoots emerge from the tree’s seed, one of which has a root that goes under the ground, by which the tree collects sap from the soil. The other part rises in the form of leaves, and it collects light and air from the sun. If these two elements can be appropriately collected, they gradually grow and turn into a tree. A tree usually consists of three parts such as roots, stems, and leaves.

1. Roots: This part is under the ground. It helps the plant to collect water and fertilizer from the soil. The trees grow rapidly and spread their roots to keep the tree firmly attached to the soil to not to fall by storms. The roots collect nutrients from the soil through the cambium flowing under the bark and reach the leaves. The tree grows very fast through this process and turns from tree to wood.

2. Trunk: The part of the tree from the ground to the branch is called the trunk. Trees need fertilizer, nutrients, and water from the soil. If the trees can collect them properly, it grows quickly, and the trunk size increases. More wood is available from larger trees that have long and big size stems. As a result, the price of the tree is also higher.

3. Leaf: The branches of the tree – with the green leaves prepare the food with the help of light and wind. The tree survives and increases two layers every year to become thicker and taller with this food. The leaves are the lifeblood of the tree. As the tree grows day by day, twigs and leaves are born. A leaf feeds the plant for a certain period and then turns red and falls to the ground. New leaves are born, and the tree continues to grow through the new leaves.

Wood and Timber

Growth ring of wood

Classification of timber

Trees from which wood is produced are called commercial timber. All these trees are divided into two parts.

  1. Endogenous trees
  2. Exogenous trees

1. Endogenous tree: The endogenous trees such as palm, betel nut, bamboo, coconut, etc., do not grow towards the circumference but grow inside the pith side by side. Among them, palm and bamboo are bought and sold commercially. Other trees are used for fuel and household purposes.

2. Exogenous tree: The exogenous trees such as Mango, Blackberry, Teak, Mahogany, Lebbeck, Arjun, etc., grow on the outside and become thick and lax. The stems of all these trees are bought and sold as commercial timber. They are used a lot for building houses, building boats, and making furniture. The wood of these trees is also used in electric poles and railway slippers. Tree stalks are bought and sold as fuelwood. Roots and leaves are also used as fuel. Trees are again divided into two classes based on the characteristics of the wood. E.g.

  1. Conifer trees (Softwood trees)
  2. Broadleaf trees (Hardwood trees)

1. Conifer trees (Softwood trees):

The leaves of the conifer tree are evergreen. Softwood is produced from this class of trees. Trees like Cedar, Fir, Hemlock, Pine, Redwood, Spruce, Cypress, etc., belong to this class.

2. Broadleaf trees (Hardwood trees):

Hardwoods are produced from broadleaf trees. Such as- Oak, Maple, Cherry, Ash, Beech, Birch, Black Cherry, Black Walnut/Butternut, Cottonwood, Elm, Hickory, Holly, Magnolia, Maple, Oak, Poplar, Red Alder, Sassafras, Sweetgum, Sycamore, Tupelo, Willow, Yellow Poplar, etc.

The demand for broadleaf trees is high. The sawmills buy these trees in the round form and sell them to the public. The leaves of all these trees fall once a year and keep the tree alive by growing new leaves before growing. Trees grow quickly if nutrients are present in the soil and turn into the wood within a few years. All these trees are cultivated in the forest areas of a country. At present, the tree is being cultivated by social maintenance. As a result, the economic condition of the people is improving.

Life of trees: Tress has life like a human. The tree collects nutrients from the soil. The tree absorbs carbon dioxide and sunlight through the leaves. These elements are essential to sustain the life of the tree. The process by which the tree prepares the food is called photosynthesis. The tree leaves oxygen, and the people take it. The tree cannot move like a human, but it gives all possible services for the lives of the people. The tree gives wood to the people and gives medicine, which is the source of saving human life.

Characteristics of wood:

The properties of wood are determined by verifying the standard and quality of the wood. E.g.

  • The age of the tree 
  • Colour of the wood 
  • Fibre of the wood 
  • Density of the wood 
  • Wood chips and knots 
  • Seasoning of wood
  • Rows and non-rows wood
  • Wood finishing
  • Suitability for woodworking
  • 1Durability of the wood 

Types of wood

Wood is obtained naturally from trees. Commercial wood is called timber. Whenever a tree is marketed as timber, the timber’s quality is determined by examining its quality. Timber has been divided into two categories by checking the quality. E.g. –

  1. Softwood 
  2. Hardwood 

1. Softwood 

Softwood is obtained from trees whose leaves are thin and green and do not fall off a year. Softwood is usually light white and brown. This type of wood is used for sporting equipment, drawing boards, packing boxes, stuttering, and construction work.

A preservative solution is introduced To prolong the softwood’s durability so that the wood does not retain its original color. The quality of wood remains intact. Treated wood can be used for any purpose by seasoning or dried in the sun. Softwood can be used for painting furniture, chicken cabinets, and other purposes. It costs less.

2. Hardwood 

Hardwoods are obtained from trees whose leaves grow large and fall off once a year. The example of hardwood trees are- Oak, Maple, Cherry, Ash, Beech, Birch, Black Cherry, Black Walnut/Butternut, Cottonwood, Elm, Hickory, Holly, Magnolia, Maple, Oak, Poplar, Red Alder, Sassafras, Sweetgum, Sycamore, Tupelo, Willow, Yellow Poplar, etc. All high-quality work is done with this wood. It is durable and extreme.

Hardwood is used on railway slippers, bridges, and electric poles after treatment. Hardwood is used to make agricultural implements, vehicle bodies, and boats. In terms of commercial demand, hardwood is more in demand than softwood. Hardwood is used more in making furniture. Hardwood is more abundant in the forest areas of Bangladesh.

The difference between hardwood and softwood
Hardwood Softwood
This wood is good for building poles, bridges, vehicle wheels, and houses.Suitable for light use. Such as- sports equipment, door handles, etc. It is low in weight and durable.
Difference between hardwood and softwood

Palmwood is excellent for extraordinary work. Shimon- house shed, etc. This wood does not break in storms and can carry a lot of loads. Therefore, suitable wood should be purchased for work by looking and verifying the market’s wood and demand.

How to identify wood logs

Here are some common ways to identify wood logs.

  1. The tree can be identified by looking at the leaves and size.
  2. After cutting the tree, the wood can be identified by looking at the wood log’s color and weight.
  3. Many people can tell the value of wood by bending a thin piece of wood.
  4. However, since not all wood colors and textures are the same, wood can be identified by looking at the wood’s color and texture.
  5. Some trees have streaks. For example, white streaks can be seen in jackfruit trees.
  6. Since teak wood grain looks very beautiful, many people can recognize it by looking at its grain. Below are some wooden samples

Wood Harvesting

Wood is collected from forest areas throughout the year. The government forest department sells selected trees in the form of lots with tenders. The timber traders buy lots and deposit the money in the government treasury, cut down the trees under the forest department’s supervision, come out of the forest and sell the trees to the general buyers. The common man can sell his land and garden trees at any time he wants. In the hilly areas, timber traders bring large bamboo groves by the river to the port and sell them.

In rural areas, people cut down trees and sell them in bullock carts and trucks. In some regions, trees are pulled by elephants and brought to the seaport, and supplied by boats in different ways. In the village, trees are cut down with axes and sold locally. Lots of palm wood is used in the construction of houses. Locally, palm trees are bought and sold in the market.

Therefore, according to the demand for timber, timber is harvested from all country and forest departments.

What should be considered during harvesting wood:

According to the following information, wood can be collected very easily

  • Name and size of wood.
  • In which markets the wood will be sold?
  • What size of wood is sold?
  • What is the price of wood per cubic foot?
  • Transportation costs and transportation facilities.
  • Contact the timber trader to get all information.

Cutting of trees: 

Living trees are cut down with woodworking tools i.e. an ax, chainsaw, and a big saw, and thrown to the ground. Then the stems are cut to standard size and sold in the market. All those big trees cannot be transported in bullock carts and trucks. All those trees are sold in the market and with the help of local traders.

Methods of conversion of timber (Sawing of tree):

Round trees are climbed in several ways. These are- 

  • Live Sawing 
  • Back Sawing
  • Quarter Sawing 

Properties of wood sawing

1. Live sawing: The wooden plank becomes very wide in this way of sawing. Wide planks are easily bent and rounded. The wide plank on the deck of the house is good.

2. Back sawing: The wooden plank becomes medium wide in this way of sawing. This method is best for tool handles and tabletops.

3. Quarter sawing: The wastage of wood is more if the tree is sawing in this way. Laminated wood is ideal for door frames, window frames, floor decking, and moulding work.

Properties of quality wood 

  • The colours look beautiful and add good grain.
  • Finishing is good.
  • The price is reasonable.
  • Durable in use.
  • Easily available.
  • Dune is not affected.
  • Wee insects do not eat.
  • Suitable for furniture and door frames.
  • Not easy to curve.
  • Easy to season.

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