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Timber is one of the most popular material in light construction because of : a) simplicity in fabrication b) lightness c) reusability d) insulation from heat. sound & electricity e) aesthetically pleasing appearance f) resistance to oxidation, acid attack & salt attack and salt water g) environmental compatibility

Annual Rings Cambium Layer




Bark is a thin, rough and dense covering that surrounds the trunk. Cambium is a thin (microscopic) layer of wood cells exists inside the bark. The growth of wood takes place continuously under the bark in the cambium layer resulting ring knowns as Annual ring. Width of ring depends on the rate of growth of the tree.

Pith is the center of the log surrounded by the annual rings. The number of rings approximately represents the age of the tree. Heartwood is the inner part of the trunk is made of dead tissue which primary function is to provide mechanical support to the tree. Heartwood that is the older wood is darker, drier and harder than the outer part. Sapwood is the outer part and it contains living cells.

The trunk place the role to convey a solution called sap to the leaves & also to support the crow at such a height as to ensure a sufficiency of air & light. As one layer of woods succeeds another, the cell in the layers die, cease to function for food storage and only useful to give the tree stiffness.

Heartwood & Softwood

Types Of Wood
Wood is broadly classified into 2 categories that is: a) Hardwood - trees with broad leaves that are shed in | winter. b) Softwood - Any species that have needlelike leaves and that are generally evergreen.

Hardwood Trees

Softwood Trees

Physical & mechanical properties of wood differ from species to species & also within species. Among the factor influencing its properties are climate, density of the surrounding forest, character of the soil, moisture content, defects and the area in the log from which the lumber is derived.


Density Moisture Content Temperature Grain structure Position in tree Condition of growth Defects Creep

DENSITY Density of wood is defined as the mass or weight per unit volume. Moisture in wood has a very large effect on the specific gravity as well as the density. Timbers of young tree has a very low density, therefore reduced stresses used for such material. Weight of timber reduced by drying while most strength properties are increased. The higher the density, so the higher its mechanical properties.

MOISTURE CONTENT Moisture content in a living tree varies with the species. Even in the same species, variation in moisture content depends on the age & size of the tree and its location. Mechanical properties of wood influenced by moisture content but modulus elasticity is less affected by changes in moisture Strength of wood increase as the moisture content decreases

Moisture content determined by oven-dry method or by electric moisture-meter method Drying of timber from the green condition as cut to constructional usable content of say, 18% moisture content will cause shrinkage.

TEMPERATURE Strength of timber decreases, together with increasing temperature Permanent loss of strength may happen if wood is held at high temperature for a long period.

POSITION IN TREE In the early trees life, wood often tends to become stronger with increasing distance from the pith

CONDITION OF GROWTH Environmental factor such as height above the sea level, temperature, type of soil, rainfall, spacing between the trees have effect on the strength of the properties of the timber

DEFECTS Common defect are cracks, knots and slope of grain and occur principally during the growing period and the drying process. It can be classified: a) knots b) shake c) split d) check

Knots It is a cross-section or longitudinal section of a branch that was cut with the lumber It could affect the mechanical properties of wood Also allow stress concentration to occur Effect of knots depends on their position in the section. Knots are harder, denser and possess different shrinkage characteristics than those of wood tissue.

Live Knots

Dead Knots

Shake Shakes are lengthwise separations in the wood occurring between and parallel to annual rings

Split Its a complete separation of wood fibers usually at the ends, throughout the thickness of lumber and parallel to the fiber direction. could affect the durability of timber.

Check Its a lengthwise separation of wood occurring across or through the annual ring usually as a result of seasoning. It can occur anywhere on a piece of lumber.


DECAY or DESTRUCTION Decay is a decomposition of the wood substances caused by fungi Wood suffered fungal attack can becomes brittle or weak. Destruction is done by insects or marine borers Termites normally found in warmer climates & wood beetles in conditions of high humidity