Wood: 20 Astonishing Facts and Uses

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Wood is a porous, hygroscopic, organic material that can be formed; that is, it takes different positions in its growth in response to external influences. It is obtained from woody plants, specifically trees and shrubs.

It is considered one of the essential resources in nature, and it is known to be a hygroscopic, porous, and moldable organic substance. It responds to external influences and is taken from plants. It has many characteristics, including being easily formed, easy to obtain, durable, hard, and easy to cut.

Wood is preserved using one of these materials; tar oils, organic oils, and toxic salts dissolved in water. Wood treatment methods include the cold immersion method, the wood sap alternative method, the closed cylinder method, and the immersion method in hot solutions. In this article, we will highlight wood and its uses.

We always wonder about the difference in prices between similar pieces of furniture that are made of the same type of wood, so before we know the types of wood, we must understand that there is a difference between even in the same type, for example, we find that a chair made of beech is twice as expensive as another chair with the same the shape is also made of beech, so why this difference?

This variation in price is due to several factors, including the thickness of the wood used to make this piece and the degree of drying of this piece in the oven. The user who paints this piece controls the price and, most important of all, the accuracy and skill of the carpenter who made this piece, the number of wooden connections used, and whether the drilling is manual or using machines, as it is known that manual drilling is the highest price ever.

There are many types of natural and manufactured wood, and each has its own advantages, disadvantages, and uses that differ from one type to another. Hereunder, we will list the most famous types of wood, their advantages, disadvantages, and uses.

Types of Wood

Wood is divided into two parts; hardwood and sapwood. As the name indicates, sapwood is softer, weaker, and has a lower toughness factor than hardwood, although these properties cannot be generalised.


It is divided into two parts:

Natural Sapwood 

It is the product of coniferous trees with evergreen pointed leaves. It is used in most construction works, which is characterised by its relatively cheap price and the necessary resistance for construction purposes. It is also characterised by ease of operation due to its softness and moderation of its fibres. Including the following types:

1.      Whitewood

It is imported from Canada, Scotland, Russia and the Balkans. It is sometimes known as whiteness and fir. Its density is about 35. kg per cubic meter when the moisture content is 12%, and several varieties exist.

White Wood Uses

Whitewood is used in several areas, the most prominent of which are mentioned below:

1.      Construction purposes

Whitewood can be used for various construction purposes. Because of its durability and rigidity, it is used in internal and external carpentry work due to its tolerance to changes in the weather, in addition to its use in structuring doors, lining and frames.

2.      Flooring

Whitewood is used in the flooring industry due to its durability and attractive appearance when used and due to its characteristics of resistance to constantly changing weather conditions.

3.      Whitewood Oil

Whitewood is also used in the manufacture of aromatic and therapeutic oils known for its benefits, as its oil relieves nausea, lowers body temperature with fever, and has antibacterial properties.

Reasons for the diversity of uses of white wood

The reason why white wood is used in abundance is due to several characteristics that distinguish it, and the following is its clarification:

  1. It is considered a strong and durable wood, as it lasts for several years with little maintenance.
  2. It is characterised by being wood that is easy to polish, as it can be cleaned with a cloth and regularly to maintain it, and without the need to use water on it.
  3. It is well-considered for decoration work thanks to its distinctive creamy white colour that acts as an attraction to the visitor’s eye.
  4. Whitewood is one of the types of wood that can be easily modified and changed, and this gives the user the opportunity to change the furniture over time, with the help of staining, painting, or sanding only, as this gives a new and different look to the furniture.
  5. Whitewood trees in nature come in the form of a long and straight trunk, and one tree of it can provide a large volume of wood, which makes it very useful.
  6. It is fire and termite resistant.
  7. It has a soft and attractive feel.

2.      Beech Pine Wood

It is one of the cheapest types of natural wood because it contains a lot of knots, which are sometimes malicious knots, which make the manufactured piece look very bad. Burned and there are spaces between it and the rest of the wood, it is a malicious knot, and over time this knot can fall and leave a void in the wood in its place, causing an unaesthetic appearance of the piece.

As for the benign knots, they are usually light in colour and close to the colour of the wood itself. One of the fantastic things about this type of wood is that although the knots make the wood cheaper, sometimes they add beauty to the piece.

Beech pine wood is sometimes used to make saunas, bed boards, living rooms and doors. It is imported from Russia and Sweden, and its density is 45. kg when the moisture in it is 12%.

3.      Pino Wood

It is known as the red pine and is considered the strongest among the previous types of wood, its hardness is renowned, and its colour tends to be red. It is imported from Yugoslavia, and central Europe in the form of various large blocks and lengths of up to 12 meters, and its weight is not less than 600 kg / m3.

4.      Pitch Pine Wood

It is found in North America and is characterised by a dark colour, and a cubic meter of it weighs about 800 kg when the moisture content in it is 12%.

5.      Fir Wood

It is the strongest and most durable of all conifers, and its trees grow in cold regions such as Norway, Scotland and Canada, and it varies into several types.

Artificial Sapwood

1.      Particle Wood

Particleboard is made from sawdust, bagasse, rice stalks, and flax stalks. These types are affixed using chemical adhesives for industrial processing based on boreal formaldehyde resins and then pressed in mechanical presses under different pressures and temperatures commensurate with the purposes required for them.

It has the work of making a crust of whiteness with gypsum or plaster or painting it with water-based paint such as glue or decimeter paint, and for the third purpose, it is covered with plywood and painted with oil paint or ester.

2.      Medium Density Wood (MDF)

This wood has recently become popular. It consists of heat- and pressure-treated vegetable fibres, which are durable, flat and easy to shape.

3.      Plywood

These standards include plywood for general purposes made from imported or domestic hardwoods by circular or flat-cutting (automatic strips) and glued together using an adhesive.

Finnish plywood covered with phenolic

This plywood consists of plywood, and the inner ply is always birch and softwood, respectively, while the outer ply is birch, and this ply may be bonded to a phenolic film in conditions of heat and pressure, and therefore it provides good protection against the chemical action of concrete as well as against weather conditions.

 Wetness is also not affected by changes in humidity or temperature, and the edges of the panels are entirely coated with an insulating layer to prevent moisture penetration.


This wood is similar to particleboard in all stages of its manufacture, but it differs from it in that particle wood is made from flax, rice straw, cotton stalks, and other non-durable plants. It is one of the durable logs and is distinguished from wood grain in the following:

  1. This kind of wood is not affected by water a lot.
  2. It revolves around the number of cycles of wood wrenches more than the particleboard (one or two cycles) and in total.
  3. it is used for the purposes that are used in particleboard, including many types covered with a veneer of mahogany or hay and so on, to be suitable in furniture works.

The degree of impact with the water

The increase does not exceed 6% of the original fish in the period of immersion in water for two hours.

Sizes currently on the market: 185 x 250 cm, 185 x 375 cm.

5.      Contour plates

It consists of sapwoods stacked side by side without voids, covered on both sides with wood veneer, the fibres of which are perpendicular to the piles of fibres. The thickness of the board is generally between 16 mm and 50 mm, and its common dimensions are 2.2. x 1.22 meters.

 Chemical adhesives are used to install the outer shell between 2 mm and 6 mm, and the layers that make up the shell (plywood) are made of poplar, beech, mahogany, oak or otherwise. The quality of warp boards varies with the materials used and the method of manufacture.

6.      Hardboard Wood

These panels are produced with a length of 366 cm and a width of 122 cm usually, although some foreign factories have panels with a height of 500 cm as well. Compressed wood differs from particleboard in that the first is made after converting the cellulose fibres into a pulp-like pulp and then mixed with resin (glue).

the panels are formed by high pressure at high temperatures, as is the case in particleboard, but the wood panels are then treated in ovens for roasting so that it is not affected in the future by changes in temperature or humidity in the atmosphere.

7.      Wood Veneer

This thin veneer of precious wood is made of thin veneer and glued over sapwood panels to give it a beautiful appearance.

It is the wood produced from the tree family with flat leaves, and this type of wood is used most often in the manufacture of furniture. Here are some types of hardwoods:


1.       Ash

This type is hard to work with and can be polished. It weighs about 800 kg/m3 per cubic meter when the moisture content is 12%. It is imported from England or the Baltic states, Austria, Italy and Greece.

2.      Oak

This type grows in the same areas as the previous type, and its colour is dark, and there are several types.

Types of oak

  1. Austrian oak: density is 800 kg / m3.
  2. English oak: which is dark ivory.
  3. American oak, which is the most expensive.
  4. African oak: it is red in colour and is hard and challenging to operate.
  5. Yugoslavian oak: which is the cheapest type.

There are names according to the presence of the tree veins in the wood

  1. pointed oak: a wood without tree veins.
  2. The detonator oak: The vein of the tree is clearly visible and is often in the middle.

Oak wood is beautiful and durable and is popular for use in doors and windows, bedrooms, libraries, and kitchens.

3.      Beechwood

The beech tree is one of the types of trees that belong to a family that contains about ten types of beechwood growing in the semi-tropical and temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Its seeds provide fodder for poultry and are used for fattening, and also produce edible oil.

The shape of beech trees

They are tall beech trees with circular heads, extending and growing transversely, their thin crust is soft to the touch and has a colour tilted to a metallic silver colour, and their serrated leaves have a bright green colour, and it is considered one of the perennial trees.

They can live for four hundred years or more. American beech is well known in North America, but European beech found in England and Eurasia is more widely known in the world. It is one of the most common hardwoods, and its density is 650 kg/m3 when the moisture content in it is 12%.

Advantages of beechwood

  1. It is very tough.
  2. It can withstand high temperatures.
  3. It does not curve easily.
  4. It is not subjected to wood decay.
  5. It has very tight pores.
  6. It can be easily coloured and painted and gives a great shape after painting.
  7. It is flexible and easy to steam mould.

Disadvantages of beechwood

  1. The price is high.
  2. Quickly combustible.
  3. Exposed to moisture problems.

Beechwood species

  1. Roman beechwood: It is the most expensive and best beech species.
  2. American beechwood.
  3. Russian beechwood.
  4. Turkish beechwood: It is the cheapest and lowest quality beechwood.

Beechwood uses

Beech wood is used in the manufacture of many things, for example:

  1. Home furniture industry: This includes bedrooms, salons, dining tables, chairs and boots.
  2. Doors and windows manufacture: Because beechwood is characterised by its hardness and heavy weight, it is used to manufacture doors, windows and stair railings.
  3. Office industry.

How to identify beechwood

Beechwood can be distinguished just by looking at it, where you find the colour of the beech is reddish, has no knots, and the pores of the wood are very narrow.

4. Mahogany

This type is brown to reddish, and there are several types of this kind, such as Cuban mahogany, Honduran mahogany, African mahogany, Indian mahogany, and what is known as Atlas wood.

Types of Mahogany

  1. Cuban mahogany.
  2. Honduran mahogany.
  3. African mahogany.
  4. Indian mahogany.

5. Sparrow Tongue

It is imported from North America, Britain, Hungary, Austria and the Pyrenees and is often presented in the market as oak.

6. Teak

It is a dark hardwood that tolerates weather fluctuations. Teak trees are abundant in India, Burma and Siam.

7. Chestnut

It is solid hardwood with a brown colour and three types: greyish, dark, and light tan. Its types are English chestnut, American chestnut, Turkish chestnut and Italian chestnut.

The Chemical Composition of Wood

Wood is composed of hydrogen at 6 per cent, carbon at 49 per cent, nitrogen by a little, oxygen at 44 per cent, and ash at 0.1 per cent. It also consists of silica, potassium, magnesium, calcium and manganese.

Physical and Mechanical Properties of Wood

The physical properties of wood are weight, taste, smell, and lustre, which are necessary characteristics that distinguish wood species. Hardness, cleavage strength, and hardness strength.

The Organic Composition of Woody Trees

Woody trees contain the following:

  1. The pulp, which is the first part that makes up trees, is a parenchymal cellular tissue.
  2.  Annual rings, are rings composed of woody cellular tissue spread around the pulp and are utterly round in shape.
  3. The wooden rays consist of parenchyma tissue in the form of vertical and horizontal lines on all parts of the trees.
  4. The bark, which is the outer covering that protects the tree and transports food from the leaves to the rest of the tree.

Types of Wood Drying

  1. Natural air drying.
  2. Industrial drying in ovens: it is called hot air-drying technology.
  3. Industrial drying using steam.
  4. Industrial drying using boiling water.

There is a device for measuring moisture in wood, which is used to find out the approximate moisture content in the wood to determine the extent of its resistance to future changes in humidity in the surrounding environment. There are modern digital types of this device at reasonable prices that you can buy if you want to.

Wood Uses in Construction

Wood comes directly after stone in its global arrangement for construction purposes, as it enters the construction of houses from doors, windows, floors and ceilings, and is used in furniture, in residential buildings, and in large constructions such as bridges, buildings, railways and important supports.

What are the characteristics of wood that make it suitable for construction?

Among the advantages of wood that make it a suitable option for construction are the following:

  1. It is a natural source material, which allows it to be obtained easily and without a high cost.
  2. It is very strong for its weight.
  3. It provides the required thermal insulation. Its conduction of heat is almost non-existent compared to other materials.
  4. It resists high temperatures, making it better than some metals that cannot withstand heat and expand, while it becomes harder with high heat.
  5. The ability of wood to form and the possibility of cutting it is one of its most important qualities, as it is possible to take the required sizes without much effort.
  6. It is a good insulator.
  7. Soundproof, so it is suitable in banquet halls.
  8. Environmentally friendly biodegradable ingredients.

What are the disadvantages of using wood in construction?

Despite the characteristics of wood that make it a primary building material, it has some features that limit its use:

  1. subject to rotting under certain conditions,
  2. The use of wood is not compatible with some modern designs, which require more flexibility in use.
  3. less robust than designs that require high durability,
  4. Vulnerable to fire if fire extinguishing and alarm systems are not installed.

What types of wood are used in construction?

The types of wood used in construction are classified into several categories, including:

  • Classification based on the thickness

The wooden boards used in construction are classified according to their thickness so that if it is less than 12.7 cm, it is called timber, but if it is more than 12.7 cm, it is called timber, and if it is more than 20.3 cm, it is called beams.

  • Classification based on configuration

There are wood panels that have not been manufactured but rather exist naturally, and there are those that have been engineered by glueing many wood threads together, fibres or crusts, examples of which are plywood, glulam wood and fiberboard and are widely used in residential, commercial and industrial construction.

  • Classification based on hardness

Which depends on the density of wood and plant characteristics in general and is divided into two parts hardwood and softwood, as hardwood is heavier and more robust than other wood and is used in the formation of floors, ceilings, wall construction, etc., and includes oak, maple, walnut and cherry. In contrast, softwood is used for furniture. The windows are more and include pine and cedar.

Compressed wood uses

Particleboard is an engineered wood made from wood fibres and chips. Its use is widespread, especially in the furniture and shelving industry, because of its lightweight and durability. It is essential to understand the process of making compressed wood and how it differs from one type of engineered wood to another. As well as the flaws that can be seen in it.

 Is particleboard solid and durable?

Compressed wood differs from one type to another and in the way and areas of its use, and it is more common in the furniture industry due to its lightweight and low costs, but when making furniture from it, we face a problem, which is that it can be broken and damaged during transportation and frequent movement.

compressed wood cannot be preserved from moisture. Although the outer shell can protect it, the inner part can get wet with water and swell and become unattractive.

How is compressed wood made?

It is made in several steps:

  1. Remove chipped pieces if wood fibres reach, then check the quality of thin wood laminate.
  2. Dry the thin wood sheets making sure that they are dry.
  3. Thin wood chips are cut into fibres, subjected to intense pressure, and then left to cool down.

Types of Particleboards

There are many common types of particleboards, including:

  1. Medium-density fibres: When talking about fibres are obtained by a special machine that splits hardwood and softwood into fibres. Medium-density fibres are the smallest pieces that can be used in wood panels.
  2. High-Density Fiber: This product is important in the flooring industry as it is very durable.

What are the positives and negatives of compressed wood?

It is imperative to know and study the pros and cons of compressed wood:


It has only moderately good durability and requires little maintenance.


If particleboard is not waterproof, moisture will wear down the wood because it works to swell and thus damage it.

Can pressed wood be painted?

Particleboard has the advantage that the first layer has pores, which help absorb paint when painting on wood, and therefore it will need more than one layer when painting chipboard.

What is plastic lumber?

They are boards or products made of wood and plastic resulting from recycling their particles and fibres into small parts. Plastic wood products are relatively new compared to natural wood or traditional wood.

Plastic wood products are widely used in the United States of America, and it is produced by mixing particles of recycled materials. Recycled such as wood flour and plastic together, its growth is likely to reach 20% in the coming years.

Plastic Wood Uses

The following is an explanation of the most prominent uses:

  1. It is used in the manufacture of ventilated and waterproof planting ponds for a long period of time.
  2. It is used in the manufacture and formation of outdoor furniture, such as lounge chairs in public places because it is water-resistant and does not rot over time.
  3. It is used in the design of outdoor picnic tables because it does not require frequent maintenance.
  4. It is used as a path inside or outside the house, such as using it to walk on it when roaming inside the garden of the house because it is flexible, instead of using stone or tiles.
  5. It is used in the manufacture of outdoor furniture for the home, such as the manufacture of lounge chairs, tables, and furniture for outdoor activities, especially for children.
  6. It is used in the design of windows and doors as it prevents the occurrence of rotting and resists water.
  7. It is used in landscaping, internal garden paths, and walls separating plants.
  8. It is used in kitchen tank design as it is flexible and water resistant.
  9. It is used in various billboards, such as billboards, display boards, direct digital printing, exhibition booths, and graphics.
  10. It is used in the production of parquet flooring because of its water resistance.
  11. It is used in the manufacture of platforms used in warehouses for transporting goods because it is resistant to breakage and rotting.

 Advantages of Plastic Wood

Plastic wood has characteristics that distinguish it from other traditional wood materials, the most prominent of which are:

  1. It consists of flexible materials and particles that allow the desired shapes to be manufactured and are easy to repair when the product is damaged.
  2. Environmentally safe and does not require painting, the product is blended with anti-UV agents that resist fading.
  3. Waterproof and moisture resistant. It does not shrink and does not change, no matter how bad the weather conditions it is.
  4. It does not change shape when used and does not deform because it is a durable, flexible product that will be beautiful for the longest possible period of time.
  5. It has the ability to mould termites, and it is an insulating product that resists high temperatures.
  6. Its light weight gives it superb usability in residential and commercial projects in addition to the aesthetic value resulting from its use.
  7. It has prices that are acceptable to everyone, in addition to being safe for human health. It is painted in favourite colours, including blue, green, red, pale yellow, grey, and black in the specified proportions or the colour of the natural product is sufficient.

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