Wood and Sustainability
That wood is good is virtually a foregone conclusion. For thousands of years, wood has been used as a building and design material and the fact is wood has huge environmental benefits over other building products. It is completely biodegradable, works as an effective insulator, and is 100 percent renewable.
Wood is a naturally beautiful and adds character and warmth, but more than this it offers exceptional value for money, especially compared with other high quality materials. It also offers unique sustainable credentials – wood is a natural, renewable product.
Wood is the most sustainable building and design material available. As a raw building/design material, wood’s merits are extensive and wood creates far less carbon dioxide emissions than competing building products, and the sustainability movement and green building initiatives have been adopted into several model building codes and national standards. Treated wood preserves wood against termite attack and fungal decay, lengthening its serviceable life and extending the benefits of using wood even further.
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Wood is tough. And, because it's a solid product, it will take hard knocks in its stride. As it ages, it develops a patina which is part of its character.
Wood acts as a natural humidity regulator, absorbing humidity in damp conditions and releasing moisture in dry conditions.
Wood is durable. A good quality wood product should, with a little care and maintenance, last a lifetime. Many Victorian houses still have their original wood windows and floors. Your wood sunglasses can last just as long also! Take care of them and you will live old with them.
Wood is a material that's simple to use, to maintain and to repair.
Strong, durable and naturally water-resistant, white oak (Quercus alba) is at home indoors and out. Light to dark brown, rich in tannins and straight-grained with long rays that contribute to figuring, it's the most popular choice for hardwood cabinets, high on the list for flooring and home furnishings, and valued in the construction of bridges, barrels and boats. Its close cousin, red oak, is pink to reddish-brown in color with mostly straight grains and very little figuring. Red oak (Quercus rubra) is more finicky and not recommended for outdoor use.
Sturdy, handsome, versatile maple comes in hard and soft varieties. Sugar maples form the hard type, which is also valued for extremely white sap wood. Wood from red and silver maples have all the qualities of hard maple, but is about 25 percent less dense, making it easier to work with . To find soft maple in the stacks of lumber at your retailer, press your fingernail into the surface of the wood. If your fingernail leaves an impression, it's soft maple.
Mahogany's fine texture and deep, rich color have made it the world's choice for fine furniture for centuries. A tropical wood, mahogany is also tough enough for outdoor and industrial use. Furniture-quality mahogany comes from Central and South America and the Caribbean. The heartwood starts out with pink, salmon and red tones that age to rich reds and browns. The grain can be straight or wavy, with swirl, quilted or ribbon stripe figures commonly occurring. This type of mahogany is easy to work and easy on your tools. If your selection is highly figured, use fine blades and small cuts to avoid tearing and chipping. Lush and lustrous to begin with, mahogany from the Americas is easy to polish to a smooth, glassy finish.
4) Black Cherry
Pink to reddish hues are characteristic of black cherry, but the wood is photosensitive and darkens quickly if exposed to sunlight. Cherry is blessed with a straight grain and fine texture. Wavy growth rings give it interest and personality, and it often presents with a swirl figure. Softer and less dense than white ash and oak, cherry is easy to machine, nail and glue. It's somewhat brittle, though, and may split, chip or crack if you drop it or ask it to carry too much weight. Cherry bends with relative ease and finishes smoothly with sanding and polishing.
5) White Ash
Kiln-dried, turned and clear-coated, white ash becomes the driving force of line-drives and grand slams in America's pastime, baseball. This shock-resisting wood is also known for its ability to deliver slap-shots in chilly ice arenas, sink snooker balls in smoky parlors and navigate a thrilling whitewater run. If you're more handy than athletic, check out your hand tools. Many of them probably sport handles made from ash.
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