need to begin by taking a closer look at the woods we actually use.
are four main ways of buying wood:
sawn wood or lumber
processed products, for example plywood and other manufactured boards
manufactured items, for example furniture components.
school, you will mainly use sawn wood and manufactured boards.
are two types of sawn wood.
come from coniferous trees; the most common types in Britain are pine
(sometimes called deal), spruce and larch. Not all softwoods are soft
– in fact, some, like Parana pine, are actually pretty hard!
come from broad-leaved trees; they include oak, ash and beech from the
temperate zones, and a wide variety of tropical hardwoods such as
mahogany, iroko, sapele, utile, meranti and jelutong. Not all
hardwoods are hard – balsa is very soft.
most common types of manufactured board are plywoods, particle boards and
are made from wood veneers that are cross-banded to give high
strength. They often have a high-quality veneer on the face, with
lower-quality woods internally. Plywoods come in a range of finishes
are made from reconstituted wood such as shavings, chips and sawdust
(the most common type is chipboard). The wood is pressed together into
sheets or blocks using natural or synthetic resin. Particle boards
often have a veneer, for example melamine-faced chipboard is used a
lot in furniture-making.
are usually made from reconstituted softwoods. The most common are
hardboard and Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF). You need to take
particular care when using these, as many contain dangerous and
carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals such as formaldehyde.
are also manufactured boards that don’t contain any wood at all.
These can now be made from agricultural waste (such as straw),
by-products of the textile industry (such as hemp), or recycled paper