Teak Wood: Characteristics and Uses
Aug11

Teak Wood: Characteristics and Uses

Teak (Tectona grandis) is a tropical hardwood species that belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Originally found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and south East Asian plantations, it now also grows in Africa and the Caribbean. Characteristics of teak wood Appearance: It has small white fragrant flowers and thin leaves. It is also known as Burmese Teak and is known to grow about 30 m-40 m high. It sheds its leaves annually in the dry season and often lives to be 100 years old. It is known for its strength to withstand all kinds of adverse climate because it can bend but not break when faced with harsh winds. Grain/Texture: Teak has a straight grain, though it can also be wavy. Its texture is coarse and uneven and it has a medium or less natural sheen. Teak has a high content of natural oils that gives its raw, unfinished surfaces a fairly oily feel. Rot Resistance: Teak is highly resistant to decay and its heartwood is very durable. It is also termite-resistant and is moderately resistant to marine borers and powder post beetles. This tree contains a resin which has highly water-resistant oil in its heartwood. This oil protects the wood from insects, bacteria and decay. It is resistant to all kinds of weather, making it ideal for exterior and interior furniture. Ease of working: Teak contains an abundance of silica which blunts cutting edges. Apart from its natural oils, teak also adheres well and finishes equally well. Teak is also elastic and has solid fibre that facilitate carpentry. Odor: Its scent is like leather when freshly milled. Allergies/Toxicity: Teak is a good sensitizer. Common reactions to it include irritation in the eye, skin and breathing, and rash, pink eye, asthma-like symptoms, nausea and difficulties with vision. Pricing/Availability: Though its grown worldwide, teak wood is very expensive. Uses: It is used to build boats and ships, veneer, carvings, furniture, turnings, exterior construction and small objects. Advantages of teak wood Highly durable: Teak is highly durable and lasts for over 100 years. It maintains a mean temperature in all seasons: By doing this, this wood remains cool to touch as compared to metal or plastic. Does not shrink or warp: Teak wood that’s seasoned well does not shrink or warp but retains its dimensions. This wood remains unaffected by climatic changes. Can be hand-carved: For a carpenter, teak is amazing material to work with as it can be fashioned just as one wants. It can also be sawn and cut to any size desired to make furniture or for any other needs. Works well with metals: In dry weather, wood often...

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Best Wood For Guitar – Factors to Consider Before Buying a Guitar
Aug01

Best Wood For Guitar – Factors to Consider Before Buying a Guitar

When choosing a guitar, an important consideration is the type of wood that goes to make it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an electric or acoustic guitar. The main features of a guitar are its body, (which is the major part); the neck and fingerboard. The sound emerges from the neck and the frets are situated in the fingerboard. So what is the best wood for a guitar? Well, the types of woods used to make up these parts of the guitar are sensitive to its sound, tone, weight and look, making the choice of wood for a guitar extremely critical. Guitars are chosen for the wood types used for their body, tops, back and sides, and neck and fingerboards. Types of tonewood for guitars: Here are some kinds of tonewood used to make guitars: Alder: Light and distinctive by its small pores, alder wood has a great resonance in its tone and very good premium characteristics. When used to make the body of a guitar, alder wood produces low end and mid-range sound. For a lightweight and highly reverberating tonewood, alder is excellent. Walnut: Very similar to mahogany as a tonewood, walnut is uniformly dense, though heavier. It could have a dampened sound too, though. Walnut is an excellent choice of wood for a customized guitar. However, for the neck and body of your guitar ensure you find a wood type with an open grain for maximum reverberation. Maple: Maple has more density than alder and many other tonewoods which could render a musical note absolutely flat. It is best used for the tops on a typical guitar to keep the tone even when the sound is vastly amplified. Maple is also easy on the eye with its wonderful grain and wavy texture. The waviness of this wood help bring about vibrations in the wood using less grain. Maple makes for a hard tonewood and gives strong sound in the upper midrange, depending on whether you choose soft or hard maple. Mahogany: Known for its uniformity in density, mahogany is typified by its few spots between grains that you would find in other wood types. Its tonewood is rigid, so it produces a thick sound. Its wood has large pores, causing it to give out a nasal sound since its high frequencies are suppressed. For high notes that are rich and thick, you couldn’t do better than selecting mahogany. Ash: There are two kinds of Ash wood—a hard northern variety and a soft southern type. The former has a bright tone and long sustain while the southern’s sound is warm, bright and balanced. Rosewood: Like alder, rosewood too...

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Guide to Tree Identification by Bark
Jul16

Guide to Tree Identification by Bark

A bark of a tree is its natural protection from harsh elements and any kind of threat to it. Not only is it protective in nature to the tree, but it also performs certain functions, such as getting rid of the tree’s wastes by absorbing them in its dead cells and resins and holding them captive there. Also, the tree’s living tissue (phloem) carries nutrients through the length and breadth of the tree, whereas xylem (wood) is responsible for carrying water and essential minerals from the roots of the tree to its leaves. But have you ever done tree identification by bark? Here are a few pointers… How to identify trees by their bark: To identify a tree by its bark, the first step is to look at its various parts and on the basis of these, find it out in a tree guide. If you’re into wilderness survival, this would be a great skill for you, as it would help you to know the kind of trees whose wood you can use to make a fire or tools, or a shelter. For indigenous peoples, a thorough knowledge of trees has always been important and basic for their survival. Anyone with an interest in tree identification would know that a tree can be spotted by any of its distinctive parts—its leaf, flower, fruit, cone or seed, type of branch, bark or crown formation. To begin identifying a tree by its bark, look at a larger part of the tree—its bark. Check out its texture and look to see if there are any growths like nodes growing on the bark. Here’s what you can look out for: Whether the bark is smooth to touch or is bumpy Whether it is thick or thin Whether it is shaggy, cracked or fissured Whether it has scales, grooves, flakes or is fibrous Whether the bark patterns run vertically or across the tree trunk Whether the bark is made up of one color or several Let’s look at a few trees with their signature barks: Ash Fraxinus Excelsior: Its bark is smooth and pale grey when a sapling. As it grows older, it develops shallow pits, deep cracks and bosses. Red Oak: Red oak is identified by its light grey bark, with a smooth and lustrous texture. Silver Maple: You can tell you’re gazing at a Silver Maple tree when you see a gray-brown bark, slit. At first, it is smooth but as it ages, it develops longish grooves. Ruby Horse Chestnut: The bark of this tree is dark greenish-grey and it is smooth to touch. Speckled Alder: A Speckled Alder tree has a...

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What Is A Cord Of Wood?
Jul14

What Is A Cord Of Wood?

We are often asked what is the volume of wood we can buy for fireplace or what is a cord of wood. Well, a cord is the official measurement of firewood that’s aligned into parallel stacks and takes up a volume of 128 cubic feet or 4 feet (122 cm) high, 8 feet (244 cm) long, and 4 feet (122 cm) deep or any combination of measurements that total up to the prescribed volume. It is assumed that the word cord comes from using a string to measure it. Cord terminology Now that the question, “What is a cord of wood?” has been answered, it’s time to introduce the terminology pertaining to cord. One full cord: This refers to a large stack of wood measuring 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft., with a volume of 128 cubic feet. The quantity of wood it contains depends largely on the size of pieces contained therein, though for firewood it is generally 85 cubic feet, while the rest of the cord volume is attributed to air space. Though a full cord is the official measure of firewood, yet pieces measuring four feet are never used for heating homes. So, firewood is never sold in the sizes of its official measurement. Face cord, stove cord or furnace cord: These terms are used to describe firewood in sizes of 4 feet height and 8 feet length, with one piece length under 4 feet. Usually, a firewood length is 16 inches or 33% of a full cord, though other lengths can also be procured. Buying tips: Choose a reputed seller and buy only from him. When the wood is delivered to you, ensure it’s stacked so you know what you’re paying for. Before buying, find out the kind of wood it is and ensure that it is only hardwood. Find out the total wood volume. It’s better to go in for naturally seasoned wood rather than that which is dried in kilns. Ensure that you do not burn wood if it does not have a basic moisture content of 15% as this could be hazardous. To know precisely what you’re buying, take a moisture meter along to the shop. Ensure that the firewood you buy is cut in equal measurements. This makes it easier to handle and proves that you deal with a good quality seller. How to store firewood: After you buy firewood, here’s what you do: Dry and season green wood by exposing it to the sun and wind. Buy a good rack and split the wood. Now, stack it. Stack it in a criss-cross arrangement as this will help it...

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What is MDF? – An Overview
Jul12

What is MDF? – An Overview

What is MDF? An overview of its properties, types of MDF, advantages and disadvantages, and it’s applications.  When hardwood or softwood residue is broken down into wood fibres, Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) is made. This is a kind of wood product created artificially. It is formed in panels when high pressure and temperature are applied. It is far thicker than plywood. MDF comprises individual fibres and finds application in the construction business. Properties of MDF: Durability: It is susceptible to attack from termites and fungi. Though it is meant to be used in tropical areas and humid areas, the glue that bonds the sheets of MDF can break down in cases of humid temperature or fungal attack, thereby making it less durable than other wooden boards. MDF is also known to be attacked by beetles. Response to humidity: MDF responds to change in the humidity of the surrounding air. It should not exceed 10%-12% in offices and homes. Absorption and swelling: MDF absorbs moisture causing it to swell up. Types of MDF: There are a few types of MDF, such as: Standard MDF: This sub-type of MDF is used for interiors and general fitouts, so it is a good choice for making furniture. If you live in a highly humid area or want to make patio or poolside furniture, do not go ahead with standard MDF. Moisture Resistant (MR) MDF: Just like standard MDF, this sub-type of MDF should also be used only for interiors of homes or offices. Since it is resistant to moisture, it is ideal for highly humid areas and for those parts of the house where occasional dampening is usual, such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms. MDF is manufactured with a special resin that is highly moisture-resistant called melamine-urea formaldehyde. Particle Board: One of the more widely-used types of MDF is particle board is one of the more commonly used types of MDF. It comprises several raw materials broken down and recreated into particles of various shapes and sizes. These particles are then bonded together and finished with the help of a resin binder. It is also used to furniture like those used in bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms. Laminated Board: Yet another kind of MDF that’s used in a range of building projects is laminated board. It is made with a variety of wood grains. Each wood layer is then stuck together, giving a board of laminated wood a certain thickness and stiffness. There are several kinds of laminated wood, including plywood and blackboard. Why MDF is chosen over plywood: There are many reasons for MDF being the preferred choice of...

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Acacia Wood – All You Need to Know about it
Jul10

Acacia Wood – All You Need to Know about it

Acacia wood or koa is a kind of hardwood, extracted from the Acacia genus of shrubs and trees, found extensively in Australia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and parts of North and South America. There are believed to be 1300 varieties of the Acacia tree. The tree grows to 100 feet and its wood has several applications, but chiefly it is used to make musical instruments and cabinetry. Features of acacia wood Acacia wood scores highly on several parameters that make up its distinctive look and make it the ultimate choice of homeowners. These are: Appearance: The color of acacia wood can vary but usually ranges between golden and rust, almost like Mahogany. Its growth rings have contrasting color bands and you can also see boards bearing streaks of color. Other varieties may have curly grain or grain in waves. Grain/Texture: Sometimes, the grain is wavy or interlocked to some extent, but the texture remains medium to coarse. End grain: Acacia wood’s end grain varies between large and very large pores in no definite pattern. It may also have few or isolated radial multiples not exceeding two or three. Its growth rings are unclear and rays are indistinct to the naked eye. It can be a shade of red with a vasicentric parenchyma. Resistance to pests and rot: It is very susceptible to attack by pest and termite and decays easily. Ease of working: Acacia wood is a woodworker’s dream wood to work with as it cuts easily and he can fashion objects out of it easily. It also sands, turns, stains and finishes well. Flavour: It has no distinctive taste but it has a flavour of its own when added to food. Density: Due to differences in density, acacia wood can be brittle, rendering it very difficult to sand or plane manually. However, it lends itself very well to carving and can be lustrous after polishing. Weight: Acacia wood is of medium heaviness and its weight is equal to that of teak wood. Moisture content: The moisture content of air-dried acacia wood is around 12%. Well-seasoned acacia wood can last longer without shrinking or warping. Durability: It is more durable than other kinds of wood but its furniture is not as long-lasting as teak wood. Strength: It is reasonably strong and is best used for making furniture and in construction. Allergies: Is wood dust may make it risky to use, but apart from this, no serious health reactions have been found from using acacia wood. However, some species of this wood, such as Australian Blackwood are known to cause breathing difficulties, and skin and eye irritation. Availability: Koa or...

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