tension wood, which we have discussed
before in this column.
QWe have some concerns about plantation grown wood, especially regarding
color and stability. Is there
a difference between “wild forest
wood” and plantation wood?
AToday we are seeing a lot more plantation grown wood in the marketplace, and you may not even know
about it. It processes and looks like
normal wood. But, from time to time,
there are a few differences that we
should be aware of and check for.
We know the growth rate in a planta-
tion is much faster than in a competitive
forest. In many species, this means stron-
ger wood. However, there is a “catch”
to this statement. Studies that look at
wood strength and other properties tend
to ignore wood in the first 15 years of
growth in the log because the wood in
this region, often termed juvenile wood,
is not as strong, can warp more easily in
drying as well as warp more after drying
when the MC changes (side bend and
twist seem more common), and may
have a different color and absorptivity
Because of faster growth of a
plantation tree, the juvenile core will
be larger in volume, so it is more likely
that lumber sawn from the plantation
log will have this juvenile wood and
behave poorly, as noted. We may therefore have to change processing slightly
to help moderate any problems, compared to “normal” wood.
One area that is a bit unclear is
that some species with natural decay
resistance (including cedar, cypress,
redwood) seem to have less decay
resistance in today’s growth compared
to the older growth of 50 or more
years ago (called “old growth” wood).
Speculation is that we will see certain
properties change when looking at
“old growth” compared to plantation
growth, but the properties affected
and extent of this effect is not well
Summary: Be aware of the sources
of your wood supplies and the potential
for some changes in properties or characteristics that may, in turn, require
some small modifications in processing.
QWe ordered some stack- ing stickers for stacking and they are supposed to
be from a plantation in
Central America. They arrived wet, so
we dried them and they warped like
crazy. Did we do something wrong?
“Today we are seeing more plantation grown
wood in the marketplace. It processes and looks
like normal wood. But, from time to time, there
are a few differences that we should be aware of
and check for.”