Wood Handbook, Wood as an Engineering Material

509 Pages · 2010 · 15.07 MB · English

  • Wood Handbook, Wood as an Engineering Material

    United States

    Department of


    Forest Service

    Wood Handbook




    Wood as an Engineering Material





    Centennial Edition Centennial Edition

    Wood Handbook

    Wood as an Engineering Material

    Forest Products Laboratory • United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service • Madison, Wisconsin Abstract

    Summarizes information on wood as an engineering mate-

    rial. Presents properties of wood and wood-based products

    of particular concern to the architect and engineer. Includes

    discussion of designing with wood and wood-based prod-

    ucts along with some pertinent uses.

    Keywords: wood structure, physical properties (wood),

    mechanical properties (wood), lumber, wood-based com-

    posites, plywood, panel products, design, fastenings, wood

    moisture, drying, gluing, fire resistance, finishing, decay,

    preservation, wood-based products, heat sterilization, sus-

    tainable use

    April 2010

    Forest Products Laboratory. 2010. Wood handbook—Wood as an engineer-

    ing material. General Technical Report FPL-GTR-190. Madison, WI: U.S.

    Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.

    508 p.

    A limited number of free copies of this publication are available to the

    public from the Forest Products Laboratory, One Gifford Pinchot Drive,

    Madison, WI 53726–2398. This publication is also available online at

    www.fpl.fs.fed.us. Laboratory publications are sent to hundreds of libraries Pesticide Precautionary Statement

    in the United States and elsewhere.

    This publication reports research involving pesticides.

    The Forest Products Laboratory is maintained in cooperation with the

    It does not contain recommendations for their use, nor

    University of Wisconsin.

    does it imply that the uses discussed here have been

    The use of trade or firm names in this publication is for reader information

    registered. All uses of pesticides must be registered by

    and does not imply endorsement by the United States Department of

    Agriculture (USDA) of any product or service. appropriate State and/or Federal agencies before they

    can be recommended.

    The USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the

    basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable,

    Caution: Pesticides can be injurious to humans,

    sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orienta-

    tion, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part domestic animals, desirable plants, and fish or other

    of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. wildlife, if they are not handled or applied properly.

    (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities

    Use all pesticides selectively and carefully. Follow

    who require alternative means for communication of program informa-

    tion (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET recommended practices for the disposal of surplus

    Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimi- pesticides and pesticide containers.

    nation, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence

    Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250–9410, or call (800) 795–3272

    (voice) or (202) 720–6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider

    and employer. CONTENTS

    Chapter 1 Wood as a Sustainable Chapter 6 Commercial Lumber,

    Building Material Round Timbers, and Ties

    Wood as a Green Building Material 1–1 Hardwood Lumber 6–2

    Forest Certification Programs 1–3 Softwood Lumber 6–6

    Literature Cited 1–5 Purchase of Lumber 6–12

    Round Timbers and Ties 6–18

    Chapter 2 Characteristics and Availability Commonly Used Lumber, Round Timber, and Tie

    of Commercially Important Woods Abbreviations 6–23

    References 6–25

    Timber Resources and Uses 2–2

    Species Descriptions 2–3 Chapter 7 Stress Grades and Design Prop-

    Imported Woods 2–18

    erties for Lumber, Round Timber, and Ties

    Scientific Name Index 2–41

    Literature Cited 2–45 Lumber 7–1

    Additional References 2–45 Round Timbers and Ties 7–13

    Literature Cited 7–14

    Chapter 3 Structure and Function of Wood Additional References 7–15

    Biological Structure of Wood at Decreasing Scales 3–2

    Chapter 8 Fastenings

    Microscopic Structure of Softwoods and Hardwoods 3–9

    Wood Technology 3–12 Nails 8–1

    Juvenile Wood and Reaction Wood 3–13 Spikes 8–9

    Appearance of Wood as Sawn Lumber 3–13 Staples 8–9

    Wood Identification 3–16 Drift Bolts 8–10

    Literature Cited 3–16 Wood Screws 8–10

    Lag Screws 8–12

    Chapter 4 Moisture Relations and Bolts 8–14

    Physical Properties of Wood Connector Joints 8–19

    Metal Plate Connectors 8–25

    Wood–Moisture Relationships 4–1

    Joist Hangers 8–25

    Thermal Properties 4–10

    Fastener Head Embedment 8–26

    Electrical Properties 4–15

    Literature Cited 8–27

    Friction Properties 4–17

    Additional References 8–27

    Nuclear Radiation Properties 4–17

    Literature Cited 4–18 Chapter 9 Structural Analysis Equations

    Additional Reference 4–19

    Deformation Equations 9–1

    Chapter 5 Mechanical Properties of Wood Stress Equations 9–4

    Stability Equations 9–7

    Orthotropic Nature of Wood 5–1

    Literature Cited 9–10

    Elastic Properties 5–2

    Additional References 9–10

    Strength Properties 5–3

    Vibration Properties 5–17 Chapter 10 Adhesives with Wood Materials

    Mechanical Properties of Clear Straight-Grained

    Bond Formation and Performance

    Wood 5–21

    Natural Characteristics Affecting Mechanical Surface Properties of Wood for Bonding 10–2

    Properties 5–26 Physical Properties of Wood for Bonding 10–5

    Literature Cited 5–44 Adhesives 10–8

    Additional References 5–44 Bonding Process 10–14

    Bonded Joints 10–18

    Testing and Performance 10–19

    Standards 10–22

    References 10–23

    iii Chapter 11 Wood-Based Composite Ma- Chapter 16 Finishing of Wood

    terials Panel Products, Glued-Laminated Factors Affecting Finish Performance 16–2

    Timber, Structural Composite Lumber, and Exterior Wood Finishes 16–16

    Application of Finishes, Special Uses 16–24

    Wood–Nonwood Composite Materials

    Finish Failure or Discoloration 16–25

    Scope 11–2 Finishing Interior Wood 16–32

    Conventional Wood-Based Composite Panels 11–2 Wood Cleaners and Brighteners 16–34

    Glulam Timber 11–17 Paint Strippers 16–35

    Structural Composite Lumber 11–20 Lead-Based Paint 16–36

    Wood–Nonwood Composite Materials 11–22 Literature Cited 16–37

    Literature Cited 11–26 Additional References 16–37

    Chapter 12 Mechanical Properties of Chapter 17 Use of Wood in Buildings

    Wood-Based Composite Materials and Bridges

    Elastic Properties 12–2 Light-Frame Buildings 17–1

    Strength Properties 12–3 Post-Frame and Pole Buildings 17–4

    Panel Products 12–3 Log Buildings 17–6

    Timber Elements/Structural Composite Lumber 12–5 Heavy Timber Buildings 17–6

    Wood–Nonwood Composites 12–7 Considerations for Wood Buildings 17–9

    Testing Standards 12–9 Literature Cited 17–12

    Literature Cited 12–10

    Chapter 18 Fire Safety of Wood

    Chapter 13 Drying and Control of Moisture


    Content and Dimensional Changes

    Fire Safety Design and Evaluation 18–1

    Determination of Moisture Content 13–1 Fire-Performance Characteristics of Wood 18–8

    Recommended Moisture Content 13–3 Fire-Retardant-Treated Wood 18–15

    Drying of Wood 13–5 Literature Cited 18–18

    Moisture Control during Transit and Storage 13–13 Additional References 18–18

    Dimensional Changes in Wood 13–15

    Design Factors Affecting Dimensional Change 13–17 Chapter 19 Specialty Treatments

    Wood Care and Installation during Construction 13–18 Plasticizing Wood 19–1

    Literature Cited 13–19 Modified Woods 19–4

    Paper-Based Plastic Laminates 19–12

    Chapter 14 Biodeterioration of Wood

    References 19–14

    Fungus Damage and Control 14–1

    Bacteria 14–9 Chapter 20 Heat Sterilization of Wood

    Insect Damage and Control 14–9 Heat Treatment Standards 20–1

    Marine Borer Damage and Control 14–13 Factors Affecting Heating Times 20–2

    References 14–15 Methods for Estimating Heating Times 20–5

    American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC)

    Chapter 15 Wood Preservation

    Enforcement Regulations 20–9

    Wood Preservatives 15–1 Quality Mark 20–11

    Selecting Preservatives 15–13 Other Considerations 20–11

    Evaluating New Preservatives 15–13 Literature Cited 20–13

    Preservative Effectiveness 15–13

    Effect of Species on Penetration 15–15 Glossary

    Preparation of Wood for Treatment 15–15

    Application of Preservatives 15–18 Index

    Quality Assurance for Treated Wood 15–25

    Effects on the Environment 15–26

    Recycling and Disposal of Treated Wood 15–26

    References 15–27


    We are proud to present this edition of the Wood The audience for the Wood Handbook is broad. Con-

    Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material, pre- sequently, the coverage of each chapter is aimed at

    pared and updated to include fascinating new develop- providing a general discussion of the topic, with refer-

    ments in the field of wood utilization and released as ences included for additional information. Thousands

    part of the celebration of the Forest Products Labora- more publications are available on the FPL website

    tory’s first 100 years of service to the public. (www.fpl.fs.fed.us).

    Efficient use of our nation’s timber is of critical impor- Wood resources continue to play an important role

    tance. This handbook is intended to serve as a primary in the world, from packaging materials to buildings

    reference on the use of wood in a variety of applica- to transportation structures. Wood has been useful to

    tions—from general construction to use of wood for human societies for thousands of years; archeologi-

    decorative purposes. It provides engineers, architects, cal discoveries have shown wood was used by ancient

    and others who use wood with a source of information civilizations as a construction material, as a substrate

    on the various properties of wood, its relationship with for ornate decorative objects, and for providing the

    moisture, and characteristics of various wood-based final resting place for royalty. These discoveries

    materials. Continuing research holds promise for wider highlight the unique, long-lasting performance char-

    and more efficient utilization of wood in an increasing acteristics of wood, as many of these artifacts have

    number of applications. survived for thousands of years. FPL continues on its

    journey of discovery and public service; working with

    This handbook was prepared by the Forest Products

    cooperators from around the world, we are discovering

    Laboratory (FPL), a research unit within the USDA

    information that covers the entire spectrum of wood

    Forest Service. The FPL, first established in 1910 in

    science—from the use of wood in ancient societies to

    Madison, Wisconsin, was the first institution in the

    developing new theories that describe the fundamen-

    world to conduct general research on wood and its

    tal structure of wood based on the emerging field of

    utilization. The information that resulted from many

    nanoscience. If our forests are managed wisely, and if

    of its scientific investigations of wood and wood prod-

    we continue to build our intellectual capacity to meet

    ucts over the past century is the primary basis for this

    the challenges of evolving human needs and chang-


    ing wood characteristics, this amazing material that is

    The Wood Handbook was first issued in 1935, and wood will serve the public well for years to come.

    slightly revised in 1939, as an unnumbered publica-

    Christopher D. Risbrudt, Director

    tion. Further revisions in 1955, 1974, and 1987 were

    Michael A. Ritter, Assistant Director

    published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as

    Theodore H. Wegner, Assistant Director

    Agriculture Handbook No. 72. The 1999 revision was

    published by the FPL as General Technical Report USDA Forest Service

    FPL–GTR–113 and reprinted for broader distribution Forest Products Laboratory

    by the Forest Products Society.


    This edition of the Wood Handbook—Wood as an to include the most current references, in addition to

    Engineering Material builds upon past editions, in many historic ones, to help guide the reader to appro-

    particular the 1999 version, with some important addi- priate sources of information.

    tions and modifications:

    This 2010 edition was reviewed by numerous individ-

    • A chapter has been added that highlights the im- uals from industry, academia, and government. Several

    portance of wood as an environmentally respon- dozen industry, university, and government colleagues

    sible, sustainable material (Chapter 1). reviewed various sections and chapters of this edition

    • Low-magnification micrographs of cross sections during various stages of revision. We gratefully ac-

    knowledge their contributions.

    of commercial wood species have been added

    (Chapter 2). The following individuals provided in-depth technical

    • An extensive discussion on the microscopic struc- reviews of this edition in its entirety: Donald Bender

    ture of wood and its foundational elements are (Washington State University), David Green (USDA

    presented (Chapter 3). Forest Products Laboratory, retired), John Erickson

    • Reference to the most recent research on proper- (USDA Forest Products Laboratory, retired), Howard

    Rosen (USDA Forest Service, retired), World Nieh

    ties of the wood cell wall, at the nanoscale, has

    (USDA Forest Service), Robert White (USDA Forest

    been included (Chapter 5).

    Products Laboratory), and staff of the American Wood

    • To address the need to find uses for wood obtained

    Council, American Forest & Paper Association. We

    from trees killed by invasive insect species as they

    gratefully acknowledge their contributions.

    propagate through various regions of the United

    States, a chapter has been added on heat-treating Although listing every technical author and contributor

    and sterilization procedures for wood products to the Wood Handbook would be nearly impossible—

    (Chapter 20). early editions did not even list individual contributors

    • Important updates are included on wood–mois- by name—we do acknowledge the authors of previous

    editions; they all made significant, noteworthy contri-

    ture interactions and wood preservation practices


    (Chapters 4 and 15).

    Finally, we thank our many research cooperators from

    The Wood Handbook originally focused on construc-

    industry, academia, and other government agencies.

    tion practices that utilized solid-sawn wood. Since its

    By working with you we are able to continue develop-

    first printing, the state-of-the-art in wood construc-

    ing the technical base for using wood, wood-based

    tion practices and the range of wood-based products

    materials, and wood structural systems in a technically

    available to the consumer have changed considerably.

    sound manner.

    Excellent printed reference and websites have been

    developed by various trade associations and wood

    Robert J. Ross, Editor

    products manufacturers that document, in detail, cur-

    USDA Forest Service

    rent design information for the ever-changing range of

    Forest Products Laboratory

    products available. We have made a concerted effort

    vii CHAPTER 1

    Wood as a Sustainable Building Material

    Robert H. Falk, Research General Engineer

    Few building materials possess the environmental benefits

    Contents of wood. It is not only our most widely used building mate-

    rial but also one with characteristics that make it suitable

    Wood as a Green Building Material 1–1

    for a wide range of applications. As described in the many

    Embodied Energy 1–1 chapters of this handbook, efficient, durable, and useful

    wood products produced from trees can range from a mini-

    Carbon Impact 1–2

    mally processed log at a log-home building site to a highly

    Sustainability 1–3 processed and highly engineered wood composite manufac-

    tured in a large production facility.

    Forest Certification Programs 1–3

    As with any resource, we want to ensure that our raw ma-

    Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 1–4

    terials are produced and used in a sustainable fashion. One

    Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) 1–4 of the greatest attributes of wood is that it is a renewable

    resource. If sustainable forest management and harvesting

    American Tree Farm System (ATFS) 1–4

    practices are followed, our wood resource will be available

    Canadian Standards Association (CSA) 1–5 indefinitely.

    Programme for the Endorsement of Forest

    Wood as a Green Building Material

    Certification (PEFC) Schemes 1–5

    Over the past decade, the concept of green building1 has

    Additional Information 1–5

    become more mainstream and the public is becoming aware

    Literature Cited 1–5 of the potential environmental benefits of this alternative

    to conventional construction. Much of the focus of green

    building is on reducing a building’s energy consumption

    (such as better insulation, more efficient appliances and

    heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems)

    and reducing negative human health impacts (such as con-

    trolled ventilation and humidity to reduce mold growth).

    However, choosing building materials that exhibit positive

    environmental attributes is also a major area of focus. Wood

    has many positive characteristics, including low embodied

    energy, low carbon impact, and sustainability. These charac-

    teristics are important because in the United States, a little

    more than half the wood harvested in the forest ends up as

    building material used in construction.

    Embodied Energy

    Embodied energy refers to the quantity of energy required to

    harvest, mine, manufacture, and transport to the point of use

    a material or product. Wood, a material that requires a mini-

    mal amount of energy-based processing, has a low level

    1Green building is defined as the practice of increasing the effi-

    ciency with which buildings use resources while reducing building

    impacts on human health and the environment—through better

    siting, design, material selection, construction, operation, mainte-

    nance, and removal—over the complete building life cycle.


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