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Introduction to wood and General wood works

Carpentry Career
September 25, 2016
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Introduction to wood and General wood works

Wood as a construction material for construction has been in use since time immemorial. The unique characteristics and comparative abundance of wood have made it a natural material for homes and other structures, furniture, tools, vehicles, and decorative objects. Today, for the same reasons, wood is prized for a multitude of uses.

Wood generally has so many definition and meaning to different people based on what they understand about it.

Wood may be defined as the material that forms the trunks and branches of trees. It is an organic (biological), heterogeneous, anisotropic and hygroscopic material.

Timber is wood cut from the trunk which can be used for constructing houses, furniture etc.

Wood as a complex, heterogeneous and organic material has a lot of features which distinguishes it from other materials used for furniture making and carpentry. This features may be pronounced in some wood species than others and this forms the basis for wood identification among the numerous species available.


Wood features can be divided or group into the following;

  1. Macroscopic features
  2. Microscopic features
  3. Ultrastructure of wood


Macroscopic features of wood simply means those features of wood that can be seen by the human eyes without any visual aid. This features and structures include, growth rings, rays, sapwood and heartwood, earlywood and latewood, texture, figure, pith, bark etc.


Course Features


Course title: Introduction to wood and general wood works.

Course code: DWS 101

Duration: 8 – 10 hours


AIM: This module is designed to introduce trainees to basic wood science, wood products, and general wood work.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: On completion of this module, the trainee will be able to:-

  1. Know the basic properties of wood.
  2. Know basic techniques for the identification of different wood species.
  3. Know common wood species available in local wood markets.
  4. Know the different wood products and brief processing operations.
  5. Understand the differences between solid wood and engineered wood products.
  6. Know the advantages and disadvantages of engineered wood products.
  7. Understand general workshop safety rules and be able to apply them in a wood workshop.
  8. Understand the basic process of timber preparation.



Materials available in PDF



Microscopic features/structures of wood are those wood features that cannot be seen by the human eyes but only with the aid of a microscope. These features/structures include; they vessels (though very visible in some wood species), ray cells, parenchyma cells, cambium cells, fibre cells etc.

Wood ultrastructure are basically the building blocks of wood and they include the cell wall components, micro-fibrils etc.

Wood also constitutes three basic constitutes such as cellulose, hemicellulose and Lignin which are complex sugars

Over the years, different technologies for the maximum utilization of wood have evolved for the sustainability of our forests and wood products, these have led to the development of hybrid, composite wood products generally called Engineered Wood Products.
Engineered wood products are also called composite wood, man-made wood, or manufactured wood products, this includes a range of derivative wood products which are manufactured by binding or fixing the strands, particles, fibers, or veneers or boards of wood, together with adhesives, or other methods of fixation to form composite materials. These products are engineered to precise design specifications which are tested to meet national or international standards. Engineered wood products are used in a variety of applications, from home construction, furniture making to commercial buildings to industrial products. The products can be used for joists and beams that replace steel in many building projects, for floor tiles, wall cladding and other furniture works in place of solid wood.

Common Engineered wood products include;

Plywood, Particleboards, Oriented strand board (OSB), Glued laminated timber (glulam), Laminated veneer lumber (LVL), Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), Parallel strand lumber (PSL), Laminated strand lumber (LSL) etc.

Engineered wood products has numerous advantages ranging from their dimensional stability, large span of boards, improved strength properties, easy to work with and requires little or no processing for furniture making. They good modern furniture making materials.

In wood works and processing, both solid and engineered wood products, safety is a very important aspect to consider. Wood processing includes the use of machines which are commonly spindle machines (machines that have electric motor as their primary source of rotational energy) with moving parts carrying very sharp cutting tools. Some of the safety precautions in a wood workshop include;

  • Never wear over flowing clothes while working with a machine.
  • Always put on your personal protective equipment while working in the workshop
  • Never operate a machine that you are not familiar with.
  • Always keep the floor of the workshop dry.
  • Always clear all walk ways in the workshop



For detailed lecture materials click here to register or download application form



1 Comment

  1. You often hear people grumbling about money and all kinds of other things that “don’t grow on trees”; the great thing about wood is that it does grow on trees or, more specifically, in their trunks and branches. How does wood get from the tree to the roof of your house, your bookshelf, or the chair you’re sitting on? It’s a longer and more complex journey than you might think that takes in harvesting, seasoning, preserving and other treatment, and cutting. Here’s a brief guide.

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