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Basics of Wood

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Watch this video to discover the basic properties of wood.

Keep watching to learn about the tools and techniques used to transform timber into useful object.
This video series will give you insight into the world of woodworking.

Don't know your hardwoods from your softwoods? Help is at hand! This video will take you through the different types of wood and their respective properties to make sure you always pick the right wood for your project.

Music - Gilles B

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Learn the Basics of Wood.

In this video, you will learn the basics about wood.


Wood is obtained from trunks and branches of trees.

It has been used for thousands of years for fuel, construction, making tools, and furniture This lesson has been divided in two parts: the types of wood and the physical aspects.


There are several different varieties of wood.

Solid wood expands with moisture and contracts during dry months.

This is an important factor to keep in mind while making doors and drawers for example, which could expand considerably during the rainy season or winters.

A rosewood mallet head, a piece of pine, a board of teak and a board of red cedar, all placed on a table made of rubber wood.

Woods can be classified in two broad categories, hard wood and soft wood.

Hardwood refers to timber harvested from broad leaved, flowering trees, like rose wood and teak.

They are generally harder, as the term suggests, and are commonly used for cabinets, doors and striking tools.

This rose wood mallet head can deliver a powerful blow with minimal effort.

Teak is renowned for its aesthetic value, workability as well as resistance to decay.

Rubberwood is extremely vulnerable to warp and rot and needs to be treated with preservatives and laminated to improve its durability.

Boards of rubberwood are made with edge-glued or finger jointed pieces Softwood, such as pine and cedar, are lighter and generally easier to work with.

They grow much faster and are lower in cost, mostly being used for construction purposes.

Pinewood is extremely easy to work with and exudes a sweet aroma.

Apart from solid timber, you also have manufactured boards such as plywood or MDF which are more affordable but aesthetically less appealing.

Plywood is made by glueing together thin layers of wood veneer.

The grain in each layer of plywood runs perpendicular to the previous one, making it structurally strong.


A solid wood workpiece generally has grains which are patterns resulting from the arrangement of wood fibers.

The most basic pattern is the straight grain that run parrallel to the longitudinal axis of the workpiece.

Generally when you cut or plane a workpiece, make sure that you do it along the grain.

When you cut a piece of wood across the grain, you have an end grain on the side.

The patterns on wood also include knots.

These indicate the starting point of a branch or a dormant bud.

Knots are imperfections in wood and often weaken the workpiece.

Nevertheless they can be exploited to add an aesthetic value to the workpiece.

The choice of wood depends on the project.

We have just scratched the surface of wood.

Enjoy your work.


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