Wood preservation: Information sheet 5.1

This information sheet deals with the care and preservation of wood as a building material.

Date
1 March 1998
Publisher
Heritage Office
Type
Heritage publications, Maintenance series, Publication, Fact sheet
Status
Final
Cost
Free
Language
English
  • ISBN 1-87641-5800
  • File PDF 297KB
  • Pages 8
  • Name wood-preservation-information-sheet.pdf

Trees are either softwoods (gymnosperms or conifers) or hardwoods (angiosperms or flowering plants). Softwoods are not always softer than hardwoods. The Australian native cypress pine (Callitris) is a softwood of greater density and harness than many hardwoods, while balsa (Ochroma) is a hardwood.

The microscopic structure of wood resembles a bundle of straws glued together; each straw represents a cell with a cellulose wall and a hollow centre (lumen), and lots of fine perforations through the walls. The cell walls are impregnated with lignin, a natural polymer that glues the cells together and gives wood its strength. Most cells are oriented longitudinally (parallel to the trunk of the tree), with some radially aligned.