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SECTION 1: Wood in a living tree

Eucalyptus tree

All solid timber products are made from wood fibres that were once living cells in a tree. This is why most of the characteristics of timber – including grain pattern, knots, strength, density and durability – are determined by the genetic make-up of the tree, and the way it responds to environmental conditions while it’s growing.

In this section, we’ll examine the different parts of a tree and the functions they perform in helping the tree to grow and produce new wood cells. We’ll also look at the basic botanical differences between softwoods and hardwoods and the effect this has on their cell structure.


There are seven lessons in this section. The content material on some of these webpages is also presented in an animated video format with a voice-over narration. You’ll find links to these video clips on the relevant pages.