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SECTION 2: Wood properties

Structural timber in a house frame
Structural timber in a house frame,
selected for the properties that are most suited to this end use

There are many different species of wood, and each one has its own set of characteristics, or properties. When wood is processed into a timber product, these properties will have a major influence on the performance of the product and its ability to withstand the test of time.

Most of the properties of a piece of timber are determined by the genetic make-up and life experiences of the tree that it came from. However, some properties are enhanced or altered by the way the timber is sawn, dried or chemically treated during the processing stage.

In this section, we’ll look at the main properties that affect the performance of wood when it is used in a product or 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.