III. The Properties of Wood

M. B. Welch


Wood is obtained from trees, and a tree has been defined as a long lived woody plant of upright habit and single stem with a capacity for indefinite growth. Although this is regarded as an age of coal, steel and concrete, wood is still one of the world's most important commercial products, entering more and more into a hundred and one manufactured articles from artificial silk to phonograph records, from sausage skins to linoleum. Furthermore, this " capacity for indefinite growth " is going to be of far greater consequence in the future because we can produce our raw material as a crop with a definite rotation. In other words.instead of steadily depleting our capital as we do when coal, iron, limestone and shale are mined or quarried, we are living on the interest built up year by year by the steady growth of our trees. Although in many countries the consumption of timber has far outpaced the annual growth, yet more and more scientific methods of forestry are being introduced, and eventually production will equal consumption when virgin forests are cut out. Primitive man largely depended on wood for his rude shelters, his dug-out canoes, fuel and weapons, and the future might yet see a second " wooden age ".