Understanding Wood: A Craftman's Guide to Wood Technology

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by: Bruce Hoadley

Topics include: terminal parenchyma, negative clearance angle, porous growth rings, pores solitary, radial multiples, white pine block, transition from earlywood, growth rings distinct, crossply construction, tangential shrinkage, growth ring boundary, sectional disks, average specific gravity, dual bulb, pith side, heartwood extractives, flatsawn board, maximum crushing strength, drying defects, tangential grain, ray fleck, compression shrinkage, resin canals, peripheral milling, shrinkage formula

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From Library Journal Wood is a complex, dynamic material that can only be used successfully if the craftsperson understands it. It reacts to changes in humidity, and the various species have widely different working and structural properties (in addition to their many colors and textures). Both Hoadley and Peters do a good job of helping readers understand the factors that must be considered when using wood and products such as plywood. A frequent writer on home improvement topics, Peters offers a colorful book geared toward hobbyist woodworkers. He covers the process of making lumber from start to finish, including how trees grow, their structure, common ways of milling and drying lumber, grading, and possible defects found in wood. One section shows wood samples (both finished and plain) and describes their basic working characteristics. This particularly attractive book is filled with colorful photographs and illustrations and includes both a glossary and an excellent appendix showing the hazards posed by the sawdust of specific wood species. Hoadley, a professor of wood science and technology, has revised his classic title for its 20th anniversary. While the original is still great, the new title incorporates the latest technologies in adhesives, finishes, and wood products. Color photographs are a welcome addition as the original edition's photos were drab and unappealing. Hoadley covers much of the material that Peters does but in far greater depth. While this complexity may intimidate beginners, it is just what advanced users and professionals need. For example, Hoadley's wood identification section consists of macrophotographs of wood samples magnified ten times so that the correct species can be determined from the pattern of wood cells. This title also includes an in-depth glossary, bibliography, and index. Hoadley's work is an improvement of a classic while Peters's is good enough that it will likely stand the test of time as well. The difference is in complexity, not quality. General public library collections will get more use from Peters's title, while in-depth public and academic libraries will want Hoadley. Jonathan Hershey, Akron-Summit Cty. P.L., OH Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Description In this essential reference for woodworkers, R. Bruce Hoadley explains everything from how trees grow to how best to cut, season, machine, join, bend, and finish wood. Why do miters open and glue joints loosen? How do you get a really sharp edge? Examples of problems and solutions help woodworkers puzzle through their own projects, while 325 full-color photos and helpful tables illustrate key points. Updated information on composite materials, adhesives, and finishes included.

Essential material for beginners and experts: This book takes you from qualitative to quantitative understanding by means of accurate, readable explanations and a minimum of fuss. For instance, after explaining why a house settles, Hoadley shows us clearly how to estimate how much it will settle and what a knowledgeable builder could do about it. Or take this simple woodworking situation: you are building a towel rack from two side pieces of white pine drilled to accept a maple dowel. Exactly how much wider should the hole be than the dowel so that expansion and contraction due to moisture changes in the bathroom won't split the sides? A little time spent with this book will give you the ability to answer questions like these, quickly, exactly, and with authority. No more guessing about the effects of moisture, temperature, finish, and loads on wood: just look up the data in the clear and handy tables and graphs Hoadley provides and do the simple calculations (it's multiplication and division, folks, with nothing harder than an occasional exponent). Almost every chapter contains revelations for the newcomer to woodworking. Early on we learn not only that wood changes size with moisture, but by how much (according to species), in which directions, how this affects its shape, and what are the common and best techniques to compensate for or design for these changes when building anything with wood. Later we learn how to relate these moisture changes to humidity--there's a clear and handy chart, as well as an easily memorized rule of thumb--and how to build and calibrate a simple shop hygrometer. In another chapter Hoadley applies this information to a discussion culminating in valuable information on sanding and finishing wood. The many applications to an understanding of all things wooden make this book stand out for the casual reader, while the detailed, systematic explanations of the whys and hows make it ongoingly useful for anyone who crafts quality things from wood. It is the ideal supplement to an entire library on the how-to's of woodworking, because with the information given here, you will be equipped to make intelligent choices of how to select, cut, assemble, and finish a project of any size and complexity. The only nit I have to pick has to do with the presentation of mathematical formulas: it's miserable. For instance, in one place the expression "D/O" stands for a single quantity rather than a value "D" divided by a value "O". Potentially confusing, yes; but what compensates for it is the clear descriptions and examples in the text: these are so good, you can totally ignore the formulas and not miss a thing. Overall, Hoadley's long, thoughtful experience with all aspects of wood, from the engineering through the creative, shine through consistently. That's why I give this one five stars and I'm buying more copies for friends.


Revised, but not so new: This second edition is "completely revised and updated". This does not go for the text: of the text of the first edition better than 99% is present here, only minutely altered. A six-page new chapter (#16) on Engineered Wood has been added. The chapters on panels and boards are somewhat revised as is the chapter on Finding Wood. In the other chapters text has been swapped around, but has not been changed. The "revision" is mostly in the layout and pictures. The line drawings are substantially unaltered, but of the photographs most were replaced by color photographs of a generally very good quality. As a wood anatomist my attention was drawn to the chapter on identifying wood. Since this subject is covered in much more dept in "Identifying_Wood" (same author, same publisher) there were two ways to go, either 1) eliminate the overlap by replacing this with a presentation of woods by pictures of longitudinal grain (as in "The_Good_Wood_Handbook") which would have been user-friendly and would have had my preference or 2) upgrade this book to the level of its companion. The latter strategy has been chosen and the black&white end grain pictures of the 1st edition have been replaced by pictures found in "Identifying_Wood". These are reproduced here at a higher magnification, allowing more detail to be seen. The selection of woods has been altered, with more tropical woods included. Summing up: although this is a lot more attractive book than the first edition it is only worth replacing that first edition if the book is to be used frequently (for example as a teaching aid). For those who think this is a fairly expensive book I can recommend "The_Good_Wood_Handbook" by Jackson & Day which although much more modest in every respect is good value-for-money, and is a more accessible book.

New Edition combines the best of several Undergraduate txt: As a professional Wood Scientist, I wholeheartedly recomment this updated book for wood identification of softwoods, domestic and exotic hardwoods(colored side by side photos), basic engineering princilpes, utilization, and general wood principles. For my oral exam in graduate school, I was advised to memorize this book and neglect all others. The advice was good!

The theory of woodworking: I can honestly say that this book is for everyone who works with wood, from the occasional home whittler or handyman to the professional creating engineered lumber. It covers every aspect of the material, starting with the way a tree's growing environment affects the lumber product. Hoadley gives a variety of different points used in identifying the wood's species. He then discusses the effects of cutting green wood in different ways, drying it (how-to, how long, when it's done, etc), and machining it. Hoadley doesn't discuss woodworking machines per se, but gives a lot of attention to the interaction of blade and material. He shows the details of how cutting tools affect the visible surface of the wood, and the problems that can come from poor edges, blade angles, pressure, and other factors. He also discusses joining pieces of wood, gluing them, and finishing them. There is so much here that it's omissions are more noteworthy. It discusses glue joints, but says very little about specific adhesives. That's fair - there are so many, for so many purposes, that the topic deserves an encyclopedia of its own. Also, the adhesives and bonding techniques used commercially are very different from the ones available to home woodworkers or small shops. Any detailed discussion of adhesives would have missed someone's needs. Ditto finishes - the topic is mentioned only briefly. Hoadley's most surprising advice about finishes is the idea of skipping them altogether. He's passionate about the wood itself, and a "least is best" approach shows the material to its best advantage. With it's profuse and beautiful illustrations, this could be a coffee table book. The information around the pictures is the book's real strength. I find something new in it each time I come back.

This is THE book on WOOD: This is THE authoritative look into wood. I have been searching high and low for a book that covers the theory of wood and how it reacts with moisture. Most books throw in basic wood-working information that I don't need, or some "project" samples. This book only had the good stuff: It gets technical, but at an understandable level. It covers the basic cellular level of the tree, on up to how that effects your cut board. Topics include, cell structure, reaction to moisture, how wood dries, how it reacts to changes in moisture, Moisture Content levels to be expected in different regions in the USA, how to store wood, and on and on... If you're interested in wood and how moisture affects it (and you SHOULD BE!!) than this is THE book.

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