Written By Karl VonBerg.

Posted on July 31st, 2020.

Tagged with Wood Products.

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When you think about wood products, is this what comes to mind? Check out what wood can do.

When you think about how we use wood, what comes to mind? Sure, there are all the common things we think of like:

  • Using wood to frame a home, make flooring and trim out a house.


    Stacks of lumber in a lumber yard.

  • Using wood to make furniture: For example, everything from top-of-the-line furniture using expensive hardwoods to very cheap particle board furniture.
  • Using wood to heat homes and buildings.
  • Using wood to make toilet paper, copy paper, glossy magazine paper, cardboard boxes etc.

    What does ice cream have to do with wood? Read on to find out.

So, what else can wood do? …

Think hard …

Really, we are just getting started. Let’s look at some things you might never think of that come from wood or that wood can do:

  • Lumber produced from wood can store carbon, potentially helping to slow earth’s warming.
  • Wood in the form of cross laminated panels (plywood on steriods) can build high-rise structures. One of the tallest to date is 18 stories.
  • Wood cellulose is used in some foods. Like the ice cream pictured above!

    This t-shirt is made from a wood product. Image by VersionFrancaise from Pixabay.

  • Clothing, textiles, candy wrappers, cat litter, tape, essential oils, chemicals, cooling, electricity, “plastic” bags, seals and gaskets, snowshoes, Corian countertops 
  • Anti-tumor, anti-ulcer, anti-oxidant, treatment of malaria and medicines that are used to inhibit HIV replication all are made of extractives from trees.

These are ways we have used wood for decades. But every year we are discovering more things that wood can do for us, like:

  • Making biofuels to power planes, trucks and cars.
  • Creating insulation.
  • Clothing without the use of harsh chemicals.
  • Making cellulose nanofibers that increase the strength of cement. Material made from these nanofibers (one billionth of a foot) are 4 times stronger than steel.
  • Making cellulose nanocrystals that have a wide range of applications, such as absorbents, high-tech insulation and sound boards, 3-D printing, electronics, flexible LCD monitors, shampoos, foams, paints, glues and nearly endless ways to replace plastic.

    Imagine looking through a window made of a wood product? Photo by Hamish Duncan on Unsplash.

  • Making opaque objects to allow light into a room while insulating.

The list goes on.

Wood can do ALL of the above, plus it is renewable (You cut trees to get the above products and new trees can take their place, grow, and do all of the above again!) Stay tuned for a future blog about what trees can do for us while they grow.

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