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04/01/2014

The Role of Wood in a Harmonious World

Managing our emotional bond with nature’s most renewable resource

By Kenn Busch

 

Nothing else has the depth, warmth, or beauty of real wood. Responsible use will ensure that this resource is available for future generations.

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Without wood, we wouldn’t be here.

At every stage of societal evolution, wood has been essential to our progress. Fire, tools, shelter, traversing the seas, taking flight, even making music—wood has been instrumental in every one of these monumental leaps forward in human history. The symbiosis between wood and mankind is remarkable, even without factoring in the air we breathe.

With all the technological progress we’ve made and all the alternatives we’ve created, we have yet to find a way to improve on wood. It is still our most beautiful building material, and certainly the most adaptable and easiest to work with. Our finest furniture, our most stunning interiors, and even our most treasured musical instruments are still made of wood.

Being organic, wood is inherently unique, varying in character and color even within the same species, depending on the climate and the soil in which the trees grow.

Over the centuries, man has found ways to tame wood’s natural character, effectively domesticating this wild resource to yield a certain level of visual consistency, as well as high levels of performance predictability. In the end, though, you can take the wood out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the wood.

And that’s exactly why we love it—but we must be careful not to love it too much.

nothing else is wood
If you’re specifying wood for interiors or furniture, “the wood look” probably tops your list of selection criteria. Nothing else has the richness, character, warmth, or depth of a wall made with finely finished cherry, or a conference table of clear mahogany.

Learning Objectives

Interiors & Sources’ Continuing Education Series articles allow design practitioners to earn continuing education unit credits through the pages of the magazine. Use the following learning objectives to focus your study while reading this issue’s article. To receive one hour of continuing education credit (pending CEU approval), read the article, click here and follow the instructions.

After reading this article, you should be able to:

  • Discuss the benefits of specifying from vertically integrated wood products suppliers
  • Explain the different types of plywood cores and their characteristics
  • Understand how the different methods of slicing logs into veneer affects the character of the woodgrain
  • Identify the different styles of laid-up veneers
There’s a reason that over 90 percent of all laminate designs imitate wood, as does much of the luxury vinyl flooring on the market, and even a growing volume of ceramic tile products: wood is part of our history and our heritage, the living soul of our natural and built environments.

The most practical and responsible way to use fine woods in your projects is to specify hardwood plywood decorative panels. Offering the best of both worlds, hardwood plywood is a value-engineered alternative to solid wood that provides maximum yield by using surface-quality logs as veneers on veneer-core and composite substrates that utilize wood fiber that would otherwise be landfilled or burned.

Hardwood plywood products on the market today offer a range of environmental certifications and LEED benefits, depending on where the trees were grown and how they were harvested, processed, and converted to furniture or value-added panels.

As you will see below, selecting the best hardwood plywood for your project requires not only an understanding of the materials themselves, but a high level of comfort with your sources of supply.


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