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Natural & Manufactured Timbers

Timbers are split into three categories: hardwoods, softwoods and manufactured boards.

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  • Hardwoods are found typically in tropical or sub-tropical climates.
  • Hardwood trees are deciduous trees that drop leaves in winter.
  • Hardwoods mainly have large broad leaves, which usually produce a seed or fruit.
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Hardwoods cont.

  • They have a tighter grain and are expensive.
  • They are generally quite tough and hardwearing.
  • Hardwood trees can take up to 100 years to grow fully.
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  • They are found typically in cooler climates.
  • Softwood trees are coniferous trees that usually bear needles and cones.
  • They are frequently called evergreen trees as most keep their needles all year round.
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Softwoods cont.

  • They have a looser grain structure and are inexpensive compared to hardwoods.
  • They are generally quite soft, easy to work with and used as construction material.
  • Softwood trees can take up to 25 years to grow fully.
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Manufactured boards

  • Usually sheets of processed natural timber waste products.
  • Made from waste wood, low-grade timber and recycled timber.
  • Often covered with thin slices of a more expensive wood called a veneer.
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Manufactured boards cont.

  • They have a pale brown appearance with no grain.
  • They are generally quite lightweight, easy to work with and used as construction material.
  • Often made up of several layers mixed with adhesive to increase their strength.

Hardwood Timber

Hardwoods are commonly used in everyday object such as furniture. They could even be used in some of your GCSE projects.

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  • Pale cream in appearance.
  • Flexible, shock resistant and laminates well.
  • Common uses include sport equipment and handles for garden tools.
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  • Pink in appearance with a tight grain.
  • Finishes well and is very durable.
  • Common uses include furniture and children’s toys.
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  • Deep reddish brown in appearance.
  • Finishes well and is very durable.
  • Common uses include high-end furniture.
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  • Light brown in appearance with variable grain.
  • Finishes to a high quality.
  • Tough and durable.
  • Common uses include flooring and furniture.
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  • Pale brown in appearance with open grain.
  • Very lightweight, soft and thin, prone to snapping.
  • Common uses include aircraft and boat model kits.

Softwood Timber

Softwoods are commonly used in everyday projects such as household construction. They could even be used in some of your GCSE projects.

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  • Pale brown with a dark grain.
  • Tough, water resistant, good to work with and machines well.
  • Common uses include furniture, cladding, flooring and joinery.
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  • Pale yellow to brown in appearance.
  • Lightweight, easy to work, can split at times.
  • Common uses include furniture, decking, and interior building material.
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  • Cream in appearance with an even grain.
  • Easy to work with, stiff and lightweight.
  • Common uses include musical instruments and furniture.

Jump to other topics

1Core Technical Principles

2Paper & Board: Specialist Technical Principles

3Timber: Specialist Technical Principles

4Metal: Specialist Technical Principles

5Polymers: Specialist Technical Principles

6Textiles: Specialist Technical Principles

7Designing & Making Principles

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