|Synonyms:||timber (unprocessed), lumber (boards etc.);|
DE: Holz, Massivholz
|On Site?||a few scraps of varying kinds & sizes|
|Suggested Tools:||saws, router, wood drill bits, laser cutter,|
CNC router, pyrography burner, planes,
rasps, files, sanders, sandpaper, ...
|Contains:||mainly cellulose and lignin|
|Similar (More or Less):||engineered woods|
Much like "plastic" and "metal", "wood" is a pretty broad term encompassing numerous different materials. Although they share many characteristics and can generally be shaped with the same tools, features like stability, grain and surface finish vary greatly between different kinds of wood.
Besides natural woods from different tree species that this page focuses on, there are engineered woods (DE: Holzwerkstoffe) with artificially enhanced advantages. Veneers can give such engineered woods the surface look of massive wood at first glance, and cut faces can be made more attractive by gluing on edge banding.
- 1 Structure
- 2 Varieties
- 3 Marking
- 4 Shaping
- 5 Gluing
- 6 Finishing
- 7 Sourcing
- 8 Further Reading
Wood is an anisotropic material, i.e. its structure changes throughout a piece and with different directions. The reason for that is the grain (DE: Maserung), caused by the (more or less) parallel orientation of fibers in a growing tree.
There are also changes in density with growth rings (in non-tropical wood - denser wood being produced late in the year) and very dense knots where a branch used to sit.
"Reading" wood grain is an important skill to practice in the wood workshop, whether simply recognizing end grain that is bad for gluing and screwing or [analyzing the less obvious orientation of side grain for cutting operations.
The list of woody plant species goes on for a while - here we collect some that have been used for woodworking in our community.
Wood is often separated into softwoods and hardwoods.
Wood from broad-leaved trees (DE: Laubbäume) - harder due to (more or less) slower growth, therefore also more expensive than softwoods. Fast-growing trees like willows, poplars or birches produce much softer "hardwood" than others.
- beech (DE: Buche)
- commonly used in furniture and as a fuel (for smoking or as charcoal)
- oak (DE: Eiche)
- glued laminated posts are available in stores as Regalstollen
- Lukas is currently experimenting with drying and processing timber of various species
Wood from coniferous trees (DE: Nadelbäume) - fast growth, therefore commonly available at low prices with the downside of reduced strength and a much coarser grain. Again, not all softwoods are equally soft!
- spruce (DE: Fichte) or fir (DE: Tanne) - often undistinguished and labeled "FI/TA" at the store
- common construction beams
Most woods are also easily scratched by a pricking awl or finer cutting tools such as marking knives: marking with a little cut (Anreißen) is the most precise it can get! DE video An additional advantage of this is the extra guidance you get for the hand saw or chisel you are going to use.
As wood is fibrous, ripping it apart with the teeth of a blade can cause unsightly tearout/chipout/Ausriss. The splinters will always occur on the side where your blade exits the workpiece. There are a few precautions you can take against this effect though:
- zero clearance boards
- adhesive tape along the cut line
- please let us know which ones work well!
- working from the proper side of your workpiece in case the other one won't be seen anyway
Holes and Recesses
"Breaking" sharp edges by cutting a chamfer (Fase) can have a great aesthetic effect and may improve your product's handling.
Wood can be forced into a curved shape under exposure to heat and moisture (steam!), but this is something we do not have experimented with so far. Especially beech and birch are suitable for bending. 
Thin strips of wood are pretty flexible along their grain direction and can be brought into many interesting shapes like spirals or the belly of a boat if you glue them together in the desired position - you'll basically end up with custom plywood!
Common grit sizes for sanding wood are 80, 120, 150 and 220. Check out this sanding basics video tutorial.
You may want to consider raising the grain before the last sanding pass if you are going to apply a water-based stain in the end.
Very fine sandpaper grits and special polishing pads can make wood extremely smooth.
Some woodworkers don't use sandpaper at all but produce silky smooth surfaces with nothing but hand planes!
To preserve or refresh the shine of a polished piece of wood, oil or wax can be rubbed into the surface. We do not have a lot of experience with these finishes yet.
Intense burning can also be used to shape wood or seal its surface against harmful environment conditions.
- local hardware stores:
- Bauhaus in the city (limited selection) or Eppelheimer Straße (bigger)
- Obi in HD-Rohrbach Süd
- Hornbach in HD-Wieblingen
- regional specialized stores:
- also see HolzWerken magazine's "Holzhändlerliste" for non-commercial buyers!
- Stadler Holzhandels GmbH in HD-Rohrbach Süd
- Holz & Stein GaLa-Bau in Eppelheim (ca. 5 km)
- Holz Oberfeld in Leimen (not sure if they sell raw wood)
- Sägewerk Müller in Gaiberg (ca. 9 km)
- Holz Adrian in Schwetzingen (ca. 14 km)
- Gschwander Holzhandel in Heddesheim (ca. 16 km, towards Weinheim)
- Bellemann KG in Wiesloch (ca. 17 km)
- Baumann Holzhandel in Mannheim (ca. 22 km)
- Holz Mayer in Neckarbischofsheim (> 40 km) - Lars has a friend who can recommend it
- any carpenter shop (might be expensive)
Paint and Chemicals for Wood
- hardware stores (see above)
- Baufix in HD-Rohrbach Süd