Wood Handbook -- Wood as an Engineering Material

Information on engineering with wood, properties of wood and designing with wood. September 28, 2002

Note: An updated version of this publication, released in 2010, is available at Wood Handbook, 2010 (PDF, 15 MB)

Forest Products Laboratory. 1999. Wood handbook--Wood as an engineering material. Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL-GTR-113. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 463 p.

Please Note: To download the PDF files listed below, Right click on the respective link. Average PDF file size is over 500K.

Front matter (Preface, Acknowledgments, Contributors) (PDF 292 KB)

Chapter 1: Characteristics and Availability of Commercially Important Wood (PDF 916 KB)
Timber Resources and Uses
Species Descriptions
U.S. Wood Species
Imported Woods

Chapter 2: Structure of Wood (PDF 434 KB)
Bark, Wood, Branches, and Cambium
Sapwood and Heartwood
Growth Rings

Wood Cells
Chemical Composition
Species Identification

Chapter 3: Physical Properties and Moisture Relations of Wood (PDF 495 KB)
Moisture Content
Weight, Density, and Specific Gravity
Working Qualities
Decay Resistance
Thermal Properties
Electrical Properties
Coefficient of Friction
Nuclear Radiation

Chapter 4: Mechanical Properties of Wood (PDF 1.2 MB)
Orthotropic Nature of Wood
Elastic Properties
Strength Properties
Vibration Properties
Mechanical Properties of Clear Straight-Grained Wood
Natural Characteristics Affecting Mechanical Properties
Effects of Manufacturing and Service Environments

Chapter 5: Commercial Lumber (PDF 551 KB)
Hardwood Lumber
Softwood Lumber
Purchase of Lumber
Commonly Used Lumber Abbreviations

Chapter 6: Lumber Stress Grades and Design Properties (PDF 329 KB)
Responsibilities and Standards for Stress Grading
Visually Graded Structural Lumber
Machine-Graded Structural Lumber
Adjustment of Properties for Design Use

Chapter 7: Fastenings (PDF 1.1 MB)

Drift Bolts
Wood Screws
Lag Screws
Connector Joints
Multiple-Fastener Joints
Metal Plate Connectors
Fastener Head Embedment

Chapter 8: Structural Analysis Equations (PDF 320 KB)
Deformation Equations
Stress Equations
Stability Equations

Chapter 9: Adhesive Bonding of Wood Materials (PDF 433 KB)
Adhesion to Wood
Surface Properties of Wood Adherends
Physical Properties of Wood Adherends
Bonding Process
Bonded Joints
Testing and Performance

Chapter 10: Wood-Based Composites and Panel Products (PDF 904 KB)
Types of Conventional Composite Materials
Adhesive Considerations
General Manufacturing Issues
Standards for Wood-Based Panels

Particle and Fiber Composites
Wood-Nonwood Composites

Chapter 11: Glued Structural Members (PDF 975 KB)
Structural Composite Lumber
Glued Members With Lumber and Panels
Structural Sandwich Construction

Chapter 12: Drying and Control of Moisture Content and Dimensional Changes (PDF 1.3 MB)
Determination of Moisture Content
Recommended Moisture Content
Drying of Wood
Moisture Control During Transit and Storage
Dimensional Changes in Wood
Design Factors Affecting Dimensional Change
Wood Care and Installation During Construction

Chapter 13: Biodeterioration of Wood (PDF 599 KB)
Fungus Damage and Control
Insect Damage and Control
Marine Borer Damage and Control

Chapter 14: Wood Preservation (PDF 1.2 MB)
Wood Preservatives
Preservative Effectiveness
Effect of Species on Penetration
Preparation of Timber for Treatment
Application of Preservatives
Handling and Seasoning of Timber After Treatment
Quality Assurance for Treated Wood

Chapter 15: Finishing of Wood (PDF 2.2 MB)
Factors Affecting Finish Performance
Control of Water or Moisture in Wood
Types of Exterior Wood Finishes
Application of Wood Finishes
Finish Failure or Discoloration
Finishing of Interior Wood
Finishes for Items Used for Food
Wood Cleaners and Brighteners
Paint Strippers
Lead-Based Paint 15-35

Chapter 16: Use of Wood In Building and Bridges (PDF 779 KB)
Light-Frame Buildings
Post-Frame and Pole Buildings
Log Buildings
Heavy Timber Buildings
Timber Bridges
Considerations for Wood Buildings

Chapter 17: Fire Safety (PDF 318 KB)
Fire Safety Design and Evaluation
Fire Performance Characteristics of Wood
Flame-Retardant Treatments

Chapter 18: Round Timbers and Ties (PDF 396 KB)
Standards and Specifications
Material Requirements
Weight and Volume
Strength Properties

Chapter 19: Specialty Treatments (PDF 298 KB)
Plasticizing Wood
Modified Woods
Paper-Based Plastic Laminates

Glossary (PDF 178 KB)

Index (PDF 154 KB)

You may order a printed copy of this entire publication from the Forest Products Society.