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USFS Wood Handbook *PIC*
In Response To: Material: Wood ()

You should try engineering with wood. Due to its inherit randomness as a natural material, you need to make a huge number of assumptions for even a basic beam. Steel and concrete design are child's play in comparison.

The US Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory writes the bible on the subject: "Wood Handbook, Wood as an Engineering Material." It's available as 509 page hardcopy. The PDF is free to download. The current version dates to 2010. It is a great resource for anyone who works with wood, even casual builders. It helps answer a majority of the questions that Rob posted at the start of the thread.

Here's the direct link to the full PDF.

Here's the book's main page with links to the 20 separate chapters.

Here's a few of them:
Chapter 02: Characteristics and Availability of Commercially Important Woods
Chapter 03: Structure and Function of Wood
Chapter 04: Moisture Relations and Physical Properties of Wood
Chapter 06: Commercial Lumber, Round Timbers, and Ties (explains how lumber is graded)
Chapter 05: Mechanical Properties of Wood (multiple tables with specific gravity and stress values for virtually any species of commercially available wood)
Chapter 07: Stress Grades and Design Properties for Lumber, Round Timber, and Ties
Chapter 10: Adhesives with Wood Materials- Bond Formation and Performance
Chapter 12: Mechanical Properties of Wood-Based Composite Materials
Chapter 17: Use of Wood in Buildings and Bridges (here's the really fun stuff)

Here's a table of mechanical properties from the previous edition: