After trees are cut down and taken to the saw mill for processing, the wood needs to be “seasoned.” To season means to “take out the moisture” of the wood, otherwise the wood is “green.” To do this, the ends are sealed and left to air dry for approximately 12-18 months or kiln dried in an insulated chamber that dry for 30 days to 3 months.
v GREEN wood is 65% dry, 35% moisture
v Air Dry is 14% moisture, 86% dry
v Kiln Dry is 6 ½% moisture, 93 ½% dry
There are “soft” woods have a high SAP content and can heal themselves when there are nicks of nails are hammered into them. Soft woods are perfect for theater floors, movie sets or any other surface that requires a lot of moving. Hard wood are what we normally think of in construction due to their durability.
Now, in furniture construction (and cabinetry) there is a high usage of particle board and MDF (manufactured high-density fiber board). Particle Board is made of wood chips that are waste from wood processing. MDF is wood fibers and therefore more durable than particle board. These chips and fibers are held together with adhesives and bonded to make boards. These boards are then used to make furniture and cabinets.
The rep giving the talk stated that MDF and particle board were “environmentally friendly” and could be used in GREEN projects. They CANNOT. MDF and particle board is highly toxic-especially in the construction process. When cutting into the above products you must wear a respirator so as not to breathe in the chemicals being emitted from the adhesives. Anyone with environmental or chemical sensitivities (allergies, prone to headaches, upper respiratory issues) should be wary of using any product in their space made of these products due to the adhesives and chemicals. Look for products made of wood. MDF and particle board are “eco-friendly” only in the fact that they are made of wood waste.
Wood is a highly versatile product that we use in all phases of the construction and design process.