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Essential Reading


The following books provide in depth coverage of all aspects of wood, timber and timber engineering.  Descriptions below are either those of the publisher or third parties.


Handbook of Hardwoods.  HMSO.  ISBN 0-11-470541-0. (Out of print)
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All you need to know about hardwood species of the world.
A Handbook of Softwoods.  HMSO.  ISBN 0-11-470553-4. (Out of Print)
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All you need to know about hardwood species of the world.
Plywood.  A Material Story.  V&A Publishing.  ISBN 978-0-500-51940-0.  Christopher Wilk.
Published to accompany the very successful V&A exhibition on plywood, this book develops the history of plywood.

‘Designing with Natural Materials’ Eds Ormondroyd, G.A. & Morris, A.F.

In a world now forced to address the issues of sustainability, environmental impact, and the widespread pollution of land and oceans with manmade materials, alternative resources must be considered for the future of the planet. A vast array of natural materials is available throughout the world with properties that are often superior to the man-made alternatives. 

Designing with Natural Materials fills the gap between the current scientific knowledge of the use of natural materials and product design and acts as a bridge between the two disciplines.

The book serves as an introduction to natural materials within the context of design. The chapters include case studies, research, and a historical perspective. It develops ideas of designing with natural materials in specific areas and looks to the future of new biobased materials and how these will influence design. The work offers insight to designers of biobased materials across a range of different design disciplines while also providing insights to scientists on the process of design, production, and the needs of a material beyond those traditionally analyzed in the laboratory. The final chapters touch on the use of bioinspiration and biomimicry in the development and use of biobased materials and how natural design will influence both material design and products in the future.


Structural Timber Design to Eurocode 5, Jack Porteous and Abdy Kermani, Pub. Wiley, 2013, ISBN 978-0-470-67500-7, 638 pages, available as paperback from Wiley and TRADA:
Structural Timber Design to Eurocode 5 provides practising engineers and specialist contractors with comprehensive, detailed information and in-depth guidance on the design of timber structures based on the common rules and rules for buildings in Eurocode 5 -- Part 1-1. It will also be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students of civil and structural engineering. It provides a step-by-step approach to the design of all of the commonly used timber elements and connections using solid timber, glued laminated timber or wood based structural products, and incorporates the requirements of the UK National Annex.

Mechanics of Wood and Wood Composites, Jozsef Bodig, Benjamin A. Jayne, Krieger Publishing Company, 1993, ISBN: 9780894647772, 712 pages, out of print but can be found second hand or accessed from libraries.
This book combines mechanics of materials with the anatomical and physical characteristics of wood. It emphasizes topics of orthotropic elasticity; dynamic behaviour, visco-elastic characteristics, failure mechanisms, laminated wood, factors affecting the mechanical properties and methods of deriving design stresses.


Timber: Its Nature and Behaviour, 2nd Edition, J.M. Dinwoodie OBE, CRC Press, 2000, 272 pages, ISBN 9780419255505
Timber: Its Nature and Behaviour adopts a materials science approach to timber and comprehensively examines the relationship between the performance of timber and its structure. This book explains timber's physical and mechanical behaviour (including processing) in terms of its basic structure and its complex interaction with moisture. The performance of timber and panel products is also related to the levels set in new European specifications and with the associated methods of testing.


The Encyclopedia of Wood, US Department of Agriculture, Skyhorse Publishing, 2007, 496 pages, ISBN: 9781602390577
Timber is one of our most precious, versatile, and vulnerable resources, so using it effectively is important. Knowing your material inside and out is the first step to doing just that. Read about the structure of wood itself, from growth rings to its chemical composition. Learn wood's physical and mechanical properties, including everything from elasticity to nuclear radiation. This extensive manual includes a section on stress grading as well as thorough descriptions of which fasteners to use and when. It has information on adhesive bonding, biodeterioration, control of moisture content, preservation, fire safety, specialty treatments, and much more. The Encyclopedia of Wood is an essential resource for builders, architects, engineers, and woodworkers.


Wood in Construction: how to avoid costly mistakes, Jim Coulson, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, 220 pages, ISBN 9780470657775
Wood in construction – how to avoid costly mistakes focuses on the basic principles and appropriate use of wood in construction and illustrates how to avoid or minimise problems, to ensure that wood performs as expected when used in a construction application. Based on the author’s extensive experience of manufacturing processes and practical applications in the timber, construction, joinery, shop-fitting and furniture industries, Wood in Construction provides a guide to using wood in building in the real world. It describes the main causes of difficulty when using wood, and shows how to avoid or minimise problems, reducing the difficulties for the architect, engineer or specifier, builder and building owner.
Technical enough to explain why things should be done in specific ways, but also practical enough to demonstrate how to use wood correctly and avoid doing the wrong things, this is an invaluable resource for construction specifiers (architects, engineers), carpenters, structural engineers, building surveyors, small/medium sized builders


Wood Composites, Ed. Martin Ansell, Woodhead Elsevier, 2015, 444 pages, eBook ISBN: 9781782424772, Hardcover ISBN: 9781782424543.
Recent progress in enhancing and refining the performance and properties of wood composites by chemical and thermal modification and the application of smart multi-functional coatings have made them a particular area of interest for researchers. Wood Composites comprehensively reviews the whole field of wood composites, with particular focus on their materials, applications and engineering and scientific advances, including solutions inspired biomimetrically by the structure of wood and wood composites.
Part One covers the materials used for wood composites and examines wood microstructure, and wood processing and adhesives for wood composites. Part Two explores the many applications of wood composites, for example plywood, fibreboard, chipboard, glulam, cross-laminated timber, I-beams and wood-polymer composites. The final part investigates advances in wood composites and looks at the preservation and modification of wood composites, environmental impacts and legislative obligations, nano-coatings and plasma treatment, biomimetic composite materials, the integration of wood composites with other materials and carbonized and mineralized wood composites.


Wood Modification: Chemical, Thermal and Other Processes, Callum AS Hill, Wiley, 2006, 260 pages, ISBN 9780470021729
This book is exclusively concerned with wood modification, although many of these processes are generic and can be applied to other lignocellulosic materials. There have been many rapid developments in wood modification over the past decade and, in particular, there has been considerable progress made in the commercialisation of technologies. Topics covered include:
The use of timber in the 21st century, modifying the properties of wood, chemical modification of wood: acetic anhydride modification and reaction with other chemicals, thermal modification of wood, surface modification, impregnation modification, commercialisation of wood modification and environmental consideration and future developments.


Timber Designers' Manual, EC Ozelton and J.A Baird, Wiley-Blackwell, 3rd edition, 2002, 556 pages, ISBN 9780632039784.
This major reference manual covers both overall and detail design of structural timber, including aspects such as shear deflection, creep, dynamic and lateral stability considerations for flexural members. It has been substantially revised to take account of changes since the last edition, nearly 20 years ago, and to include the latest revision of British Standard BS 5268–2 : 2002, which has brought design concepts closer to European practice and Eurocode 5.
Timber Specifiers' Guide - understanding and specifying softwoods in building.  1990.  Jack A Baird.  BSP Professional Books.  ISBN 0-632-02679-0
Detailed information to guide those in specifying softwoods for building


Three-dimensional structure of wood - a scanning electron microscope study, Meylan, BA, Butterfield, Bryan G, Springer, 1972, 80 pages, ISBN 9781504121378
An early but excellent study of wood microstructure using scanning electron microscopy.


Acoustics of wood, V Bucur, Springer, 2006, 455 pages, ISBN 978-3-540-30594-1
From the reviews of the 1st edition: "It will surely remain the most comprehensive work in this field for a long time to come. It belongs on the bookshelf of every material scientist and structural engineer. CAS Journal, USA. The author has done an admirable job, collecting, organizing, and reviewing the disparate literature on most aspects of the Acoustics of Wood." Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, USA.


The Wood Handbook - an illustrated guide to 100 decorative real woods and their uses, Nick Gibbs, 2012, 256 pages, ISBN 9781845434632
The Wood Handbook is aimed at anyone working with wood. Woodworkers, crafters, and interior designers will open this book to learn more about the wood they regularly use or to discover species they hadn’t previously considered. Find out how trees are converted into boards and veneer, how some of the remarkable natural effects occur and which wood can be bought from sustainable sources. Packed with advice on buying and storing timber, this authoritative guide features photographs of each wood in detail and to scale, enabling the true beauty of the grain to shine through.
Timber in Construction.  TRADA.  ISBN 0-7134-5053-3  (Or shop on-line)
First published in 1985 by John Sunley and Barbara Bedding, with contributions from the experts of the time, it is a useful reference about the use of timber in building.


Timber Frame Construction 5th Edition, Robin Lancashire and Lewis Taylor, TRADA Technology Ltd., 2011, 264 pages, ISBN 9781900510820.
Timber frame construction, the acknowledged ‘bible’ for timber frame, has been in demand consistently since its first edition in 1988. This 5th edition responds to further increases in thermal standards, evolving alternative methods of timber frame construction and the industry’s migration from BS 5268 (now withdrawn) to Eurocode 5. Nearly all the illustrations have been revised.


Timber Engineering STEP Vol 1, Pub. Centrum Hout, 1995, ISBN 9056450018, 588 pages, available as pdf from TRADA:
This publication is a major output from the Structural Timber Education Programme work initiated by Eurofortech and supported by the Commission of the European Communities under the Comett programme. It represents a commendable effort by 50 people from 14 European countries to make Eurocode 5 operational and accepted by the users.
55 chapters covering: basis of design and material properties, long term behaviour and serviceability, structural components, bracing and load sharing, joints.
Note that this publication was published in 1995 and reflects Eurocode 5 at that time. Volume 1 is now out of print and this edition is a scanned PDF version of limited print quality.


Timber Engineering STEP Vol 2, Pub. Centrum Hout, 1995, ISBN 9056450026, 410 pages, out of print but can be found second hand or accessed from libraries.
The second volume of the STEP book series completes both the Eurofortech STEP programme and the production of a unique education and training package for the structural use of timber. Based on the first volume, Timber Engineering - STEP 2 covers in two sections and 39 chapters the design of details and structural components.


Sustainable Use of Wood in Construction, Jim Coulson, Wiley-Blackwell - ISBN 978-1-118-53966-8.
This explains Legality, Sustainability, Chain of Custody, Certification, the Timber Trade Federation's Responsible Purchasing Policy, FLEGT - and much more. It also gives many commonly-available timbers in the UK and Europe (including from tropical sources) with their legal/sustainable credentials; as well as those species prohibited under CITES. And finally, it gives some very basic "basics" of specifying wood correctly.
The Insect Factor in Wood Decay  by Hickin. Published originally by Rentokil.
Copies can be found quite easily on Abe Books. For anybody interested in wood boring insects, this is the best book that has ever been published.
Failure analysis of wood and wood based products by Dirk Lukowsky.   ISBN 978-0-07-183937-2
This unique book shows you how to investigate problems with wood and wood based products in service using quite inexpensive but very powerful techniques.
Discovering timber frames buildings by Richard Harris.   ISBN 0-7478-0215-7
Richard was formerly director of the Weald and Downland Museum. This little book gives a great introduction to our wooden building heritage.  
Wood deterioration, protection and maintenance by Ladislav Reinprecht.  ISBN  978-1-119-10653-1
This book was developed out of a European project to create teaching materials for wood education in Europe in the English language. The book could be criticised for inaccuracies, but this is because things in this industry change so quickly that some things quickly become out of date. Nevertheless, this is a very good introduction to the whole topic. 
Timber - its structure and behaviour by J.M. Dinwoodie and W.H.Brown.     ISBN 0442-30445-3
This is a classic, albeit short and authoritative text by two of the greats. 
The conversion and seasoning of wood.   W.H.Brown.    ISBN 0-85442-037-1  
A great book introducing this subject.
External Timber Cladding:  Design. Installation and Performance.  Ivor Davies and John Wood.  ISBN 978-1-904320-08-1
The result of extensive research, testing and detail development, provides the user for the first time with evidence-based information on how to respond to the contradictory demands of moisture control and fire, the two biggest issues affecting the use of timber on building facades.


Above Links are for guidance purposes only - others may be available.

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