Name Butternut
Location Northeastern North America
Texture/Grain Medium/Open
Specific Gravity 0.38
Hardness Very Soft
Strength Weak
T/R Stability 6.4/3.4%




Wood &


Sawing &
Preparing Lumber

Hardwoods &

Plywood &

Sheet Materials

& Laminates


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he Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, WI is an institution of 200+ research scientists all focused on what you can do with wood and wood fibers. It was a unique research agency when it was founded in 1910, and remains so today. Over it's long history, it has published thousands of valuable studies on wood, plywood, sheet materials, wood products, adhesives, glues, fasteners, finishes, and all things to do with wood. However, the Wood Handbook is arguably the FPL's most useful and important contribution to woodworking. It's become an indispensable reference work for millions of woodworkers world-wide.
Part of the campus of the Forest Product Laboratories at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. The FPL is part of the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture.

The cover of the Wood Handbook. If you'd like to purchase a paper copy, click HERE.

As important as it is, not all parts of the Wood Handbook are useful to all woodworkers. Depending on your interests, you may find yourself referring to some parts of it more often than others. For that reason, we've broken it down into chapters so that you can access or download just those parts that interest you. However, if you'd like to refer to the entire work, click HERE.

The files are in PDF format, so you must have Acrobat Reader™ or some other PDF reader installed to view them. If you just want to view the information,  click on the links. To download these files, right-click on the links and choose "Save Target As" from the menu that appears.

If you're viewing this page in IE (Internet Explorer), the Wood Handbook Table of Contents is expandable. If there is an arrow () in front of a chapter title, this indicates that there are subtitles for chapter sections. Click on the arrow, and the contents will expand, revealing the hidden subtitles. Click on the arrow again and contents will collapse. Viewers using Firefox, Safari, and other browsers may not have this convenience.

Click on the arrows () to expand the table.

bullet Front Matter
bullet Chapter 1: Characteristics and Availability of Commercially Important Wood
bullet Timber Resources and Uses
bullet Species Descriptions
bullet U.S. Wood Species
bullet Imported Woods
bullet Chapter 2: Structure of Wood
bullet Bark, Wood, Branches, and Cambium
bullet Sapwood and Heartwood
bullet Growth Rings
bullet Wood Cells
bullet Chemical Composition
bullet Species Identification
bullet Chapter 3: Physical Properties and Moisture Relations of Wood
bullet Appearance
bullet Moisture Content
bullet Shrinkage
bullet Weight, Density, and Specific Gravity
bullet Working Qualities
bullet Decay Resistance
bullet Thermal Properties
bullet Electrical Properties
bullet Coefficient of Friction
bullet Nuclear Radiation
bullet Chapter 4: Mechanical Properties of Wood
bullet Orthotropic Nature of Wood
bullet Elastic Properties
bullet Strength Properties
bullet Vibration Properties
bullet Mechanical Properties of Clear Straight-Grained Wood
bullet Natural Characteristics Affecting Mechanical Properties
bullet Effects of Manufacturing and Service Environments
bullet Chapter 5: Commercial Lumber
bullet Hardwood Lumber
bullet Softwood Lumber
bullet Purchase of Lumber
bullet Commonly Used Lumber Abbreviations
bullet Chapter 6: Lumber Stress Grades and Design Properties
bullet Responsibilities and Standards for Stress Grading
bullet Visually Graded Structural Lumber
bullet Machine-Graded Structural Lumber
bullet Adjustment of Properties for Design Use
bullet Chapter 7: Fastenings
bullet Nails
bullet Spikes
bullet Staples
bullet Drift Bolts
bullet Wood Screws
bullet Lag Screws
bullet Bolts
bullet Connector Joints
bullet Multiple-Fastener Joints
bullet Metal Plate Connectors
bullet Fastener Head Embedment
bullet Chapter 8: Structural Analysis Equations
bullet Deformation Equations
bullet Stress Equations
bullet Stability Equations
bullet Chapter 9: Adhesive Bonding of Wood Materials
bullet Adhesion to Wood
bullet Surface Properties of Wood Adherends
bullet Physical Properties of Wood Adherends
bullet Adhesives
bullet Bonding Process
bullet Bonded Joints
bullet Testing and Performance
bullet Chapter 10: Wood-Based Composites and Panel Products
bullet Scope
bullet Types of Conventional Composite Materials
bullet Adhesive Considerations
bullet Additives
bullet General Manufacturing Issues
bullet Standards for Wood-Based Panels
bullet Plywood
bullet Particle and Fiber Composites
bullet Wood-Nonwood Composites
bullet Chapter 11: Glued Structural Members
bullet Structural Composite Lumber
bullet Glulam
bullet Glued Members With Lumber and Panels
bullet Structural Sandwich Construction
bullet Chapter 12: Drying and Control of Moisture Content and Dimensional Changes
bullet Determination of Moisture Content
bullet Recommended Moisture Content
bullet Drying of Wood
bullet Moisture Control During Transit and Storage
bullet Dimensional Changes in Wood
bullet Design Factors Affecting Dimensional Change
bullet Wood Care and Installation During Construction
bullet Chapter 13: Biodeterioration of Wood
bullet Fungus Damage and Control
bullet Bacteria
bullet Insect Damage and Control
bullet Marine Borer Damage and Control
bullet Chapter 14: Wood Preservation
bullet Wood Preservatives
bullet Preservative Effectiveness
bullet Effect of Species on Penetration
bullet Preparation of Timber for Treatment
bullet Application of Preservatives
bullet Handling and Seasoning of Timber After Treatment
bullet Quality Assurance for Treated Wood
bullet Chapter 15: Finishing of Wood
bullet Factors Affecting Finish Performance
bullet Control of Water or Moisture in Wood
bullet Types of Exterior Wood Finishes
bullet Application of Wood Finishes
bullet Finish Failure or Discoloration
bullet Finishing of Interior Wood
bullet Finishes for Items Used for Food
bullet Wood Cleaners and Brighteners
bullet Paint Strippers
bullet Lead-Based Paint 15-35
bullet Chapter 16: Use of Wood In Building and Bridges
bullet Light-Frame Buildings
bullet Post-Frame and Pole Buildings
bullet Log Buildings
bullet Heavy Timber Buildings
bullet Timber Bridges
bullet Considerations for Wood Buildings
bullet Chapter 17: Fire Safety
bullet Fire Safety Design and Evaluation
bullet Fire Performance Characteristics of Wood
bullet Flame-Retardant Treatments
bullet Chapter 18: Round Timbers and Ties
bullet Standards and Specifications
bullet Material Requirements
bullet Availability
bullet Form
bullet Weight and Volume
bullet Durability
bullet Strength Properties
bullet Chapter 19: Specialty Treatments
bullet Plasticizing Wood
bullet Modified Woods
bullet Paper-Based Plastic Laminates
bullet Glossary
bullet Index
bullet Entire Wood Handbook (463 pages,14 Mb) – Left-click to view; right-click to download.

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 "Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be without wood."
Eric Sloane in Reverence for Wood


Wood and Woodworking Materials/The Wood Handbook,
part of the Workshop Companion, essential information about wood, woodwork, and woodworking
necessary to woodworkers and practitioners of the wood arts
to become competent craftsmen.
By Nick Engler.

Copyright © 2009 Bookworks, Inc..