Wood – A Guide to Characteristics of Commercially Important Woods

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Throughout history, the unique characteristics, versatility, sustainability, and abundance of wood has made it a natural material for use in homebuilding, as structural members, furniture, tools, etc. To most effectively use wood to its optimal advantage in engineering applications, specific characteristics or physical properties must be considered.

This course introduces the student to the specific characteristics and physical properties of commercially viable wood material available in the US and abroad. This course is based on the USDA. Forestry Service publication “Characteristics and Availability of Commercially Important Woods”. This course provides an overview and brief descriptions of many species of important wood. Current and, in many cases, historic uses of woods are cited to illustrate the utility of the wood. 

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end and is intended to provide 4 hours of professional development.


At the conclusion of this course, the student will have learned about or been exposed to the following:

  • Timber Resources and Uses
  • Hardwoods and Softwoods
  • Commercial Sources of Wood Products
  • Use Classes and Trends
  • Species Descriptions
  • Hardwoods
  • Softwoods
  • Imported Hardwoods
  • Imported Softwoods
  • US Wood Species _ Hardwoods
  • US Wood Species – Softwoods
  • Imported Species – Hardwoods
  • Imported Species – Softwoods

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