with wood

Trees are, of themselves, a wondrous thing. For man to build a structure that is a hundred feet plus in height that will stand for centuries….the effort, dear heaven! (the paperwork!). For nature? This is, indeed, the natural course of things.

But consider wood.  We use it daily and daily it frustrates or fascinates us.  This house, we have calculated, changes its length by about 1 to 2 inches over the course of each year.  The plaster, which does not care for such gyrations, is annoyed.  The wooden frame does not care.  It will shrink and it will expand, year in and year out.Best not to fiddle with it.

I was reading with great interest an article discussing the compression rates of wood in ships. The article’s end paragraph suggested that if the boat was hauled out (and therefore dried out) each winter, the best thing to do each spring was to be patient.  Put it in the water, get the pumps running, and wait a few days…then put caulk in it if needed. The wood will swell of its own nature and return to its watertight state. Patience.

But we need consider not only the variable of wood, but of each species! Maple, pine, oak, locust, cedar, lignum vitae, mahogany, spruce, and on the list goes….  And then how it is treated or cut or cured….

Fuel, art, or shelter?  What other material does as well?