- Sep 17, 2008
Not in western Canada. A bit still comes from old-growth forests, most now from forests that were burned a century or two ago. All-natural wood, no plantation stuff. Not fast-growth, so the rings are tighter. But so much of it is small trees, maybe only five or six inches in diameter, and they're run through a machine that, in one pass, makes a couple of 2 X 4s from it, hence the bark on two corners sometimes. The waste is chips for the pulp mills. Lumber like that has its grain in a tight radius; try making anything useful from it, especially with all the knots along its entire length.Yes, most lumber found in lumber yards is fast growth intended for general framing.
A stack of 2 x 4s. Look at that mess of grains. Very few with any edge grain, almost none with the requisite 8 grains per inch. Small-radius curved grain, indicating that the source is small trees. Knots in evidence, plenty of checking as well. Too much heartwood. If we pulled out the nicest piece, what would the faces look like? Knots? Yup. sloped grain, outside the max slope of one in 15? Yup. I wouldn't get into any airplane built with any of this stuff, any more than I would get into an airplane built with 5052 aluminum instead of the specified 2024 and 6061. Or a tube-and rag airplane built with electrical conduit instead of 4130 tube.
"Natural-growth wood" reminds me of a funny story. A gas station operator in BC had bundles of firewood for sale at his station. All split ready for the campfire, with some kindling bundled with it. It sold to the tourists for $7.95 per bundle. When he went to the supermarket to get groceries, he saw all this "organic" food, grown without chemicals. All-natural. Much more expensive than the fertilized and pesticized stuff. So he went back to his station and made a separate pile of firewood bundles, labelled them as organic firewood, since it all had come from natural-growth forests anyway, and asked $11.95 per bundle for it. Couldn't keep up with the sales on it, with uninformed city people eagerly buying it up for their "natural" campfires.