In short, timber is unprocessed or minimally processed harvested wood. Timber is processed to create lumber for construction along with other wood products. Timber products are essential for many businesses, but most of us aren’t familiar with timber and its uses.

We have curated this guide to explain timber and its uses. We’ve also highlighted the role of logging companies in timber harvesting.

Timber and Its Properties

Timber is considered a raw material that typically needs to be processed to be of use. It’s harvested by loggers and sold to sawmills or other processors. Generally speaking, the lighter the color of the timber is, the weaker it is. Lighter woods like birch are typically less sturdy than denser woods like oak. This is important because different trees are sold for different uses, which determines their value.  Before we get into the economic drivers, let’s look at the natural properties associated with timber.

Moisture Content: timber is hygroscopic by nature. The more moisture content in timber, the more it is prone to fungal attack.

  • Color
    Color varies primarily by species and is frequently an important factor for buyers making high-end furniture and building materials meant to be left exposed.
  • Hardness
    The hardness of wood is a major factor in how it can be used.  While relatively softer woods are used for products like pressure-treated dimensional lumber, harder woods are used for furniture-making, cabinetry, and veneers.
  • Swelling or shrinkage
    Shrinkage in timber occurs due to drying and cutting. As it loses water content, shrinkage results from volume loss and leads to greater density. Swelling can occur when timber is exposed to excessive moisture and pulls it in.  The higher the quality of the timber, the less swelling will occur under normal circumstances.
  • Density
    Generally speaking, the denser wood is, the higher its quality is considered to be. The more wood is saturated with water, the less dense it is.  This is why drying is often vital to making timber usable.
  • Strength
    Good quality timber has the highest strength; the stronger the timber, the better it can withstand heavy loads.  This is especially important for dimensional lumber used in construction.

Timber As a Material

Timber has several advantages over other materials due to its distinct properties.

  • Timber possesses a high growth rate making it highly renewable, unlike finite resources such as stone or coal. Softwood varieties replenish even faster than hardwoods, making them a great resource for certain industries.
  • Timber is a renewable material that’s grown globally. Its wider availability reduces the need to transport timber and can be used closer to its production site.
  • Timber can store excess carbon and reduces carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Timber doesn’t require a lot of energy for production compared to other materials.
  • Timber is a non-toxic, natural, and safe material that doesn’t emit hazardous vapors when machined or cut.
  • Timber is easy to shape, handle and cut with readily available equipment, which makes it a widely used material.
  • Timber can be easily harvested and managed to assure replenishment and growth.
  • Timber waste and scrap byproducts can be easily repurposed and are entirely biodegradable, so there’s no meaningful waste from harvesting timber.
  • Timber is also aesthetically appealing. It can be coated, stained, and painted for various applications.
  • The same timber raw material can be used for multiple functions, so even if the originally intended use isn’t viable or is saturated, there’s still a market for the material for other applications.
  • Softwood timber is a somewhat less expensive material that can be used in construction and building.
  • Timber also has excellent thermal insulating properties that reduce energy consumption needed for heating and cooling when used for construction.
  • Timber construction is one of the fastest and simplest methods compared to concrete or stone-based construction methods.
  • If dried properly, timber isn’t susceptible to fungal degradation. Furthermore, removing excess water content also reduces its weight to ultimately make it a cheaper and easier material to transport.
  • Timber is a durable material that can withstand the test of time and doesn’t require a lot of upkeep.  You can see this in the many wood buildings still standing today built centuries ago.

Timber wood used in roof construction

Economic Uses of Timber

Given its excellent properties, timber has become a vital part of our local and global economy. Here are the main economic uses of timber.

It’s An Excellent Solid Fuel

Perhaps one of the oldest uses of timber is as fuel. It is used for heating purposes and provides energy for cooking. Wood pellets are used as biomass in heaters or stoves. Though we don’t consider this often, even if timber is used first for another purpose, it can always still be used as fuel.  In fact, 55% of timber is ultimately used as a fuel source.

It Makes Great Furniture

Timber’s natural grain timber hardwood is aesthetically appealing and is a prime choice for many furniture makers and homeowners. hardwood is durable and heavier but slower-growing than softwood. This makes hardwood more expensive than softwood. If you want to sell timber for high-end furniture, go for the species like cherry, oak, and maple.

Construction Material

Timber, processed into dimensional lumber, is also used in the construction of building as

  • Beams
  • Studs
  • Supports
  • Plates
  • Rafters
  • Firebreaks
  • Joists

Timber can also be used with adhesives to create the ubiquitous plywood sheets used in most construction. It can also be processed to create engineered wood products for higher loads. This engineered wood is one of the best substitutes for construction materials such as steel.

Paper Products

Most paper and paper products are produced using timber pulpwood. Paper for newspapers, magazines, books, and printed items such as marketing materials, brochures, and flyers is made from timber or recycled paper. Other paper-related products such as packaging paper, copy paper, kraft, parchment, and envelope paper are also derived from timber.

Timber firewood for heating

If you have timber that you’d like to harvest for profit, we can help. At Day Logging, we have the skills, knowledge, equipment, and experience needed to harvest timber and consistently sell it for a profit. Contact us today for more information.