Understanding and using wood (UUW)

Learn more about the material you use and improve your woodworking as a result. This is a full-day course and the fee is R1200,00. This course is currently not scheduled. Please express your interest in this course by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I draw upon many years of woodworking experience to offer specific techniques for designing and constructing furniture that will survive seasonal changes: how to allow tabletops to move, how to combine solid wood and man-made boards and other day-to-day tips that will improve your furniture making. This course is aimed at woodworkers who have completed one or more furniture making projects and have realised that wood is not a perfect material (see the quotation below).


Understanding wood (morning):

  • Classification and naming of trees (woods)
  • Macro and micro structure of a tree
  • Physical properties of wood
  • Mechanical properties of wood
  • Defects in wood
  • Engineered wood

Using wood (afternoon):

  • Why wood moves (shrinks and expands)
  • Estimating movement
  • Coping with wood movement - golden rules
  • Design and construction techniques - avoid problems like the ones shown on the right
  • Case study
  • Machining wood (getting rid of bow, twist etc)
  • Slide1
  • Slide2
  • Slide3

  • Slide4
  • Slide5
  • Slide6

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Wood has evolved as a functional tissue of trees, not as a material to satisfy the needs of woodworkers. The qualities or shortcomings that
wood possesses are traceable to the tree whence it came. Thus knowing wood as it grows in nature is basic to working successfully with it.

             R. Bruce Hoadley - Professor, wood science and technology - University of Massachussets

Last updated 26 October 2018