Understanding wood (UW) and Dealing with wood movement (DWM)

These two complimentary courses will teach you more about the material you use and how to overcome a major shortcoming of wood. Your woodworking will improve as a result. I continue to be surprised by individuals and organisations who do woodwork as a commercial activity yet know very little about the material they use.

I draw upon many years of study of wood technology and woodworking experience to explain and 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. These courses are 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). A common response to these courses is: "I wish I had attended five years ago."


Understanding wood:

  • 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

Dealing with wood movement:

  • 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 11 July 2020