The wonderful world of wood

Wood is a very versatile material. It is used to produce beautiful furniture and works of art. Mahogany furniture fetches premium prices, and many works of art are made of wood.

 (photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)
(photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)
Wood is a very versatile material. It is used to produce beautiful furniture and works of art. Mahogany furniture fetches premium prices, and many works of art are made of wood.
The interiors of the luxury liners of the Cunard line such as the Queen Mary and the QE2, which have been converted into hotel ships (the former moored in Long Beach in southern California and the latter in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates), are paneled with stately wood from the countries of the British Commonwealth. This tradition has been continued in Cunard’s new cruise ships the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria. Wood is very much in demand by the general public. If asked what kind of furniture they would prefer in their home or office, most people would answer, “Wood.”
Save the trees
However, this creates problems. With a global population of 7.6 billion and growing, the forests of the world cannot supply the increasing demand for timber.
Such a demand also poses a large ecological problem. The number of trees felled is much greater than the number of trees that are replanted. And it must be taken into account that softwood trees such as cedar, cypress, and yew take some 80 years to mature, while hardwood trees such as teak, elm, and birch can take more than 300 years to grow to maturity. So while having rich mahogany furniture or an attractive teak deck is enviable, one must consider preserving our forests and keeping our planet healthy and green.
(photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)

Engineered wood to the rescue

That is where modern technology comes into play. It can fulfill the demand for wooden furniture, paneling, and works of art, as well as conserve the environment and stem the decimation of the world’s forests. The solution is the development of products that look like wood, feel like wood, and in many cases are even stronger and more durable than wood. In Israel, demand for wood is strong. It is more oriented toward wood for practical purposes such as furniture parquet floors and internal staircases, as well as outdoor uses such as decks, rustic style roofing, and fences. With a climate like ours, the use of artificial wood is more practical. Dan Botvin is the CEO of Botvin Ltd, a company that imports and markets virgin wood , engineered wood wooden manufactured products primarily for the building industry. As a third-generation manager/proprietor, Botvin knows the wood industry inside and out. “Demand for wood is increasing. With the rise in the standard of living, people have more spending money and want the best of everything. This means, among other things, trendy wooden furniture, parquet flooring, teak decks, elegant staircases, etc. Consequently, it is important to produce artificial wood that will help preserve the remaining rain forests of the world. But for a hot country like Israel with areas such as the Coastal Plain that are humid and the hilly desert areas that are dry, natural wood requires a lot of maintenance, especially outdoors. Therefore, engineered wood is more practical.”
Viable solutions
The scientific world has risen to the challenge. Today, there are a large number of products such as parquet floors and decking for homes and marine vessels that are made from synthetic or engineered wood. These products look like the real thing and are much more practical. Synthetic parquet and teak floors are easy to maintain and clean, as they do not stain easily. And synthetic parquet floors are more adaptable to underfloor heating.
(photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)
The wonders of synthetic wood
Wood is one of the most common natural materials. It is used widely because it is strong, relatively lightweight, and very easy to work with. Its strength and light weight are due to its unique hierarchical cellular structure and matrix (made from lignin and hemicellulose) embedded with welloriented cellulose fibrils. Wood grows very slowly from the bottom up, and each structural level contributes to its remarkable properties.
In recent years, genetic science has had a hand in improving the properties of wood and creating what is termed “super woods.” This is achieved by modifying the microstructure of natural wood or combining wood-derived cellulose with synthetic materials. These biologically impressive materials are strong and durable.
(photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)
One of the most promising developments is synthetically engineered wood. Plastic-wood composites have long been a favorite of homeowners who want to build decks and fences that do not require sanding, staining, and painting. However, these engineered woods are not as strong as natural wood and can be even more prone to catching fire. Now there are reports that a synthetic wood material has been developed that looks like natural wood, is strong, and does not catch fire. Engineered wood has grown in popularity in recent years, as it is an excellent alternative to solid wood. Engineered wood is composed of multiple layers of compressed timber, which is finished with a top layer of solid wood veneer. As a result, engineered wood has many more practical qualities, while retaining the authentic look of solid wood.
In association with Botvin LTD