Forests are the home of thousands of plants, insects, birds, mammals and other species. Jungles purify air and water and also provide food and medicine for millions of people. Trees are one of the main natural resources on which humankind is majorly dependent. These days cutting off trees for the sake of producing wood products play a vital role in biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Though after chopping off the trees, they still can grow back and could be managed as renewable resources. The wood of these trees is often used for making furniture, idols, paper, kitchen cabinets etc.
Although contemporary society has developed numerous other materials like steel, polymers and other industrial materials for buildings, packaging etc still wood is a very important part of our lives. Wood is also used for processing various products. Books, newspapers, tissue paper, printer paper, and cardboard are such examples. These products are made using different types of trees, a particular kind of forest provides a specific category of wood with its unique properties like appearance, ease of working, hardness, resistance to fungal attack, strength, ability to accept stains, enhancing the quality of wine, resistance to swelling or shrinking and its availability.
There are two different kinds of recognizing the wood. One is hardwood and the other is softwood. Usually, the names hardwood and softwood are nothing to do with their names, as softwood is sometimes more solid than hardwood. This differentiation of wood depends on the tree of that particular wood. The physical structuring and the durability of wood help in bifurcating them. Hardwood comes from angiosperm trees that have a higher density with broad leaves and pores that could be viewed through a microscope. Whereas softwood comes from gymnosperm trees with lower density and no visible pores when viewed through a microscope. Hardwood like mahogany and teak are structurally complex and also give a distinct appearance; hence they are commonly used for making high-value furniture, panels, decks, flooring and other decorative items that last for long and also show off the timber grain. But about 80% of timber is taken from softwood which has a wider range of applications, found in building components like a window, doors paper etc; as they are comparatively cheaper and easier to work.
The initiation of using timber and wood goes back to the age when the first humanoids picked up pieces to use as clubs for hunting and defence. These nomads used wood for constructing a shelter for themselves when the caves and rock overhangs were unavailable. Thus timber framing is been around for about two thousand years. Since then timber/wood is an integral part of human life. Wood is not only used for the construction of buildings, and making of furniture but also used in the exploration of the domain like carts, sledges, boats and wooden ships. As the processing technologies of wood have developed, the scope for timber/wood products has also increased. Hence it is used for the development of railways for making sleepers and bridges. It is also one of the fundamental elements used in cultural society, as most of the musical instruments are made of wood.
Wood is unique in its usage of appearance applications as it holds a natural charm that attracts designers. As noticed while approaching a wooden table or chair, many people tend to touch the product as the feel of wood complements what the eye sees. Unlike most of the other man-made materials, wood has a natural and irregular character in its grain and texture that enhances the beauty of the product and also links it to nature which inspires a basic response from a designer who recognizes it and uses it. Hence numerous crafts are made out of wood. Thus the wood is also carved to make the idols of gods and goddesses, animals, birds, decorative items and also wooden towers installed at the temples. Hence the products made of wood are a visual treat due to their natural color, grain and the combination of these unique features as well!