The process to manufacture wood or a wood item is not an easy one. From the production of raw wood to its processing in sawn timber and its use to manufacture an object like a door or chair, each step can take years or months.
Wood manufacturing generally refers to the process of manufacturing different items with wood. There can be various steps in a typical wood manufacturing process, such as sawing, sanding, planning, drilling, joining, and finishing, depending on the object being manufactured. Here’s everything you need to know about the process of wood manufacturing.
How is Wood Produced?
Raw wood or solid wood isn’t manufactured in a mill, but it is obtained from trees which generally grow in a forest.
Wood variants which are manufactured in a mill are commonly called engineered wood or manufactured wood.
How does wood processing work?
Processing wood means converting raw wood into usable form.
Raw wood is obtained in the form of wood logs, which are round, long, and heavy. They need to be cut down in order to make them suitable for manufacturing. This process is called sawing.
Wood logs are sawn into flat slabs which are collectively called timber or lumber. Each wood slab can be called a board.
So, the wood log is cut into slabs by its length or width as needed. Wood slabs are relatively easier to transport, handle, and use.
Steps in a Wood Manufacturing Process
The process of manufacturing wood can vary greatly depending on the end goal. From felling the tree to drying and grading lumber, here’s the exciting process of wood production:
1. Felling A Tree
The trees are sorted for cutting down. A tree is cut down either manually using an axe or hand saw or using a chainsaw, which is a faster method.
2. Sawing with a Head Rig
In the commercial logging industry, big saw machines are used for felling and processing trees into wood. Head Rig or Head Saw is a large saw that is used to cut a tree into smaller pieces. Different types of blades can be used depending on the need. Wood logs are generally cut down into long, flat planks which are easy to handle and work with and can be further processed to make different wood objects.
This step involves the use of tools like routers and chisels to remove unnecessary edges and defects from the wooden pieces.
A trimmer is used to square off the sides and ends of a timber board to form uniform surfaces and make it ready for sale or use.
Timber pieces are sorted based on sizes, dimensions, and intended use. Green (not dried) and dry timber are stored separately.
6. Ready for Drying
Timber which needs to be dried is stacked in a special arrangement to allow proper flow of air between pieces for natural drying. Pieces are arranged on spacers or stickers and left in an open but covered area to allow a continuous flow of air.
Kiln drying is a more effective and faster method of wood drying. It involves using a special machine called a kiln to evaporate content out of wood under specific temperature conditions. Better humidity results can be achieved through this method.
The dried wood may also need to be treated with a sealant or preservative to provide protection against insects.
This stage involves using a planer to smoothen out the surfaces of timber to make its width and thickness uniform. The planer removes small scraps of wood at a time to achieve a uniform surface.
Sanding is also sometimes used instead of planing to achieve a smooth wood surface and even out any splinters or rough edges. Belt sanders, disc sanders, and orbital sanders are some common types of sanding tools.
As the name indicates, at this stage, the final piece of lumber is assigned a grade based on its quality and other characteristics such as appearance, robustness, and durability. There are various criteria and factors considered when grading timber.
As mentioned before, wood manufacturing might also refer to the process of manufacturing a product using wood, in which case there can be various steps like shaping, turning, and finishing involved to turn raw wood into the final object like a chair or a door.
When planning to build a wood item, you do not necessarily have to cut down a tree or saw a wood log by yourself. A much better alternative is to buy sawn timber boards directly from your local woodshop or an online wood store like CameroonTimberExportSarl. You can choose and buy wood panels in customised shapes as required for your project.
Different Types of Wood Manufacturing Methods
There are various types or stages of wood manufacturing. The right method of manufacturing will depend on the end product.
Sawing refers to the use of a saw machine to cut large pieces of timber into smaller, desired dimensions. This is the most common method of wood manufacturing, which involves cutting wood into different sizes and shapes. For example, when building a table, the timber might need to be cut into a flat slab for the tabletop and in other shapes for the legs. Different saw machines or blades can be used for different types of cutting or shapes.
There is a wide range of saw blades and machines available in the market, each suitable for a different purpose, such as table saw, jigsaw, chainsaw, coping saw, mitre saw, circular saw, band saw, hacksaw, bow saw, and veneer saw.
Drilling is a woodworking method which involves drilling a hole into wood usually to combine two pieces of wood or wood with another surface with a screw or nail.
A variety of drilling tools are available in the market including hand drill tools, screwdrivers, etc. and machines such as a drill press and a nail gun suitable for different drilling applications. When drilling wood, the right type of screws must be used to achieve high-quality joints.
Joining is a woodworking process which involves joining two wood pieces together to form a more complex structure. For example, when making a table, legs are created separately and then joined to the tabletop using glue or screws or another method. Different types of joints are used in different wood manufacturing applications – butt joint, mitre joint, half-lap joint, tongue & groove joint, biscuit joint, etc.
The right type and amount of glue or screws must be used to ensure joints are strong and stable.
Shaping refers to the woodworking process where a piece of wood is shaped into the desired form using tools like chisels, hand planes, and routers. The shapes achieved through this method can range from plain flat surfaces to more complex ones like round, cones, cylinders, pyramids, rings, crosses, and more.
Shaping wood is more difficult than cutting or joining and might require a specific skill set and knowledge of shaping tools.
Woodturning and shaping are often used interchangeably. It refers to the art of turning a piece of wood when building a round or circular object like a bowl or a vase.
This is achieved by processing wood through a machine called a lathe which spins it and then various tools such as chisels are used to achieve the desired turn.
Not all wood species are suitable for turning, which is why one must carefully choose the right timber for building a turning project.
Finishing is a woodworking method where a protective layer of paint, oil, or other coating is applied to a wood product to extend its life and durability and provide protection against damage from moisture and/or insects.
Wood paint, varnish, oil, wax, etc. are commonly used for wood finishing. The tools used for finishing include a paint brush and a spray gun.
Other than providing protection, finishing can also help improve the look of the object by furnishing the desired colour or pattern. Alternatively, wood items such as beds and tables are also usually covered with a layer of attractive and waterproof laminate to achieve the desired appearance and durability.
Choosing the Right Manufacturing Wood
While wood is one of the best materials in terms of appearance and strength, it comes in many varieties and options, which can make it difficult for you to choose the right wood for your project.
Choosing the right wood is crucial for the overall success of your wood manufacturing project. There are literally hundreds of species of wood you can choose from. Then, there is engineered wood like plywood. If you’re confused or need help, make sure to consult with an expert woodworker or hire wood consulting services from a specialist.
You can visit our website to explore and choose from our wide range of top-class wood species. All our wood is sustainably-sourced and is certified for premium quality. Contact us to get started.