Wood is the eco-friendly material par excellence and the oldest of natural resources renewable, but not the best known. Misconceptions and misconceptions about the use of this primary material are wasted. For example, it is wrong to think that by not using wood, plants are saved and therefore the environment is protected: the forest is in fact a potentially inexhaustible mine, if well managed with a careful policy of cutting, and being wary of wood only serves to guide the construction market towards materials that are only apparently more efficient, such as concrete, metals and plastics, but in reality much more polluting.
Is tree cutting an environmental damage?
Countries that make the timber trade an economic resource implement rigorous programs for the maintenance and development of forested areas in their own interest. The forest is a potentially inexhaustible natural mine, provided that its balance is guaranteed. The global problem of deforestation, which affects vast areas of the planet, is now almost exclusively linked to the desire for new building areas or to be dedicated to grazing, and not to the production of wood.
The consumer today has the opportunity to actively contribute to the sustainability of the wood resource by indiscriminate behavior. For example by choosing wood from certified crops FSC that respect the delicate balance of the primary forest (to be defended as a treasure of biodiversity), and distrusting the typical advertisements of the Eighties (some are still visible) that promised "the scent of Africa" with the purchase of a piece of furniture. furniture. Exotic essences are undoubtedly the most at risk, but there are valid alternatives.
What is the energy balance of the wood resource?
Even the energy balance of the wood resource is positive. About 75% of 1 cubic meter of wood can be used for building, with the remaining 25% being discarded but used as new fuel for heating or to produce new energy. If the woodworking is not carried out with excessive waste, the part of the wood that will be burned will return more energy than was spent on processing and transport.
What about the parasite problem?
The ability of wood to withstand parasites it is definitely underestimated. However, assuming vulnerability to some attacks is accepted, the wood can be made more resistant by following simple traditional cutting rules and correct washing and seasoning operations (see below).
The supporting structures of chestnut, larch, pine and oak can do without any anti-parasite treatment because they contain natural substances able to counteract the attacks of parasites. Even in the case of other essences, the harmful treatments that would bring polluting substances into the homes can be avoided with other less aggressive ones, for example baths of boric salts.
How long does the wood last?
Much more than other materials. There durability of wood it is far superior to what you think (just think of the houses of the past) and the only thing that can improve it is a simple impregnating treatment with natural oils and waxes. Many woods do not need any external treatment to increase their durability, while treatments are needed if you want to preserve the color of the young wood (ultraviolet rays make the material gray), but even in this case it can be done with vegetable oils (linseed oil for example). Synthetic aesthetic finishes (impregnating, sealing, flatting) are not recommended and do not increase durability.
Within a wooden board, heartwood (mature wood) is different from sapwood (young wood). To be sure that the wood will be as durable as possible, you must ask the supplier to exclude the sapwood or to place it in the points subject to less stress and aging agents.
In case of fire?
The outermost layer of the wooden structures chars, protecting the innermost parts from fire. This allows the large wooden beams to resist fire more and better than iron joists.
Some useful (and curious) things to know
The best wood is that cut in winter, when the plant's vital activities are slowed down, porosity is reduced and the trunks are poor in sap. In the best traditional processing, the wood is washed away from the residual sap and dried to be rendered unappetizing by parasites. A further pesticide treatment is done with substances produced by the plant itself (bark and leaves).
The moon influences the lymphatic movement in plants and depending on the phases of the moon, wood is more suitable as a building material, or as a fuel. The right deadlines for cutting wood are indicated in the biodynamic calendar according to use.
Wood is a living material and the oriented structure of the tree, with its roots in the earth and the plant in the sky, represents a polarization which should also be respected in the use of timber. This is why the ends of the positively polarized boards should be facing upwards, or towards north or east. This aspect was observed in ancient buildings, especially those of a sacred nature.