There are various types of defects in timber as a construction material. These defects in timber can be due to natural forces, fungi, insects, and during seasoning and conversion. Types of these defects in wood are discussed in detail.
Trees give us the timber, which is converted into the required form and finally used. Before reaching this final stage, timber comes across many critical stages like growing without defects, cutting at the right time, seasoning, converting, and using. Different types of defects occur in timber at these various stages.
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Types of Defects in Timber as a Construction MaterialIn general, the defects in timber are mainly due to:
- Natural forces
- During Seasoning
- During conversion
Defects in timber due to Natural Forces
- Wind cracks
- Twisted fibers
- Rind galls
- Water stain
- Chemical stain
- Coarse grain
1. Wind Cracks in TimberIf the wood is exposed continuously to the high-speed winds, the outer surface shrinks and forms crack externally, which are called wind cracks.
2. Shakes in TimberShakes are nothing but cracks which separate the wood fibers partly or completely. Different shakes are formed in different conditions as follows:
- Cup shakes are formed due to the non-uniform growth of a tree or excessive bending by cyclones or winds. In this case, the shakes develop between annual rings and separate them partly.
- Heart shakes, the other type of shakes which develop in maturity approaching trees whose inner part is under shrinkage. The shake spread from pith to sapwood following the directions of medullary rays.
- Ring shakes are similar to cup shakes, but they completely separate the annual rings.
- Star shakes are formed due to extreme heat or severe frost action. They develop wider cracks on the outside of timber from bark to the sapwood.
- Radial shakes are developed radially from pith to the bark.
3. Twisted Fibers in TimbersWhen the tree in its younger age is exposed to high-speed winds, the fibers of wood gets twisted. This type of wood is not suitable for sawing. So, this can be used for making poles, posts, etc.
4. UpsetsUpsets, a defect of timber in which the fibers of the wood are crushed and compressed by fast blowing winds or inappropriate chopping of trees.
5. Rind GallsRind galls are curved swellings of trees which are formed at a point where a branch of the tress is improperly removed or fell down.
6. BurlsBurls are uneven projections on the body of the tree during its growth. These are mainly due to the effect of shocks and injuries received by the tree during its young age.
7. Water StainWhen the wood is in contact with water for some time, the water will damage the color of the wood and forms a stain on its surface. This defect is called as water stain.
8. Chemical StainChemical stain is formed on the wood by the action of any external chemical agents like reaction by the gases present in the atmosphere etc. The stain area gets discolored in this defect.
9. Dead WoodThe wood obtained from the cutting of the dead tree is light in weight and is actually defected. It is reddish in color and its strength is very less.
10. Knots in TimberThe central part or stem of a tree is majorly used in the conversion of timber. Branches from the stem are removed, and the whole rounded stem is taken. But the base of branches forms a mark on the stem, which results in dark-colored stains on the surface after conversion. This dark-colored stains are due to the continuity of wood fibers. These dark-colored rings are known as knots.
11. Coarse Grain Defect in TimberThe age of a tree can be known by the number of annual rings. For fast-growing trees, the gap between the annual rings is very large. This type of tree is called as coarse-grained tress, and timber obtained from them is of less strength.
12. Timber FoxinessWhen the timber is stored without proper ventilation, the trees growing near the banks of water bodies and over matured trees may exhibit this type of defect. Foxiness is generally indicated by red or yellow spots.
13. DruxinessDruxiness is a defect of timber in which the top surface of timber indicates white spots. These spots will give the access to fungi.
14. CallusThe wound of the tree is covered by soft skin, which is called a callus.
Defects in timber due to Fungi
- Dry rot
- Wet rot
- Brown rot
- White rot
- Blue stain
- Heart rot
- Sap stain
1. Dry Rot in TimberDry rot is caused by a certain type of fungi that eats wood for their living. They make food by converting timber into dry powder form. This occurs mainly when there is no ventilation of air or if the wood improperly seasoned. Absence of sunlight, dampness, presence of sap will increase the growth of dry rot, causing fungi. This can be prevented by using well-seasoned wood and also by painting the timber surface with copper sulfate.
2. Wet Rot in TimberWet rot is caused by fungi that decompose the timber and convert it into a grayish-brown powder form. Wet rot causing fungi growths mainly when there are alternate dry and wet conditions of timber.
3. Brown Rot in TimberThe cellulose compounds of the wood are consumed by certain types of fungi, which then makes the wood brownish, and this defect is called brown rot.
4. White Rot in TimberSome types of fungi attack lignin of timber and leaves cellulose compounds; hence the wood will turn into white color, which is called white rot.
5. Blue Stain in TimberBlue stain is a defect caused by some kind of fungi, which makes the timber bluish.
6. Heart Rot in TimberHeart rot is generated in the trees when fungi attack the heartwood through its newly formed branch. This type of fungi makes the tree hollow by consuming heartwood. This defect is known as heart rot.
7. Sap Stain in TimberWhen the moisture content in the timber is more than 25%, some types of fungi attack the sapwood and make it discolored. This type of defect is known as a sap stain.
Defects in Timber During Seasoning
- Case hardening
- Radial shakes
1. BowWhen the converted timber is stored for a longer time, some timber planks may have a curve along its length, which is known as Bow.
2. CupIf the timber planks curve along its width, then it is called Cupping of timber.
3. CheckCheck is the formation of a crack in the wood, which will separate the wood fibers. They form due to over seasoning of timber.
4. SplitSplit forms when a check extends from one end to the other end, which will split the wood into a number of pieces.
5. TwistTwist forms when the timber piece is distorted spirally along its length. It looks like a propeller blade after twisting.
6. HoneycombingHoney combing occurs in the inner part of the timber, which cannot be identified by just seeing. It is mainly due to stresses developed during the drying of timber.
7. Case HardeningCase is nothing but the top surface of wood, which dries rapidly during seasoning, but the inner part didn’t. Then this defect is called as case hardening.
8. CollapseDuring drying, some parts of the wood may dry rapidly while some may not. Because of this, improper drying shrinkage of wood occurs, that results in the defect called collapse.
9. WarpWarping is the loss of shape of wood due to stresses developed during drying. Cupping bowing, twisting of wood come under warping.
10. Radial ShakesRadial shakes develop after the tree being felled down and exposed to the sun for seasoning. In this case, the cracks run radially from bark to the pith through annual rings.
Defects in Timber During Conversion
- Diagonal grain
- Torn grain
- Chip mark
1. Diagonal Grain Defect in TimberDuring the conversion of timber, different cutting saws are used. The cutting should be done properly. If there is any improper cutting by the saw, then a diagonal grains will appear.
2. Torn GrainIn the conversion, many tools are used. If any of the tools or any other heavy things are dropped accidentally on the finished surface of timber it will cause small depression, which is called torn grain.
3. Chip MarkWhen the timber is cut through the planning machine, the parts of the machine may form chip marks on it. Usually, they are indicated by chips on the finished surface.
4. WaneThe edge part of the timber log contains a rounded edge on one side because of its original rounded surface. This rounded edge is called wane.
Defects in timber due to Insects
- Marine borers