Posts Tagged ‘hardwood’

Wooden Wonders part four: lemon and lime? by Kate Cashmore

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is full of magnificent trees.

As part of our half term Wooden Wonders event taking place from 14 – 16 February, Kate Cashmore from Westonbirt’s learning team has created a trail which will help you find out about our hidden wonders.

Here, she highlights some of the Wooden Wonders that you can discover when you follow the trail.

No, the British lime is not related to the fruit tree. But it is still a very useful tree.

Although it is a hardwood, the timber is relatively soft, and is sought after for carving as it can be worked into very smooth, fine detail, for example leaves and flowers on friezes.      

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Lime trees have been coppiced for thousands of years, and if you walk into Silk Wood, you can see a lime thicket which is from one tree, 2000 years old. The inner bark is strong and fibrous and can be twisted into rope or even woven into cloth for clothes.

Useful links
Find out more about the Wooden Wonders event
Buy great value Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership
More great activities for families

Wooden Wonders part three: rugged oak, by Kate Cashmore

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is full of magnificent trees.

As part of our half term Wooden Wonders event taking place from 14 – 16 February, Kate Cashmore from Westonbirt’s learning team has created a trail which will help you find out about our hidden wonders.

Here, she highlights some of the Wooden Wonders that you can discover when you follow the trail.

Oak is the best known native hardwood. It is very durable and strong, even when in contact with the ground, so it was used for centuries for building frames, roofs and floors.

We have used the old methods to build the Great Oak Hall and the new bird viewing room which you will come across in the Old Arboretum.

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Henry VIII built up a large navy of oak ships to defend England.  Much of the wooden ‘Mary Rose’ ship even lasted underwater for 400 years before it was raised and preserved in a museum. 

Oak is the best British tree for biodiversity – nearly 300 different kinds of insects live on it. Can you find any when you follow the Wooden Wonders trail?

Useful links
Find out more about the Wooden Wonders event
Buy great value Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership
More great activities for families

Wooden Wonders part two: hard or soft? by Kate Cashmore

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is full of magnificent trees.

As part of our half term Wooden Wonders event taking place from 14 – 16 February, Kate Cashmore from Westonbirt’s learning team has created a trail which will help you find out about our hidden wonders.

Here, she highlights some of the Wooden Wonders that you can discover when you follow the trail.

Tree seedlings are soft, but as they grow bigger, they deposit a hard, strong substance, called lignin in some of their cells all around the stem.

These cells die, and become wood, or timber. Their job is to strengthen the stem.

Foresters divide timber into ‘hard’ and soft’, depending on whether it comes from a conifer (softwood tree), like a pine, or a deciduous broadleaved tree (hardwood tree), such as an oak.

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Generally, softwood trees are fast growing, and the wood is coarse-grained and relatively soft, whereas hardwood trees are slow growing, hard and with a fine grain.

But there are exceptions! Just as barks are different, the wood of different trees has different qualities.

The tall straight trunks of pine make it good for telegraph poles and fences and even, in the past, water pipes.

As it grows quickly and easily, it is also a cheap wood for furniture, and, like other softwoods, its long fibres make it good for paper.

Useful links
Find out more about the Wooden Wonders event
Buy great value Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership
More great activities for families