10 Things You Didn't Know Were Made Out Of Timber

Published Tuesday 27th October 2015

The mighty tree already provides us with so many things we take for granted everyday – paper, fruit & nuts and even the oxygen we breathe.

But we here at International Timber decided to highlight some of the weird and wonderful things that come from some our favourite wood.

1.) Bringing home the bacon

Whether it’s in a sandwich, as part of a big greasy fry-up or you’re just grateful for it’s existence, cured meat has to give thanks to its woody origins.

The much-loved smoky flavour comes from the wood chip smoking process. Woodchips, once placed on heated coals, burn evenly and produce a consistent flow of smoke, flavouring the cured meat depending on the type of wood used.

Hard woods (ash, oak, maple, beech) are recommended, whereas softwoods release harmful toxic resins. Hickory and Applewood are the most popular varieties for manufacturers when it comes to bacon.

2.) Got wood?

For those having a hard time wondering what goes into the making of condoms and lubricants, look no further than nature itself.

The latex used for these products is produced in many forests certified by the Forest Conservation Group (FCS), so there’s firm confirmation you shouldn’t feel so guilty about using them next time!

3.) Baby it’s cold outside

When thinking of how we use wood for burning on those long winter nights (or certainly before central heating), many people don’t realise that the insulation keeping their house warm is made from beloved timber.

Wood fibres are softened or heated to enable them to be fitted into the walls of any home, whilst adding synthetic binder can also harden them. It’s a must-have when building in modern times, people often forget what’s keeping them so toasty.

4.) Heard it through the grapevine

Do you know where your favourite glass of white or red gets its flavour from?

Timber mulch is used to grow the grapes and create the barrels the wine is flavored in, Chardonnay for example getting it’s distinctive taste profile from oak.

5.) That’s a wrap

Making a hamper or wrapping flowers is a fun way of showing someone kindness to someone we care about, but let’s show some love for where cellophane actually comes from.

Cellulose, an organic compound found in wood, is popular for packaging thanks to its low permeability to oils, air, bacteria and water.

6.) Green is the new black

Normally associated with being a panda’s number one choice for a tasty snack, did you know bamboo can now be made into clothing such as socks?

An unusual choice of material, it benefits include holding its shape, absorbent and even prevents foot odour due to its antibacterial fabric!

Many of the world’s bamboo plantations are FCS approved, so as well as being one of the most environmentally-friendly fabrics, there’s no reason you shouldn’t branch out for this soft, sturdy material.

7.) Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

As tensions between nations rose in the lead up to World War II, metal was of short supply in the UK and the armed forces had to find an alternative.

By 1940, the RAF had created a prototype aircraft titled ‘Mosquito’ which was created from heat-formed plywood over a wooden frame and powered by four Rolls Royce Merlin engines.

In times of rationing and materials at short supply, the ‘timber terror’ is a true representation of the country’s wartime spirit in the face of adversity.

8.) Wood(s) delivers a great drive

It’s estimated that 1 billion people worldwide own a car, but there are some people who have truly gone back to their roots.

A 71 year-old pensioner from Bosnia created his own VW Beetle from over 50,000 pieces of oak and a man from the Ukraine quit his job and spent one and a half years creating a stylish, motoring masterpiece.

9.) Sky’s the limit

A breakthrough technology that is right on so many levels comes in the form of cross-laminated timber (CLT), which holds superb performance in the construction of skyscrapers.

It’s cheaper to produce, easy to assemble and can be better than concrete or steel at handling fires.

A Danish architect has recently designed the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper to be completed by 2023. The ‘plyskraper’ is set to be based in Stockholm and will stand at 34-storeys tall.

10.) Yew think you’ve seen it all…

There are those who combine the two great passions of timber and art and some of the results are outstanding.

A wooden replica of the HMS Victory took artist Ian Brennan 17 years to painstakingly carve, whilst fans of natural sculptures will also appreciate the Alice in Wonderland characters carved in Llandudno and this tiger made out of reclaimed timber put together by 200 architects in Hungary.

It’s going down, we’re yelling timber

Whilst you may not be building a skyscraper or a WW2 fighter plane any time soon, there are so many more uses for wood that you can try your hand at.

Hopefully, at least a few of the above items surprised you, but if you've got any favourites or think we've missed anything obvious, give us a shout on Twitter – we always love to hear from you.

And if you're in the market for quality timber, be sure to check out our fantastic product range today.