Module: Timber as a material Unit: Wood-based materials

Date Published

28 August 2022

Document Type




Since the invention of durable weatherproof adhesives in the last 100 years there has been continuous development of a variety of wood-based products, either as panels or as structural sections that can be used instead of solid wood.

Key Information

Building up panels or structural sections from peeled veneers, strands, chips or small sections of solid wood makes the most of the wood resource and minimises waste.

Modern adhesive bonds are stronger than the solid wood components so that glued joints do not diminish the overall strength of the section. In fact, incorporating glass or carbon fibre in the adhesive layers has been used to substantially improve the overall structural strength of the sections.

Structural calculations for “engineered” timber components of this sort do not have to
allow for the natural variation in strength that must be factored in when designing with solid
timber components because the material is consistent in quality throughout the full section.

Case studies

The Great Barn at Harmondsworth is the largest timber-framed medieval building in the country and one of the few surviving:
a magnificent and remarkably preserved Grade I-listed building which is nearly a thousand years old.

Dungeness Beach in Kent is the largest area of shingle in Europe – 1,600 hectares of it. The harsh and dramatic landscape, dominated by the bulk of Dungeness B power station and dotted with a cottage or a fisherman’s weekend hut, is an architectural conservation area and has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) to preserve its unique ecology of grasses and shingle plants.