Wood is one of the most attractive and useful organic materials on the planet. In fact, we owe a good deal of our success as a species to wood. Throughout our history, humans have used it for construction, weaponry, fuel and many other pursuits, which speaks levels about just how versatile and valuable wood can be. And while all of us understand the general uses of wood in the modern world, very few people fully appreciate just how incredible this fibrous tissue truly is. Fortunately, your friends here at Timesavers are here to shed some light on this fascinating material.
At Timesavers, we specialize in creating high-quality wood finishing machines for a wide variety of production processes, including brush sanding, orbital sanding, heavy stock removal and more. Thanks to our outstanding customer service and innovative solutions that deliver maximum ROI, we’ve become the manufacturer of choice for woodworking shops of every size and specialty. For the past 70+ years, we’ve been helping woodworkers to boost their bottom line and the quality of their finished wares, and all those experiences have taught us a great deal about trees and wood. Today, we’ll be sharing a few of these discoveries to remind you how incredible our favorite porous plant material really is.
1. Trees Can “Talk” to Each Other
According to ecologist Suzanne Simard, trees convey their status and needs to each other by sending out nutrients through a series of fungi buried beneath the soil. Using these networks of fungi as a middleman, trees are capable of warning each other about environmental changes, searching for other trees and giving up their nutrients to neighbors before they pass away. Believe it or not, all trees across the world leverage this symbiotic connection with underground fungi to communicate with their kin! In some situations, this system even enables trees to work proactively to fend off threats. For example, when willow trees are under attack by insects, they’ll pass along a warning via chemicals to their neighboring willows. The warned trees then produce larger doses of tannin, a bitter-tasting organic substance, to keep the insects away from them.
2. Wood is Highly Sustainable
As one of the few construction materials with extremely low carbon emission, wood plays an important role in reducing the prevalence of greenhouse gases, which harm our planet by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Wood is also one of the choice materials that’s naturally generated and responsibly managed. Thanks to the phenomenal sustainability and renewability of wood, woodworking allows us to build the homes, tools and toys we need without harming our atmosphere or the planet at large.
3. Trees Can Live for Several Millennia
Many people underestimate how long trees can live, and that’s due in large part to the fact that many of the trees we’re familiar with have pretty short lifespans. For example, palms and persimmons typically only live around 50 or 60 years. On the other end of the spectrum, yew trees can live to be over 4,000 years old. The oldest living tree that scientists have discovered so far is a Great Basin bristlecone pine in the White Mountains. This ancient plant is approximately 5,062 years old! Check out this article for more information on some of the most long-lived trees in existence.
4. Wood is Exceptionally Diverse
The BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International) asserts that there are at least 60,065 tree species on the planet! It’s taken botanists centuries upon centuries of discovery, collection and description to map out all of these species and where they naturally grow, and even seasoned professionals in the field were shocked at just how diverse the range of trees on earth is. It’s important to note that a vast majority of these tree species are threatened with extinction—with many being confined to just one or two countries. Luckily, organizations like the BGCI have made big steps toward sheltering these endangered tree species. So while woodworkers will probably never have a range of 60,000+ woods to work with, at least these beautiful, varied materials are being well protected and preserved.
Contact Timesavers Today
Interested in learning how to turn a tree into a work of art? Then be sure to call or message Timesavers. We would be more than happy to discuss your application. Also, feel free to reach out if you’d like more information on Timesavers and our massive selection of woodworking machines. Our team can provide all of the support and guidance you need to find a solution that perfectly meets the requirements and constraints of your woodworking shop.