Project contact is Karl Englund at Washington State University
Cross laminated timber (CLT) has energized the wood industry, not only throughout the US but also across the globe. Potential for lower construction costs and a sustainable building material has provided proponents of CLTs the fuel for their growth. However, to obtain lower feedstock costs and provide a truly sustainable building product the use of small diameter timber (SDT) and other lower quality woods is imperative, but not yet realized. The out-of-plane (OOP) defects such as twist, cup and bow commonly found in SDTs, make processing CLTs prohibitive due to the press load requirements that are needed to “flatten” these defects out and create intimate contact at the glue line. Due to this issue, many CLT manufacturers utilize high grade lumber, while SDT and other low value woods are culled out and not used. Our proposal will characterize the OOP defects commonly found in SDT Douglas-fir (DF) and ponderosa pine (PP) from the Inland Northwest, will develop a tool to calculate anticipated forces to compress out the OOP defects and evaluate the durability performance of a full-scale CLT panel that includes commonly rejected lumber from SDT due to presence of OOP defects. The tool developed in this project will provide the CLT industry with the know-how to determine the press loads required to make a panel from SDT feedstocks and how to lower these accumulated loads through reducing or changing the laminate cross-sectional dimensions. Results of this study will promote increased utilization of SDT lumber, currently rejected, for CLT production and will contribute to healthy forests and rural economic development.