The announcement of an engineered tropical hardwood has spawned all kinds of feedback from Woodworking Network readers - ranging from doubt, to excitement, to curiosity, to disbelief. The hardwood, called 3Wood, could reduce pressure to log native forests, and possesses the same strength as a 100-year-old tree, says its developers.

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An engineered tropical hardwood could reduce the pressure to log native forests, according to its developers.
 

A social media post from Woodworking Network about 3Wood reached 130,000 people and gathered over 2,500 likes and hundreds of comments. Many of our Facebook followers work in a woodworking business or own their own shop. Their comments were able to provide real, concrete feedback.

Opinions of the tropical hardwood, which is converted from cheap pulpwood into a sustainable substitute, differed greatly.

“Don’t take my hard wood away for laboratory chemical made crap. If a tree goes to a sawmill, 99.9% of that tree is used. Don’t just think lumber, all of the chips and dust are used for a lot of different products,” said Thom Spillane, a custom woodworker in Connecticut.

"As a finisher, I'm interested to see how it takes different finishes and if there's variations in tone like real wood species. Because we all know you can stain the same oak with the same exact stain and have a million different variations," said Jose Silvelo.

Building environmental consultant Ron Bailey said "These products do not react the same as the natural product, the glues can give off volatile products, and they delay moisture, possibly trapping the moisture behind the product causing a secondary microbial issue. Be careful in the sourcing and the placement of these materials, they have their place and can be good, but consider all the building science before use."

"That looks like something I would like to check out more. But it appears they are not in production yet and being an Australian product might make it too costly to have some shipped. But interesting none the less," said Jeff Moore.

Harold Dendy, owner and president of Dendy Engineering and Surveying, said: "If it costs less at the supply store than the real thing, you have a winner."

Marilyn Colasanti, owner of Missouri-based Carved in Grain, had questions about its use.

“Can you carve it on a CNC? How do router bits hold up to it? Not sure what kind of adhesive they use but does it cause damage to bits? How does it stain?”

Tennessee sawmill worker Carl Rangel disagreed with 3RT managing director Peter Torreele about hardwood waste, saying that he hasn't experienced any waste in current hardwood production.

"I work at a sawmill. Chips and dust are taken to the paper mill to be recycled, and cutoffs too large are used for wood stoves for home heating. Nothing is wasted!"

Engineered wood is a passionate topic with many woodworking professionals and Woodworking Network readers. Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Let us know at our Facebook page.


3Wood, developed using ordinary pulpwood, which is cheap and accessible, and a unique water-based adhesive that reacts with the fibers in the wood to make it stronger, uses wood which is compressed to create a denser, harder, and more durable product. The wood is then exposed to a combination of temperature and pressure to form it into a rectangular shaped block.