What Are the Properties of Wood That Make It so Useful for Everything It Is Used In?

First of all wood is a tremendously varied material. From super hard woods like Lignum Vitae and Ironwood to very soft ones like Balsa and Basswood and everything in between. There is a type of lumber for almost every application and some are quite specific. The cellular structure and chemical composition can be quite varied between species and allow for thousands of different uses. Wooden cutting boards are less likely to develop bacterial growth than plastic ones. Certain woods like Hickory are ideal for striking implements like axe and hammer handles and drumsticks. Redwood, Cedar, Ipe, and Teak are naturally resistant to rot and insect damage and are used for fencing, decks, outdoor furniture, and boats. Some species are light in weight and ideal for a lot of things like sporting equipment, aircraft, boats, and anything that has to be carried. Others are very dense and used for things that require strength, such as bowling alleys, basketball courts, butcher blocks, and even as street pavers in the old days. It's an ideal building material because it is a renewable resource, has the ability to flex under strain without breaking, is plentiful in a large portion of the earth, and is inexpensive. It is stable when dry and there is some evidence that wood framed buildings may even be more fire resistant than steel framed structures. There are temples in Japan that are over 1000 years old that were made without glue or metal fasteners. And that's in an area of frequent earthquake activity. All of the byproducts can be recycled for many purposes. I used to work in a Redwood sawmill in Northern California that sold their scrap to a power plant for use as fuel. Some places form sawdust into other building materials like particle board and molding. It's easy to work with and you do not need the amount of special tools you do with metalworking. It can be bent into shapes as varied as a bent back chair, a hockey stick, or a Stradivarius violin. Before the industrial revolution people ate off wooden dinnerware and used wooden utensils. Most wood floats and has been used to make boats for millennia. It has the ability to swell and contract with changes in humidity and some species like Teak, in addition to being rot resistant, also have natural oils that repel water. Today there are still boat builders crafting highly prized vessels from solid wood. It has a feel and resonance that man made materials do not. The best musical instruments are made from wood because of the warmth of their tone. Clarinets, flutes, and obviously stringed instruments still use wood even though there are modern replacements that simply do not sound as good. It's a good question because it made me think and I apologize for the manifesto-length answer.

1. Designers on Tips for Easy and Elegant Outdoor Rooms - Fresh American Style

How to make the most of indoor outdoor living "I will forever love stripes: They are so graphic and bold. Stripes can be playful or sophisticated; they can be nautical or preppy-there are so many variables, but there's always a stripe that will work. Plus, stripes are the easiest way to add pattern to a room - with a rug or throw pillows." - Rachel Shingelton, Pencil Shavings Studio "I thought this black tile was a little too harsh for the beach environment, so the tactile nature of the rug served to ground the space. This one feels like wool, and we did it just because of the chunkiness and the warmth of it - and obviously the all-weather wear of it, because this is in a covered porch that does get rained on." - Eddie Lee, Eddie Lee Inc "I think the extra comfort and softness of using outdoor rugs and pillows really pulls outdoor rooms together. This outdoor living room is not loud and colorful. Instead, it uses different textures to tell a strong story. I used Annie Selke rugs and textiles because I love their durability. I know that's not a sexy word, but, in busy homes, you know, there's traffic! The way she balances beauty and utilitarian capabilities is really quite amazing." - Michelle Boudreau, Michelle Boudreau Design "Select patio pieces that combine the elegance of indoor furniture with the durability of outdoor furniture, like tailored slipcovers, woven woods, or exquisite cane detailing. Forget about matching sets; when it comes to an elevated arrangement, it's all about the mix!" - Marie Flanigan, Marie Flanigan Interiors "Outdoor living spaces should be equally as inviting as the interiors. It's important to plan them just as thoroughly for function and comfort because we use them the same way." - Bunny Williams, Bunny Williams Interior Design "Get creative and strategic with the space you have! This Charleston porch, for example, was one of the most challenging projects I've worked on due to the narrowness of the space. I did not want to simply line the porch with rockers. There needed to be seating versatile to any occasion. The unique layout and mix of patterns paid off, making this porch a definite standout in the neighborhood." - Charlotte Lucas, Charlotte Lucas Interior Design "Jute's irregular, chunky, natural texture adds an island feel and flair to your floor. But if you are looking for a weather-friendly option, we recommend a jute look alike - Veranda, Pebble, and Sonoma are all made from weather-friendly PET." - Annie Selke, The Annie Selke Companies "In Los Angeles, all my projects require products that are good for that indoor/outdoor lifestyle. Dash & Albert makes the greatest indoor/outdoor rugs hands down on the market, but there's also a point of view, so I know if I need something boho or if I need something coastal, their take on it is going to work for me." - Erin Fetherston, Erin Fetherston "People always talk about bringing the indoors outside, and as an interior designer, I always like to create spaces that feel like home. Some important elements that can create that atmosphere are outdoor rugs and cozy upholstery. When I am looking for the perfect outdoor rug for a space, that's where I tend to do something fun and patterned. I like to bring a lot of fun colors and bring in pattern, like a fun stripe or even a outdoor kilim." - Faith Blakeney, Faith Blakeney Interior Design "The courtyard at Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada was designed as a living room that just happens to be outside, and that's generally how I approach outdoor spaces. We used plants for texture, and residential touches like rugs, pillows, sofas and great sconces on the walls. It feels very cozy, the coffee table is styled with books, candles and there is amazing lighting that changes during the day." - Margaret Shutze, Shutze Studio "Make sure you choose the right materials and fabric for the space. Outdoor fabric and rugs have come a long, long way. We even use a lot of outdoor stuff indoors - everyone has a kid, two pets, and sticky fingers! They can run around and not worry about it." - Killy Scheer, Scheer & Co Interior Design Designers on Tips for Easy and Elegant Outdoor Rooms was last modified: by

2. The Best Camping Gear for Summer

If you have not already started thinking about your summer vacations, there's no time like the present -- Memorial day is just a few weeks away! Just in case you are looking for a little outdoor escape this season, camping is a great option to get away and spend time with yourself, a significant other or a small group of friends or family. After all, getting outdoors is more needed than ever -- especially when you've been spending so much time within the confines of your home. Whether you are the type of person who loves to take regular camping trips or a camping novice, it's never a bad idea to have trusted gear on your hands. To help any camper prep for the next trip to the great outdoors, or inspire gifting ideas for loved ones who enjoy getting outside, ET Style gathered the best camping essentials and travel gear you will need to comfortably (and safely) enjoy days under the sun and nights under the stars, even if it's your first camping trip. You do not have to go all out -- you can pack your bags and hit the road for a car camping trip nearby a national park (and maybe bring a swimsuit or two while you are at it). Or, create the ambiance of a campsite right in your backyard to create a unique opportunity for a staycation. Either way you do it, now you will have the gear to make your camping Spring Break experience complete. From a sleeping bag that does not cost a fortune to tents, coolers, sun shelters and high-tech equipment, shop our selection of the best camping gear below. Prime Day 2021: What You Need to Know About Amazon's Epic Event The Best Walking Shoes for Women 2021 -- Allbirds, Nike, Asics & More The Best Deals on Outdoor Furniture to Level Up Your Space The Best Shoes to Style with Mom Jeans The Best Swimwear for Summer Best Shoes to Update Your Closet for Spring The Best Amazon Lululemon Dupes We've Found on TikTok Best Swimwear For Summer From Amazon Lizzo Tried the Booty-Lifting Leggings That Went Viral on TikTok The Best Leggings for Lounging, Working Out and Yoga

3. Is it okay to leave outdoor furniture cushions outside in the rain?

If the dog is outside all the time surely he has a Kennel or somewhere he can go to shelter from the rain or the sun. You just can not leave a dog outside without some living accommodation for him Think of the poor dog getting soaked to the skin and get an umbrella and go and bring him in and dry him with a towel. If you intend to leave this dog outside then you must make adequate provisions for him.

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The Home Front: Using Your Outdoor Living Areas Year Round
In Vancouver and all across North America, people are now using their outdoor living areas year round, says Joanna Leung, vice-president of Vancouver-based , which has specialized in outdoor furniture since 1980."I see more and more people with slightly covered [outdoor] areas," Leung says. "It won't be fully enclosed, but they'll have awnings or they'll have glass on top. Because it's not really the cold that bothers people; it's getting wet." Large waterproof umbrellas can also do the trick, Leung says."Combined with cosy pillows, blankets and maybe a fire pit or space heater, you're good to go in winter months," she says.Fire pits, she notes, are proving to be more popular than ever."Even in November, when the months are getting a bit cooler, having a fire pit is a great asset, and something we make a lot of," she says. "It's like having a fireplace outside. It's great for warmth, it's a focal point for the space, and it really grounds things, because it makes it feel like the living room. It's communal and it's nice to have a glass of wine around." Round fire pits are currently trending and add to the communal "around-the-campfire feel" outdoor fires are known for, she says, adding that the latest fire pit designs are more bar table height."People always think of fire pits as lower like living room pieces" Leung says "But a lot of people like the bar height or counter height." These bar-height versions are particularly popular in cities like Vancouver because outdoor living areas are often small and people want to take advantage of views."When you're sitting down low, you can't get the view, and Vancouver is one of those places that's gorgeous and everyone wants to catch the mountain view, so a lot of people use countertop-height fire pits as well as bar-height fire pits." Outdoor furniture design is changing and becoming more sophisticated and detail orientated, she says."People really want to create the outdoor space as an extension of the indoor space," she says. "I think traditionally, outdoor furniture was woven, like wicker, and now we've really changed up the trends. We have a lot more upholstered pieces, we have upholstered platform pieces that look like indoor furniture, and they use fabrics like chenille that is a really indoor texture and feel, so it feels like you're sitting on a living room sofa, but you're outside." Ratana's new line is a good example of this evolution, she says, with its thick, woven, knitwear-like esthetic, which is currently trending in both home design and fashion."The Bogota collection is a very beautiful collection inspired by the indoors. It looks and feels like a woven material, but inside there's a rubber lining to create that thickness, and then the upholstered fabric is wrapped around it, so it creates that beautiful lush look, like a thick knitted sweater, but it's very quick to dry. Because we've been in the outdoor furniture industry for so long, we know you can't have furniture that takes days and days to dry." In a city like Vancouver, it's important to be realistic about the weather, Leung says, noting that Ratana recommends that outdoor furniture pillows be taken inside when not in use during the winter months. The frames of the outdoor furniture pieces, however, are fine to be left out year round, she says.Because outdoor furniture is not something you replace often, Leung recommends people stick with neutral colours for the frames and add colour and pattern with cushions, throws and pillows."I think keeping your frame really neutral lets you focus on the actual materials, and how beautiful they are, and it also gives people an opportunity to keep current," she says. "And because we're using the same outdoor furniture all year round, you might not want the same throw all year round; you might want some cushions and throws for the spring. You want something different for the summer, you want something different for the fall, so those are things that are really easy to change up if you get bored or you want something more on trend or current."
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