American Hardwood Information Center

Warmth, Style & Durability. Treasured for Generations

When it came to building structures fortified against attack, “the ancient Vikings knew that poles made from timber with a burnt surface lasted longer” than those that had not been scorched. From that perspective, thermal modification is far from ‘new.’ Today’s industry is “past the embryonic stage of development … with well over 100 facilities worldwide producing commercial quantities of thermally modified timber.”

American Hardwoods for Exterior Applications
“The recent emergence of commercial thermal modification applied to hardwoods has opened up new growth opportunities for American hardwood species for exterior applications, previously the domain of chemically treated softwoods and tropical hardwoods.

Tulipwood has a particularly bright future for cladding. It treats and machines easily and is light-weight, competitively priced and readily available. Other American hardwoods that thermally modify particularly well include soft maple, red oak and yellow birch.”

Why Thermal Modification?

  • “The process reduces the timber moisture content which greatly improves the stability properties.
  • Removal of the hemicelluloses and carbohydrates from the wood, the two main food sources for wood destroying organisms, greatly improves durability.
  • Other benefits include enhanced machining characteristics and a reduction in thermal conductivity.
  • Life cycle analysis has shown that the end product has a better environmental impact than chemically treated timber…. and a more positive environmental impact at end of life.”

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Photo courtesy: American Hardwood Export Council


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