Timber atlas is a multimedia educational tool focused on the macroscopic structure of wood. The aim of this project is to facilitate learning in courses dealing with wood structure, with special focus on timber identification. The atlas should expand students’ knowledge obtained during practical lessons, provide help to part-time students and last but not least, it should serve as a way of promoting the topic among public.

The timbers are arranged alphabetically in the atlas. The most frequent species, no matter if native or introduced to the Czech Republic, are present. In addition to the macroscopic description of individual timbers the atlas also includes a glossary of the basic terms used for macroscopic structure, the links to other sources of information, and the schematic key.

The name of the timber is the most frequent term used in wood processing industry and in the business. Moreover, the scientific name and the Czech name of the timber are listed. The appearance of the timber on all surfaces is always shown. Then the most important macroscopic features follow, especially the features relevant for identification of individual timbers. The text description of the key features is accompanied by pictures.

The basic division of timbers in the atlas is into two main groups - softwoods and hardwoods. Then the macroscopic features important for distinguishing timbers within the groups follow. In the end of description of the timber the features of interest are always listed, which are characteristic for that timber. For softwoods identification the most important features, as the presence of resin canals, the early-latewood transition, the presence of heartwood, colour, hardness and weight, are evaluated. In the case of hardwoods vessels arrangement, the presence of the heartwood, ray visibility, colour, hardness and weight, as the most important features, are evaluated.

Users of the atlas should know at least the basic knowledge of plant physiology and wood structure. Students should understand the issue of basic anatomical sections through the stem. Another prerequisite for utilisation of this atlas is the ability to distinguish softwoods from hardwoods. However, for unambiguity of terms a glossary of terms from macroscopic structure is included. The role of the glossary is not an exhaustive theoretical description of the origin or function of the features, but to point out their importance for distinguishing timbers.

Presented key is a schematic, designed for quick orientation and it cannot in any case cover the great variability of wood structure. Great variability must be kept in mind all the time when using the atlas as a whole.



AUTHOR: Ing. Aleš Zeidler, Ph.D.