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RE: COMP Woodworks

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I am not submitting this as an advertisement either for my journal or for
Woodworks 97, but thought it might be useful for those of you who are
considering Woodworks.
Woodworks is a very nice design tool from the people at the Canadian Wood
Council (CWC) and American Forest & Paper Association (AFPA). It is a great
improvement to their first version 1.0. I have not as yet devoted much time
to it, but it is one of the first software's to be reviewed in Independent
A&E's second edition.
I do, however, want to address the issue of concept mode. If there is no
other alternative, the concept mode is one of the programs most useful and
powerful features. However, they recently completed their Shear wall module
that is included in their package. This has a really wonderful feature that
allows for architectural plans to be inserted into the "concept mode" of the
shearwall module. This makes it a tremendous time saving tool.
Unfortunately, this is not yet available in Sizer - the gravity load design
program. Therefore, you need to recreate the plan of all load bearing walls
and columns based upon a grid system. In itself, it is a great design tool,
but can be considered cumbersome for creation of anything other than a
commercial building. It becomes rather difficult when you are dealing with a
custom home with diagonally placed walls, beam and varying elevations at the
roof level.
It is, however, one of the only programs that I know that will keep track of
all of the gravity load paths for each member and design accordingly.
When it first came out, I was not keen on it and did not rate it well. Since
this time, the CWC has done their homework and released a program that I
feel is worth the price and, with a little practice and patience, is a
valuable design tool. The program includes the Sizer (gravity load design
program), Connections (a wood to wood connection program that needs some
improvement), Shearwalls (which I have not worked with as yet, but - from
the instruction manual - appears to be a great addition to the program), the
1997 (yes, Bill it is the '97) NDS wood standards on PDF format and another
program to help determine the building type factors based upon the code that
is used in your area - again, something that I have not had time to work

If you have specific questions regarding the program, please submit them to
me at wish(--nospam--at) and I'll do my best to answer them.
I don't expect the program to be all inclusive, which none are, but it is
worth the investment so long as you know it's limitations. CWC offers a demo
version of the program that is a full working copy which is limited from
printing and saving. I highly suggest you go to their web site and download
a version. The address is:
I would be interested in hearing from any of you who have used the program
or are using Woodworks 97. Please contact me privately at wish(--nospam--at) . I
am mostly interested in your opinions as the strengths and weaknesses of the
program and the types of buildings you are using it to design.


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen, S.E. [mailto:billallen(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 1998 9:30 AM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: COMP Woodworks

I find it pretty remarkable that no one that responded or anyone I know uses
the "concept" mode. Does it really take longer to define the geometry than
to (separately) define the loads for each and every beam?