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Re: Exotic Wood Question

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Stan,
 
        Time, hence availability, may be against you.  If so you might consider flooring hardwoods such as maple, oak or ash.
 
        If there are no limitations consider greenheart.  We used two triangular prisms of that for bearings for load testing a 4x4 beam for demonstration testing in a structural lab many years ago.  It was too heavy to float and too hard to cut with woodworking tools.  It may also be too expensive or too scarce for your purposes.
 
Regards,
 
H. Daryl Richardson
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 9:35 AM
Subject: Exotic Wood Question

I am writing on behalf of my nephew, Jake, who is in the eighth grade.  He is participating in a science olympiad and needs to fabricate a laminated wood beam and load test it.  According to Jake, the beam must span 350 mm (13.78") and be no higher than 40 mm (1.57") and no wider than 20 mm (0.79").  It must be a straight, solid rectangular section fabricated from strips of wood no thicker than 3.175 mm (0.125"), glue, and nothing else.  Finally, it must support a center load of 15 Kg (33.1#) with a deflection less than 20 mm (0.79").
 
I am thinking that the winning beam will be fabricated from wood that is dense and very fine-grained, without knots or other irregularities.  In other words, an exotic hardwood from South America or Asia, like Pau Lope or Teak, rather than good old Southern Pine or Douglas Fir.  The wood must be available in Dallas, or available online with delivery within the next two weeks.  Of course, such woods do not appear in NDS, so I have very limited information on them.  Also, I am thinking that the laminations should be vertical, rather than horizontal.  This should make a stronger beam, and make the glue choice less important. 
 
1]    What wood species do you recommend?  What are its mechanical properties?
 
2]    Do you concur with vertical laminations?
 
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 
 
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Vice President
 
HALFF ASSOCIATES, INC.
8616 Northwest Plaza Drive
Dallas, Texas 75225
Phone: 214-346-6280
Fax: 214-739-0095