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RE: Exotic Wood Question

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Dear Stan,

Try Ipe, as in the decking material. You'll find mechanical properties by doing a web search.


From: "Caldwell, Stan" <scaldwell(--nospam--at)>
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: "SEAINT Listserv" <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: Exotic Wood Question
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 10:35:35 -0600

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

2]    Do you concur with vertical laminations?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Vice President

8616 Northwest Plaza Drive
Dallas, Texas 75225
Phone: 214-346-6280
Fax: 214-739-0095
Email: scaldwell(--nospam--at)
Web: <>

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