My Second Favorite Wood Book

This book is called, simply, “Wood”, by Eric Meier.  It is the hard copy version of the well known website, The Wood Database,

The Properties of Wood

The first several chapters discuss the physical features of wood, including how boards are cut, the moisture issues with wood, general properties and, of course, wood anatomy.

Full Color Photos

It has pictures and descriptions of hundreds of species, from the most common to the rare and endangered.

For most species there is a table describing measurable properties, like hardness, strength, specific gravity.

And for real wood identification, it describes the microscopic growth features that can often differentiate similar appearing species.  Note the graphic at the bottom, left.  There is a text description (which makes sense when you read the anatomy chapter) and next to that a photomicrograph of the wood endgrain. Not really microscopic, but at 10x or 20x, what you would see using one of these:


This is called a loupe, and can be bought for under $10 on Amazon.

Related Species

For some species of wood, maples, oaks, ashes, a few others, there are special sections that describe the commonalities and differences.

Beautiful Wood Objects

There are some scattered examples of objects made from a particular species.

A Recommendation

Many of you reading this have an interest in wood; wood properties, identification, appearance, usage, and this is a great book for that.  It doesn’t go into the scientific and mathematical detail you find in the Understanding Wood, by R. Bruce Hoadley, but for most of you this will be enough.  

It is so much more satisfying to look at a real, bound book, rather than clicking around a website, but if you are on a budget or in a hurry, the website is very useful.  And later you can always take the plunge and pick up the Hoadley book.  Both are so excellent. 

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