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Japanese wood preserving industry
1990 - IRG/WP 3596
Although a great amount of wood is in use in Japan, a little attention has been paid to the significance and importance of wood preservation. The fact reflects that only less than 0.5% of the total wood consumption is treated with wood preservatives today in the country. Over the 20 years before 1970, the annual volume of preservative treated (pressure treatment) wood was relatively at a stable level of approximately 500,000 m³. After the prominent peak of 709,000 m³ in 1968, 500,000 to 600,000 m³ of wood had been annually treated until 1980. In the 1980's the pace of production of preservative-treated wood gradually declined, down to 400,000 m³ in 1988. As for commodities treated with wood preservatives, poles and sleepers have been remarkably decreasing, and wood foundation sills which newly appeared on the market in the late 1960's became a major item. It is expected that new treated commodities will be accepted among Japanese people to stimulate the activity of wood preserving industry in Japan.
K Tsunoda


Wood preservation in Thailand
1983 - IRG/WP 3265
The report gives a background to Thailand and its timber resources, production and consumption. The history of wood preservation in the country and its modern industrial development are described. Its 19 preservation plants are listed and the production figures of the two major ones given. The wood preservatives in use are noted and the costs of treating a railway sleeper in three different ways compared. The main hazards to Thai timbers, fungal damage, insect damage, and marine borers are detailed and 151 Thai timbers are listed with information on their natural durability and treatability. The organizations in Thailand concerned with the subject are outlined and the report ends by indicating that the future of wood preservation in the country is one of potential.
A Rananand, R Cockcroft


Wood preservation in China
1989 - IRG/WP 3546
Huiming Zhou, Zhongwei Jin


The environmental chemistry of chromium: Science vs. U.S. law
1993 - IRG/WP 93-50014
The cooperation which existed among chromium chemical producers, industrial health laboratories, and governmet agencies was destroyed after 1970 by the advent of environmental activism and regulatory legislation. As prewar plants had been found to pose a serious cancer risk, this fact was the basis of EPA regulations, especially during the term of Joe Califano in HEW under Jimmy Carter. However, as health problems were identified by industry, the legal implications soon became apparent, and corporate scientists could release information only after clearance. This destroyed the free exchange of information necessary to the solution of scientific problems. Within the past few years, the closure of allied plants, the resolution of some superfund litigation, plus the release of records to the historical files at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, has clarified the scientific record. The following will be discussed: (1) The tendency of the present legal system to exaggerate risk. (2) Actual risks involved from inhalation, skin contact, and effluents. (3) the application of these principles to production, use and disposal of CCA and CCA-treated wood.
W H Hartford


Wood preservation in Australia
1984 - IRG/WP 3316
Wood preservation in Australia is presented as an integral part of the forest products industry. The history of its development, as well as its current status and activities are described. Preservation operations in Australia are broadly based, and the industry diversified to combat a wide range of hazards, and to utilise many wood species, for differing end-uses. The Timber Preservers’ Association of Australia is the industry’s affiliating body, listing 99 members, made up of treaters, suppliers and associates. In all, some 208 treatment plants provide about 0.9-1.0 million m3 of treated commodities per annum, utilising about 5000 t of CCA, boron and fluoride compounds and light organic solvent preservatives, together with 8 million litres of creosote and oil-based preservatives. The annual retail value of the industry is estimated at $94 million*). The details of standards, legislation and registration requirements which affect the industry’s operations are presented, together with a comment on the impact of environmental restrictions and union attitudes. Research and development spending is about $1.5 million per annum, 78% of which is accounted for by government bodies, with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation committing approximately $1 million of this. The industry spends about $150.000 per annum in direct funding for R & D work. The main projects being carried out in Australia have been listed. It is concluded that wood preservation has a sound future in Australia. However, all concerned must come to terms with health and safety aspects associated with the industry. In addition, standards and legislation requirements must move closer together, there should be much better promotion of wood preservation, and, finally, the industry must strive towards a more integrated structure. *) All dollars mentioned in the text refer to the Australian dollar.
H Greaves


The dry rot fungus (Serpula lacrymans) in nature and its history of introduction into buildings
1999 - IRG/WP 99-10300
For many years the True dry rot fungus (Serpula lacrymans (Wulf.: Fr.)Schroet.) has exclusively been found in buildings. That is why it is called the True dry rot fungus. The origin of the fungus has always been a mystery, but a wild ancestor must have occured. In the literature there is some information about finds of Serpula lacrymans in nature, however it is difficult to distinguish it from the closely related Serpula himantioides, so the identity of these finds are somewhat dubious. For example a specimen from 1896 kept in alcohol at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen and identified as Serpula lacrymans by the famous Danish mycologist Emil Rostrup proved to be Serpula himantioides on closer examination. A paper by Bagchee from 1954 reported finds of Serpula lacrymans in nature from the Himalayas in Northern India, and Cooke (1955) showed its occurrence on Mount Shasta in California, USA. Later Kotlaba (1992) revised 12 finds from nature of Serpula lacrymans from Bohemia and Moravia in the Czech Republic. We have visited all of these areas and either found Serpula lacrymans ourselves in nature or examined and confirmed dried herbarium specimens. During the last fifty years less than 20 collections have been made from these areas. The natural occurrence is believed to be limited by competeting species of fungi. Soil samples from the investigated areas have been analysed for their mineral content. Calcium was found in varying amounts but much less than in mortar infected by dry rot mycelium. Our theory concerning introduction of Serpula lacrymans into houses is that it did not occur until the 16th century. The explanation for this is that Danish and European houses prior to that period had been built entirely of wood, the so-called 'stavhus' and 'bulhus' (engl. transl. 'stave house' and 'bole house') and on stone foundations without mortar. Due to lack of timber a royal order prohibited the building of wooden houses. Instead studwork, bricks and mortar were introduced. About this time reports of severe dry rot attacks in houses began to occur in literature. So this is expected to be the period when the dry rot fungus first invaded the houses. It soon propagated strongly in the houses and spread from one house to another. Since then it has caused problems in houses whenever wood, mortar and moisture were combined.
J Bech-Andersen, S A Elborne


Wood preservation in Iran
1984 - IRG/WP 3270
The report sketches the history of the use of wood in Iran to the establishment of the country's national forest service and gives some figures for Iran's timber needs by the year 2000. Progress in wood preservation has been slow, although items such as railway sleepers and poles have been pressure treated since the first pressure impregnation plant was erected in 1932. Today there are only four pressure treatment plants in the country. These employ both creosote and water-borne preservatives. Pentachlorophenol and other organic solvent type preservatives are used by spraying, dipping and soaking. Termites are one of the main hazards. The report concludes by recommending that the wood preservation industry should be slowly expanded to meet the needs of the Iranian people and that, as Iran is self-sufficient in wood preservative materials, research should be deployed to investigate how these might best be used to preserve the country's timbers.
P Niloufari, R Cockcroft


The natural history of teredinid molluscs and other marine wood borers in Papua New Guinea
1975 - IRG/WP 410
The teredinids, commonly known as teredos or shipworms, are bivalve molluscs adapted to boring into wood. They are most closely related to the Family Pholadidae, or piddocks, which bore into mud, stone and coral. The teredinids have a relatively small, hemi-spherically shaped shell, the elongated body extending beyond the posterior end of the shell valves. The soft body, protected by the wood and the calcareous sheath the mantle secretes, contains most of the visceral mass posterior to the posterior adductor muscles. The siphons, which protrude from the burrow into the water for respiration and feeding, are relatively short. At their base are calcareous structures called pallets which seal off the burrow when the siphons are retracted. The shell valves, which function as a grinding tool during the boring action, gape anteriorly for the protusion of the foot and posteriorly for the protusion of the elongated body. As the anterior and posterior adductor muscles contract alternatively, the valves rock around the dorsoventral axis on their dorsal and ventral condyles. The foot holds the denticulated valves close to the head of the burrow so that. small particles of wood are rasped off when the posterior adductor muscles contract.
S M Rayner


Wood preservation in Italy
1985 - IRG/WP 3354
The report summarizes the history of wood preservation in Italy up to the present time. Information on the Italian climate and the main hazards to timber are dealt with and the amounts of timber grown and imported and exported tabulated. The main commodities treated are poles and sleepers. The amounts of preservative used have been estimated and details listed of the 10 pressure plants in the country. The centres where works of art are treated are mentioned, but no statistics are available on the amounts of preservative used in remedial treatments. Current regulations demand that all preservatives that are manufactured, imported or sold in Italy have to be registered. Certain insecticides are banned, but there are no other mandatory requirements either for wood preservatives or treated wood. The relevant organizations are given, together with a list of the Italian Standards which for wood preservation are of recent origin and mainly based on European Standards.
A Gambetta, E Orlandi, R Cockcroft


Natural durability of Sextonia rubra, an Amazonian tree species: description and origin
2017 - IRG/WP 17-10887
Sextonia rubra is a tropical tree species belonging to Lauraceae family. In French Guiana, its long lasting heartwood is largely exploited for different purposes including house construction, and furniture making. Decay tests have confirmed S. rubra natural durability, and led us to discover some variability. Rubrynolide and rubrenolide, which are two majors metabolites isolated from the heartwood of S. rubra, exhibit potent antifungal and termiticidal activities that result in the exceptional natural durability of this species heartwood. Interestingly, we have also described and isolated acylated precursors of these two secondary metabolites from the sapwood. Although the constitutions and total synthesis of rubrynolide and rubrenolide have been comprehensively described in literature, little is known about their origin and fate in the context of the heartwood formation process. HPLC was thus used to investigate the repartition of rubrenolide and rubrynolide as well as the acylated precursors in sapwood and heartwood of S. rubra, leading to propose that the biotransformation of the precursors into rubrenolide and rubrynolide occurs at the transition zone between sapwood and heartwood. Finally, 13 trees were sampled from natural populations characterized by different growth dynamics evaluated through dendrometric parameters, tree architecture description and bark desquamation. Our aim was to study the influence of life-history traits on S. rubra heartwood formation from a chemical quantitative and qualitative (LC-MS analysis) point of view. We observed significant variations concerning sapwood and heartwood extraction yields depending on the trees, as well as a noticeable variability of the heartwood chemical signature.
E Houël, A Rodrigues, E Nicolini, O Ngwete, C Duplais, D Stien, N Amusant


A summary of history and use of timber bridges in New Zealand
2017 - IRG/WP 17-40801
Wooden bridges have been an important part of road and rail networks in New Zealand. While wooden structures have largely been replaced by concrete and steel on major arteries they still have a place where lightweight, easily assembled structures are needed. These timber bridges may also be a cheaper alternative to other materials in roads which carry relatively low traffic loads. In the last ten years, there has been a resurgence in the installation of engineer designed wooden structures. Contrary to the traditional method of construction, these prefabricated components are manufactured in a factory and brought to the job site where they can be assembled quickly with a minimum of cutting and drilling. In this document we summarise the history and use of timber bridges in New Zealand. Most of the older bridges were constructed using Australian hardwood and native durable New Zealand timber. In 1950-60s, preservative treated timber particularly glue-laminated bridges were built. Currently few bridges are built entirely from wood. However, in many smaller bridges the superstructure and decking are built using treated wood. Using some specific case studies based on our historical service test data we looked at the durability and maintenance requirements of wooden bridges in New Zealand.
D Page, T Singh


Environmental protection and long term in-service sustainability of preserved wooden poles is secured by non-toxic barrier protection system – History and case studies in South Africa
2018 - IRG/WP 18-50340
Non-toxic flexible sheeting systems have been developed to encapsulate the ground contact regions of preserved wooden poles and prevent their premature failure in South Africa since 1992 but the technology also has a long history of resistance by individuals with vested interests in the built-in redundancies of such poles. The concept has, however, been simultaneously validated by many independent research institutions worldwide and IRG itself formed a Working Group in 1997 to examine the role of the technology in wood protection. This paper reviews the work done over the past 25 years to validate butt-encapsulation of preserved wooden poles with inert impermeable materials as a proven technology that prevents the loss of preservative from, and subsequent decay of, the protected poles. The paper also presents the findings of four case studies to that effect in South Africa.
A A W Baecker


Study on “Washing” used in Traditional Wooden Building in Japan -Survey in KawaraMachi Area, Gifu Prefecture
2019 - IRG/WP 19-10948
This study is about the actual method of Japanese lattice washing on the traditional buildings of KawaraMachi area, based on interview survey. KawaraMachi area is located on the river side of the Nagaragawa River, so since long years ago it flourished as a center of economic activities, by river transportation. Many wooden buildings influenced by these backgrounds exist in the city. These streets are designated as "Important Cultural Landscapes (Japan)". People in this area wash the Japanese lattice and timber parts of the house facing street with water. This custom keeps a distinctive townscape with yellow-brown wood surface that have dropped old colors. It is highly valued as a valuable historical cultural asset. Therefore, the actual method of “Japanese lattice washing” was investigated. As a result, follows were confirmed. 1. Japanese lattice washing is a custom since at least two or three generations ago from now. 2. Each house hold has handed down the each method of Japanese lattice washing custom.
K Tanaka, H Ishiyama