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Material


Other dimensions as agreed.

Nordic Softwood
Scandinavia is one of the largest exporters of softwood in the world. Softwood differs from hardwood, or broadleave wood, by generally being brighter and more capable of withstanding heavy loads.

Pine and spruce
The Nordic countries produce and export timber from two conifer species; Nordic Red Pine (Pinus silvetris) and Nordic White Spruce (Picea abies). They have many basic properties in common. The fibres are long and the timber is very strong in relation to its weight. Since Redwood and Whitewood are som similar in their biological compositions they are assigned identical, high strength ratings in European norms and standards. Differences are for example the colour, optimal cutting angle and to some extend suitable use.

In Europe, Nordic White Spruce has traditionally been used for construction work, while Nordic Red Pine, has dominated in furniture and joinery work. However, there is no intrinsic reason why it should be so. In general, both types of wood can be used for all the above mentioned applications.

Quality Criteria and Grades
The quality of sawn wood can be specified by many factors: knots, blue stain, fissures, deviations in dimensions, deformation, wane et cetera.

The factors are judged by visual classification, usually at the sawmills. The oldest grading rules of sawn wood of spruce and pine, are often called "the Green Book". These rules have been revised to "Nordic Timber grading", often refferd to as "the Blue Book", which is valid in all Nordic countries. Accordingly, Nordic Timber grading is the leading system today. New grading rules are being drawn up. These might become currrent after 1999 throughout Europe.

According to the rules in the Blue Book, sawn wood is categorised into three grades: A, B, and C. The highest grade, A, can be divided into sub-grades A1 (Highest) to A4. Grade A wood is primarily used for visible products such as windows, furniture, handmade tools, booats and toys. Wood of grades B and C is used for doors, building construction, floors, beams, sound proofing partitions and wind breaks. In the Nordic countries there is also a grade D, which is the lowest quality wood of this grade is only used as packaging material.

Standard Measurements
The cross-sectional dimensions of Nordic timber comply with the standard table of dimensions approved by the International Organization for Standardization. Other dimensions are also available, however since the sawmills have, according to the NTC, a good reputation for sawing timber to exact sizes specified.

Moisture Content
Moisture content is measured at the weight of the water in wood expressed in percentage of the weight of the oven-dry wood.

The sawn wood is dried artificially to give the wood protection. It is almost always dreied in kilns, to a moisture content of around 20 per cent or less for sawn timber and 17 per cent or less for surfaced timber. Many Nordic sawmills also offer timber specially dried down to eight per cent. Kiln drying increases the value of sawn wood and also increases its range of applications. The low moisture content of the timber permits long-distance haulage with reduced risk of damage.

Knots
Knots, formed by branches growing in the body of the tree, are common on spruce and pine. When grading wood, the type, number and dimensions of the knots are important factors. According to the Nordic grading rules, wood with no or few knots recieves a higher grade than wood with many knots. In Scandinavia, knots are regarded as giving life to the wood. However, too many and too large knots make the wood more fragile and reduce the overall quality of the wood.

Fire resistance
Spruce and pine burn, but burn slowly and do not emit any poisonous gases, except for carbon monoxide. Wood in general retains most of its strength at high temperatures, whereas steel bars and the armouring in concrete for example softens. Wood is considered as being a material which can catch fire, whereas for example plastic floors and textiles are considered being inflammable according to Scandinavian norms.

Insulation Capability
Wood insulates about ten times better than concrete/stone, and about 100 times better than steel/aluminium. Insulation is very important in countries where the greater part of energy costs relates to the costs of air conditioning.

Durability
The durability/strength of Nordic softwood is in parity with most North American types of wood, and twice as good as most commercial types of broadleave wood. Furthermore, there are wooden houses in Scandinavia which are over 1000 years old.

The FSC Certificate
The Forest Stewardship Council, FSC, is an international, independent, non-profit making, non-governmental organisation founded in 1993 to "support enviromentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests". It was founded to meet consumers' (mainly European consumers') increasing demands that wood and other forest products purchases should not contribute to the destruction of forests but instead helt to secure forest resources for the future. The FSC has introduced an international labelling scheme for forest products, which provides a credible guarantee that the product comes from a well-managed forest. It endorses both natural forests and plantations. The FSC is an organisation with members from different enviromental and social groups, the timber trade and the forestry profession, indigenous people's organisations, community forestry groups and forest product certification organisations from around the world. It certifies forests, but also follows the product from the forest through all the stages of the production process until it reaches the end user; this is done in order to be able to verify that a product originates from a certified forest.

Sweden has the largest area of FSC certified forests in the world, about nine million hectares, which is about half of the total FSC certified forest area in the world.