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Understanding Wood and Wood Products


Understanding Wood and Wood Products

Number: ECO 624
Credits: 3
Format: In person, UWW (CPE), Amherst, Flex

Semester: Fall
Meeting Times: Tues/Thurs 1:00-2:15
Room: Olver Design Building 162

LMS Link


Alexander Schreyer,
M.A.Sc., Dipl.-Ing.

Senior Lecturer and BCT Program Director

Office: Olver Design Building 318
Phone: +1 (413) 545-1976

Office Hours | Faculty Page | LinkedIn

Course Description

(formerly BCT 597W)

Wood is an amazing building material: It is beautiful and warm to the touch. It is easy to machine and abundantly available. It is light, yet strong and stiff. And best of all: It comes from a renewable source. To build with wood, however, requires understanding its peculiarities: the variability of its properties, its interaction with water and the possibility of biodeterioration.

This course expands on BCT 304 and introduces graduate students to the physical and mechanical properties of wood as applies to construction and architecture. It provides an overview of wood-based products and exposes students to structural systems in wood. Basic laboratory techniques for physical measurement and mechanical testing are introduced.

Open to graduate students only.

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Learning Goals

  • Appreciation for the qualities of wood as a building material through evaluation of its properties, manufacturing techniques and aesthetic appeal
  • Awareness of properties that affect the performance of wood. In particular, understanding of the wood-moisture relationship
  • Understanding of typical and potential applications of wood
  • Awareness of structural systems for wood and methods to plan and manufacture these
  • Understanding of wood-based products used in construction, their manufacture, properties and peculiarities
  • Awareness of importance of experimental verification of material properties
  • Introduction into structural testing equipment, wood drying, and laboratory measurements
  • Application of basic wood technology and anatomy to problem statements.


  • Forest Products Society, “Wood Handbook – Wood as an Engineering Material“.
  • A 15x or 20x loupe for inspection of wood samples.

See syllabus for details.

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