WTS Winter Seminar

The Wood Technology Society
27 Dec 2019

Martin Ansell presenting Advances in Wood Science.

The Wood Technology Society held their annual winter seminar session in London on Tuesday 17th December. This year’s well attended event was sponsored by Lignia Wood Company and took the theme of the Past, Present and Future of Wood Technology.


Gervais Sawyer

Gervais Sawyer, above, (Timber Consultant) set the scene with an entertaining and inspiring look at some of the heroes of wood technology – from the first use of mechanised saws in China in the 5th Century BC. Lu Ban, the engineer and inventor went on to be revered as the god of carpentry! Onwards through Talos in ancient Greece to many inventors in Europe in the 18th Century and up to the modern day. It was truly fascinating to appreciate the innovations which have given us the wood-working and wood-protection technologies of today. He finished with a host of suggestions for wood science heroes in other fields, and laid down the gauntlet for us to identify the many others whom we admire and recount their stories. Watch this space – the WTS may well rise to this challenge!


Next Morwenna Spear (Bangor University) covered the options of generating ‘Tailor-made timber’ here and now. Not in machining, but through wood modification to protect timber from biological attack or to reduce dimensional instability, and as a potential springboard for new products and technologies.Morwenna Spear

Her review covered the common wood modification techniques (chemical, thermal and resin or polymer-based modification). Many products have emerged onto the market and awareness of the differences between them may help in selecting the best modified timber for the task.


Martin Ansell

Martin Ansell (Bath University) concluded the session with his popular Advances in Wood Science and Technology talk (by invitation for those who missed it at Timber 2019) with some additions. The future of wood technology ranges from robotics and additive manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing, through to developments in wood modification (to transparent wood, densified wood and beyond…) and innovation in timber engineering. The wide range of applications and technologies is continually growing, from energy storage to shape-morphing materials. Similarly, the application of new technologies to wood industry challenges, such as CT scanning of logs or the use of artificial intelligence to detect insect attack. 


Gervais Sawyer – The greats of wood – ancient and modern

Morwenna Spear – Tailor made timber – new approaches to durability and sustainability

Martin Ansell – Recent advances in wood science and timber engineering

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