Lumber has undergone significant changes over the past century. About 100 years ago, sturdy old growth trees were extensively harvested due to high demand, pushing natural forests close to extinction. Today, the primary source of wood for construction comes from lumber farms (grown for the sole purpose of being used for timber), where trees grow faster but are less dense. Consequently, modern 2×4s differ substantially from those of the past.
Old growth trees, marked by more rings signifying slower growth, are older and denser, making their wood stronger and more resistant to certain environmental factors and insects. In contrast, new growth trees are cultivated in managed forests, are younger, and grow faster.
It’s crucial to understand that the characteristics of wood can vary widely based on the tree species, specific growing conditions, and how the wood is processed.
The The Craftsman Blog the author of this viral 2018 image, clarifies that the two pieces of wood (one with 84 rings and the other with 6 rings) are both Southern Yellow Pine, cut 100 years apart. A Facebook post by the author confirms they are the same wood type, dispelling debates that they aren’t (link to his post here).
Text credit: Earth Unreal
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