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Usage of woods: Natural materials

[ Hanafiee Azlee, 15 September 2021 }


Many of us must have at least one wooden material in our homes. Perhaps, a piece of furniture, or musical instruments, or accessories! Wood is one of the natural materials that has been on demand for the longest of time. It has been used for thousands of years for fuel, as a construction material, for making tools and weapons, furniture, paper and many more! The functionality of wood has led humanity to create something beyond our imagination! I will be talking about the uses of woods for the next few paragraphs. So, are you ready to be amazed by nature’s wonder?



Structural uses

Construction


Wood is known for its durability, and it is commonly used in the construction industry. It is one of the most used natural materials in building houses, or huts, or shelter, places of worship and many more. Architects in ancient time have constructed many buildings that are made out of these natural materials. Some have yet to be demolished due to it holding many historical values. Wood has always been the backbone of many structures before metal took over. Right now, wood is not the primary support in home construction, however it is more commonly used to build fences or for its decorative value.


Commercial uses:

Furniture

Wood is the essential component used to develop furniture. Individuals have been utilizing natural objects, for example, tree stumps or rocks, as furniture since the start of human civilisation. Archaeological examination shows that from around 30,000 years ago, our ancestors began to build their own furnishings, by using wood, stone, and bones. As technology began to advance and human creativity began to expand, wood furniture pieces have been carefully curated and structured to fit to people’s need and space. Furnitures nowadays are assembled in a much complex shape and structure, which gives me a strong platform to say – change is the only constant.


Fuel

In the fuel industry, many people have used wood to create energy in production of heat. The revelation of how to make fire by burning wood is viewed as one of mankind's most significant advances. The utilization of wood as a fuel source for warming is a lot more established and have been utilized by Neanderthals. Today, burning of wood is the biggest utilization of energy from a strong fuel biomass. Wood fuel can be used for cooking and warming, and at times for powering steam motors and steam turbines that create power. Something so simple, yet it can create wonders.


Ethnobotany uses:


Medicinal uses

Before westernized medication took over, our ancestors resorted to nature to heal the hinjured and the sick. They used natural material such as leaves, roots, tree bark, fruits, and flowers, to create healing agents that counterattack different illnesses and symptoms. Wood oil can also be extracted and used as antiseptic and astringent. For instance, the Sandalwood tree, Santalum album, is one of the trees that is native to India and has many medicinal agents to treat a wide variety of sickness. A tree a day keeps the doctor away![j2]

Cultural uses:


Miswak

The miswak is a teeth cleaning twig that is used widely by Muslims. The twig is made out of the tree of Salvadora persica, also known as mustard tree. Miswak is known for its dental properties. It has the ability to control bacterial formation, which may help prevent dental plague. The used of miswak has also been stated in the Quran and how Prophet Muhammad SAW was a frequent user of miswak. Not only has it been scientifically proven to be better than normal toothbrush, but it is also much more cost-efficient and easier to carry around. I used to have a miswak before and I loved the taste of the twig. It tasted sweeter than jasmine, slightly bitter than cinnamon and fresher than mints. Nature is so complex it gets confusing, yet it is what make them beautiful.


Musical instrument

Do you know how to play a guitar? Or a violin? Or drums? I wish I am that talented to play those musical instruments! Wood has been used for making and creating musical instruments since early century! Native tribes have their own traditional musical instruments and to be played during celebrations, festivities, or rituals. Wood is used in many musical instruments as it is anisotropic, which implies the vibrations are stronger and can move throughout the design. It does make a huge difference if you were to play a piano made out of wood and metal. Wood just sounds ethereal.


The significance of wood in the existences of our forefathers is outweighed by no other single material. Without their knowledge, we won’t be here.Our relationship to this natural material has remained unaltered over the long run, and our strategies for developing and managing woodlands continue to rely on techniques established by early development. So, maybe this is the reason we underestimate it: wood has been a piece of our lives for quite sometimes, and we most likely can't imagine it not being there

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