With all the recent rain - and trees - falling along the Half Moon Bay Coastside, it made me wonder: where will all of this wood go? Can we put it to good use?
That reminded me of an article I received recently from my friends at Westcity Inspections (excellent home inspectors in the Bay Area!) about TRANSPARENT wood!
What? Wood you can see through, like glass? YES!
Apparently, transparent wood is emerging as one of the most promising materials of the future. It has recently become popular due to its combination of aesthetic appeal and practicality. It's a type of wood that has been treated with a special process that makes it appear clear, just like glass.
The wood is created by removing the lignin from the wood, which is a natural polymer that gives wood its color and opacity. To do this, the wood is first treated with a mild acid, often a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid. This process removes the lignin, leaving the cellulose fibers of the wood intact. The wood is then treated with a special wax coating to prevent moisture and oxygen from penetrating the wood and to prevent the lignin from being re-deposited. This wax coating also gives the wood a glossy, glass-like appearance.
The process of creating transparent wood can be done on a variety of species, including hardwoods and softwoods. The type of wood used will depend on the intended application, as some species are better suited to certain uses than others. Hardwoods are generally better for furniture and other interior applications, while softwoods are better for window and door frames.
Transparent wood is extremely durable and resistant to water, making it ideal for a variety of applications. It can be used to make furniture and kitchen countertops, as well as windows and doors. It is also often used to make iPhone cases, as it is light yet strong. Transparent wood can also be used for exterior applications such as cladding, due to its resistance to water and other elements.
Transparent wood is an excellent material for a variety of projects due to its combination of strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal. It is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic and glass, as it is a renewable resource that can be sustainably harvested. It is also very easy to work with, making it ideal for DIY projects. With its unique combination of beauty and practicality, transparent wood is becoming increasingly popular for both interior and exterior applications.
How cool is that?!