The potential of young, green finger-jointed Eucalyptus grandis lumber for roof truss manufacturing
South Africa is a timber-scarce country that will most probably experience a shortage of structural softwood lumber in the near future. In this study the concept of using young, green finger-jointed Eucalyptus grandis lumber was evaluated for possible application in roof truss structures while the timber is still in the green, unseasoned state. Drying will occur naturally while the lumber is fixed within the roof truss structure. The objectives of this study were (1) to investigate the strength and stiffness variation of the finger-jointed E. grandis product in both the green and dry state for different age and dimension lumber, (2) to investigate the variation in density, warp and checking in the lumber when dried in a simulated roof-space environment and (3) to evaluate the potential of this finger-jointed product as a component in roof truss structures. Green finger-jointed E. grandis lumber of ages 5, 11 and 18 years and dimensions 48 × 73 mm and 36 × 111 mm from Limpopo province were evaluated. The study showed that the young finger-jointed E. grandis timber had very good flexural, tensile parallel to grain, and shear properties in both the green and dry state. The mean and characteristic modulus of elasticity and modulus of rupture values of the finger- jointed E. grandis product were higher and the variation lower in comparison to currently used South African pine sources. The tensile perpendicular to grain and compression perpendicular to grain strength did not conform to SANS requirements for the lowest structural grade (S5). Both tree age and product dimension were sources for variation in the physical and strength properties. Based on the results from this study the concept of producing roof trusses from green, finger-jointed young E. grandis timber has potential.
Keywords: checking, green gluing, MOE, MOR, shrinkage, splitting, strength properties, warp