Timber and Its Use in Commercial Truck Construction

Many types of timber are used in commercial truck bodywork today, and it is used in a variety of different forms ranging from sections for framing, chipboard for partitions, to faced plywood for decorative panels. Manufactured timber panels are also used in conjunction with other materials such as aluminum and plastics to produce panels for special purposes which include heat and sound insulation and to improve resistance to general wear and the weather.

Some timbers are more suitable for vehicle bodywork than others because of their superior strength, resistance to wear, decay and fire, or appearance.

Although timber is used in many forms, it is all obtained from either soft wood trees or temperate or tropical hardwoods.

Softwoods.

There are a large number of softwood trees, which include many varieties of pine, fur, and spruce which make up about 90 per cent of all timbers used generally in the U.S.A and Europe. These trees are normally found in the northern hemisphere; most of them are cone bearing and evergreen, but there are some exceptions. In fact some types of softwoods are harder than hardwoods.

There is a good supply of softwoods and since less time is required to mature and they are easier to work they are generally cheaper than hardwoods. Softwoods are uses for the sides and floors of mineral carrying vehicles, since it is cheaper and easier to replace. It is also used for manufactured panels for other commercial vehicle bodies.

Hardwoods.

These are obtained from broad leaf trees, and there are over 2000 varieties including such well known types as oak, ash, teak and mahogany. All basal wood, which is much softer than softwoods, is in fact a hardwood, since it is the structure that decides the group not the texture.

Because the hardwoods take much longer to mature, are more difficult to obtain and work, and take much longer to season they are considerably more expensive. However, they are generally much stronger, more durable and have far more uses than softwoods.

Hardwoods are divided into two groups:-

1. Tropical. These are from trees found in Central Africa, India and South America and include the many different types of teak, mahogany and ebony.

2. Temperate. The varieties found in this group are oak, walnut, and ash are some of the temperate hardwoods found in U.S.A, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Hardwoods are used for framing and in some forms of veneer on panels for interior finishing. Also hardwoods such as ash are very suitable for curved framing members.

Manufactured Panels.

Plywood, block-board, chipboard, MDF and hardboard panels are often used instead of solid timber panels, and have many advantages. They can be obtained in larger sizes, are often stronger and are more stable, which means labor costs can be reduced when compared with other methods of covering large areas with equivalent tongue and groove jointed timber.

Plywood.

Plywood is made by gluing layers of veneer together at right angles to each other. This prevents splitting and greatly increases the strength of the panel. Curved members can also be produced by laying the veneers on a suitable mold or form before gluing.

Birch, ash, pine and fir are used in the manufacture of plywood but many other varieties are used for the face side of decorative panels. Plywood is obtainable in several thicknesses and sizes from which vehicle body floors can be made in one piece.

Block board.

There are a number of manufactured boards making use of solid timber core stock. One of these is block board and this consists of softwood glued together and faced with veneers of timber such as birch and mahogany. Large panels up to about 2 inches in thickness are produced and used in flooring and partitions.

Chipboard.

Chipboard is made from graded wood chips which are bonded together under pressure with synthetic resins and adhesives to form large strong panels 0.5 inch to 1 inch thick. These can be faced with many different materials to give painted, plastic or veneered surfaces. It has replaced solid timber for many purposes and because of the sizes manufactured it is a useful vehicle building material.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF).

MDF is manufactured by bonding wooden fibers together using glue, heat and pressure. It is a very adaptable material, but can only be used for interior bodywork. It must be sealed / painted as it gradually emits urea formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen and eye, throat and lung irritant. Proper safety procedures should always be used when working with this material in any way.

Hardboard.

This is another useful material which, because of its smaller thicknesses is very suitable for interior paneling. It is made from compressed timber fibers and usually has a smooth side with the reverse side having a rough or mesh finish.

Identification of timbers.

Since many types of timber are used in vehicle body work, it is possible to identify the more common ones such as oak and teak. Most types have distinct features and properties, and when samples are carefully examined it is often possible to identify a particular type. The following features should be considered:-

1. The general appearance.

  • i) Color – red, brown, yellow, white.
  • ii) Grain – close or open, straight or twisted.
  • iii) Texture – hard or soft, rough or smooth.
  • iv) Figure – shape of grain

2. Weight.

Weighing a sample is not a reliable test since the weight will depend on the moisture content and even the weights of samples may vary.

3. Use a hand lens.

Examination of the surface and end grain may reveal distinctive features.

4. Use a microscope.

The use of a microscope will enable a much closer examination of a thin section.

5. Dissolving a sample.

This will allow a microscopic examination of the shape and size of cells and fibers.

It should be remembered that features and color may be affected by the origin, rate of growth, and treatment since felling and many other factors.

Timber Defects.

One of the main disadvantages with timber is that defects may be present or may develop later. Some of these can be treated satisfactorily but others may require the component to be replaced. Some defects can be avoided completely by careful felling, conversion and seasoning, but a knowledge of the defects will enable you to make the best possible use of the timber that may be somewhat inferior.

Knots.

These are not always a serious defect since in many cases timber is covered with paint, panels or other disguises and in timbers such as knotty pine they are treated so as to improve the appearance. On the other hand knots should not be present in framing timbers, some decorative panels or other situations where strength or appearance may be affected. Knots are nearly always present and timber is often graded by the distribution and number of knots present. Some timbers have more than others, so careful selection is usually worthwhile.

Splits and shakes.

Shakes appear in various forms and are not always apparent until the tree is felled and sawn into logs. Heart and cup shakes may not present much of a problem but other types such as the ring and star shakes can result in valuable timber being unusable. During the drying out or seasoning the moisture leaves the timber more quickly from the ends than the sides. If this is too rapid other splits may occur.

Woodworm.

Many types of timber are affected by various insects, and chemical treatment may be effective. The alternative is to remove and burn the infected part and fit a new piece.

Dry rot.

Timber, which is stored in conditions which are damp or lack ventilation will lose its strength and become soft and spongy. If this happens timbers should be destroyed.

Warping.

This is a common defect and is caused by uneven shrinkage during seasoning. Softwoods are more prone to this, since softwoods contain more moisture than hardwoods. Warping can be reduced by sawing the logs radially instead of tangently. If you examine the end grain of planks it is possible to decide which way they have been cut from the log.

Causes of timber defects.

  • i) Storm damage.
  • ii) Exposed growing conditions.
  • iii) Inexperienced felling.
  • iv) Incorrect conversion.
  • v) Poor seasoning.
  • vi) Bad storage conditions.
  • vii) Careless selection and use.

Seasoning timbers.

Living trees may have a moisture content of between 50% and 100% and since this is too high the trees, when felled have to be seasoned or dried until the moisture content is reduced. Timber for vehicle body work should have a moisture content of 12 %- 15%. If the moisture content is too high the timber will dry out further and shrink after use. If it is too low the timber will absorb moisture from the atmosphere and possibly swell. To find the moisture content a sample of timber is weighed in its normal condition and then weighed again after it has been carefully dried out. The moisture content is then calculated as follows:-

The moisture Content of the timber (M.C. %) is calculated by taking the wet weight, subtracting the dry weight, and dividing the answer by the dry weight and multiplying by one hundred.

The method of drying out a piece of timber to obtain its moisture content is unnecessary in practice, because electrical instruments are used to give instant readings There are a number of reasons why timber should be properly treated (seasoned):-

  • I) It is much stronger than unseasoned timber.
  • II) There is less risk of decay and attack by insects.
  • III) Painting, staining and other finishing processes can be carried out successfully on seasoned timber.

We should remember that the cells in a piece of timber are like wooden buckets. Large amounts of water in the cavities and the walls, so it is essential for timber to be properly seasoned. After the trees have been felled, the logs are taken to the saw mill where they are converted or sawn into planks or other sections. Since this exposes a greater surface area to the atmosphere seasoning time is reduced. The method used to saw or convert the logs will also affect the shrinkage, warping or other timber defects discussed previously.

Air Drying.

The sawn timber is piled in stacks with sticks or wooden strips separating each layer. This allows the air to circulate freely around each piece. The top of the stack should be protected from the sun and the rain, and since moisture will dry out more quickly from the ends of the planks, these are sometimes protected to prevent end splits. The air drying method is cheap and often leads to better quality timber, but it is a slow method, taking up to several years. The timber is liable to staining and insect attack and the moisture content is very rarely less than the surrounding area.

Kiln Drying.

This is a much quicker method, which results in timber with a more closely controlled moisture content. The timber is placed on trolleys and put in a kiln where the temperature and humidity are controlled. Air circulation may be by natural draft or forced by electric fans. Artificially seasoned timbers may be more brittle and other defects may occur, but the reduced time required is big advantage. Some timbers are air dried for a period before being kiln dried.

Timber Storage.

Seasoning timber processes may take several years and the timber may be stored for a further period before it is used. In order to keep it in good condition certain precautions must be observed:-

  • i) To prevent staining the timber should be protected from chemicals and other foreign matter, e.g. soot.
  • ii) Excessive rain and heat should be avoided and if stored indoors sufficient ventilation should be provided.
  • iii) It should be stacked in a proper manner to prevent boards becoming twisted or warped. The supporting blocks should be directly under each other otherwise the timber will begin to bend.

Wood preservatives suitable for use prior to painting.

This type of preservative is usually of a low viscosity and can normally be used prior to the application of coach or decorative enamels and their painting process. It can be applied by brush, spray or dipping and is normally allowed overnight to dry before application of the above mentioned paint systems. This promotes good adhesion and helps to reduce the problems of timber disease and rot.

Before using this type of product it is essential to make sure that it does not contain any waxes or silicone additives.

Priming of timbers.

Before the priming of any timber it is important to check that the timber is clean, dry and free from any oil residues. The timber should be thoroughly flatted with a suitable grade of glass paper and degreased with a ‘lint-free’ cloth which has been dampened with white spirits or a suitable solvent.

Priming should then be carried out using a suitable primer. It is essential when priming that all areas are adequately primed. This includes timber ends and tongue and grooves, where areas are to be covered with metal fitments or body sections. The reason for this is to prevent the ingress of moisture which would result in paint flaking.

Timbers containing knots should be treated in the following manner, prior to priming:-

I) The knots should be burnt with a blowtorch to extract surplus resin.

II) The timber should be thoroughly rubbed down and degreased as above.

III) Each knot should be treated with one or two coats of shellac, and allowed sufficient time to dry.

IV) Prime the timber as above.

Wood finishes.

These are non-pigmented finishes. Among those available are wax polishes, sealer coats, long and short oil varnishes, alkyd varnishes, yacht varnishes, single pack polyurethanes and teak oil. All these are suitable for brush application. For spray application only, use the following – cellulose lacquers, two pack polyurethanes, two pack catalyzed lacquers and single and two pack epoxies. The requirements of a wood finish are:-

  • i) Color flexibility.
  • ii) Build.
  • iii) Life expectancies.
  • iv) Acid or alkali resistance.

Sealers and wax polishes.

Sealers – These are cellulose based.

Waxes – These are petroleum based. One example is chilled wax which is fairly quick drying, gives little discoloration to the wood, and produces a good average finish.

Waxes – Silicone based. These waxes are very quick drying and produce a hard waterproof finish. The wood needs to be sealed before use, and it tends to give it a cloudy appearance.

Waxes – Beeswax. This is a natural product from honeycomb which has been rendered down with white spirits. It can be applied by brush or rag and produces a good finish that can be re-polished.

Long oil varnishes.

These contain more oil than resin in its formulation. The resin used is usually an alkyd or fossil resin. Long oil varnishes are flexible, due to the amount of oil and have good durability, making it ideal for exterior usage. It also has a fairly clear finish. Polyurethanes are used for wood which is left in exposed conditions, but tends to be rather soft for interior use. The life expectancy is two to two and a half years, and a four coat system is recommended, i.e. apply one very thin (diluted) coat followed by three full coats.

Short oil Varnishes.

These varnishes are quick drying but tend to be rather brittle. They dry to a hard finish and are more suitable for interior use, as they do not have the flexibility for exterior use.

Alkyd varnishes.

These are clear quick drying varnishes which are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. They are popular as a varnish for vehicle bodies, and are also applied as a four-coat system.

Teak oil.

This oil is easy to apply, but liberal coatings are required to restore the natural color of the timber.

French polishing.

This is based on shellac and methylated spirits. It is quick drying and causes the timber to darken. It is applied using a pad, made of a packed piece of wool or gauze, covered by a piece of cotton cloth. It is however, brittle and easily damaged by water and white spirits. It is mainly used in antique furniture.

Nitrocellulose lacquers.

These lacquers come in two types, the pre-catalyzed and the nitro-urethanes. These contain amino and polyurethane resins respectively.

Conclusion.

There is no doubt of the advantages of using timber in commercial truck bodywork today. Certainly other materials have and will come along to try and replace it, but for its versatility and availability it is still unrivalled and will be for a long time to come.

Knowing your timbers and how to look after them will ensure the maximum life expectancy from your truck or commercial vehicle.

When to Hire a Commercial Remodeling Contractor

If you own an office building or warehouse in order to get your business processes done, you will realize that the more up-to-date and functional it is, the smoother your company will run. The fact is that there are many different types of contractors out there that are bidding to do work for both residential and commercial remodeling in Portland. Many of these contractors have a lot of experience and can offer high quality services at very reasonable rates. With the right contractor, you can create the perfect commercial layout for your company. One of the best ways to find a reliable company to do this is through the use of referrals.

To break it down to the basics, contractors can either be used for residential construction, or used for commercial construction. Most commercial remodeling in Portland is done by contractors that have a lot of experience in projects surrounding business and industry-related buildings. This could be for retail office spaces, government buildings, hospitals, restaurants, and apartment or rental buildings. No matter what type of business you run, these contractors should have a wide base of knowledge about the rules and restrictions that come with commercial construction. They will know about the amount of smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, structural extensions, codes for electrical outlets, and other repairs that are necessary when performing commercial remodeling in Portland. They will know restroom regulations as well as any other codes that apply.

Getting a good referral for a commercial contractor will come down to looking into referral services. You can go to other business owners that have recently done remodels and ask them about their experience and the pros and cons of the company that they used. You can also get on the internet and check out sites like the better business bureau as well as other services in order to find reviews of different companies.

Once you have gotten some good referrals from people that you know or viable internet sources, it is now time to get some bids.

The Basics of Post Construction Commercial Cleaning

When a new building or addition is constructed, there is an obnoxious and unsafe amount of dust, debris, and material scraps left behind. The construction crew is not paid or appointed to clean this mess up when they are done, so it is up to the property owners to outsource professional cleanup teams if they want their new property to shine and sparkle.

Attempting post-construction cleaning on your own is not only overwhelmingly tedious and tiresome, it can be dangerous without the proper supplies and resources. A professional cleaning company has the training, tools, and equipment to ensure all proper hygienic precautions are taken. Continue reading to learn about the basics of post-construction cleaning services.

Post Construction Clean-Up

Trash Removal

Before all the small cleaning details can be managed, the trash and scrap materials must be removed and thrown away. A construction site cleaning crew safely disposes of hazardous materials, trash, and all other forms of debris left over from construction. Anything that can be recycled is recycled, and all other materials are disposed of safely and properly. This includes leftover wood, scrap metal, nails, soda cans, plastic, paper, organic material, and everything else.

Dust Removal

The most obnoxious part of construction work is the leftover dust. Layers and layers of dust will cover every surface, and even enter registers, vents, and ductwork. This dust is a result of sanding, sawing, demolishing, and more, so it contains a wide range of hazardous particles such as wood, dirt, and metal fragments.

In order to eliminate dust properly, you must use certain supplies, tools, and procedures. Believe it or not, there is a special method to dust removal, and it is more than just wiping it away. A professional commercial cleaning company has the training, tools, and equipment to locate all areas of dust accumulation, including vents, registers, and duct work, and eliminate it entirely.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Once all the trash and dust is removed, every square-inch of surfaces, nooks, and crannies, including the indoor air environment, is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Specialized products and equipment are used to complete this part of the post construction site clean up process.

When the cleaning and sanitizing are finished, a good commercial cleaning company will end the project with a test called a “white glove inspection.” They will actually don a clean white glove and walk through the property wiping their fingers on every surface to ensure it is entirely unsoiled.

Top Ten Reasons to Repaint Your Commercial Building

Number 10: Regulatory Concerns

Meeting regulations is one of the most basic reasons for repainting a building.

Number 9: Safety Concerns

Safety concerns are another basic reason for repainting a commercial building. Repainting signs and markings in the parking area keeps traffic flowing smoothly and safely, and helps insure a pleasant shopping experience.

Number 8: Corporate Changes

Taking a business into a new direction may require you to alter the appearance of your facilities. Repainting the interior and exterior of a commercial building is a fast way to reinvent a business and face the challenges of the future.

Number 7: Historical Restoration

Older buildings have a history that may be beneficial to your business. Repainting your building in authentic historical colors may help you integrate your business with a municipal historic district, and may invite a new clientele.

Number 6: Creating an Identity

If you have recently acquired a new commercial building, repainting the structure is the clearest signal that you can send to potential customers that the building is under new management.

Number 5: In Place of Replacement

Compared to replacement of materials, painting your commercial building is very cost effective, and can help you stretch a facility budget to met other challenges and keep your building looking its best for workers and visitors.

Number 4: Faded Glory

You may need to repaint your commercial building when colors start to fade or discolor. Although exterior building paints are crafted for long-life, ultraviolet light breaks down the coating’s structure and causes the color to fade or change over time. Repainting your commercial building gives the structure a facelift and presents a clean and fresh aspect to visitors.

Number 3: Add Value

To prop up the building’s value with minimum expense. In addition to being cheaper than material replacement, repainting a commercial building helps improve the value of your facility.

Number 2: Early Paint Failure

Suffering from paint failure? It is definitely time to repaint your commercial building. Paint failure is the painting industry’s term for cracking, peeling and other issues that arise with coatings. Generally poor surface preparation lies behind most paint failure, although some paint failure is due to using cheap or improperly mixed paints. Using the wrong type of paint for a given surface can also lead to paint failure.

Number One Reason to Repaint Your Commercial Building: Customer Perception

If your visitors and guests are asking about the last time you repainted your commercial building, your facility is overdue for a new paint job. Customers notice the condition of your building first, but are not likely to say anything out loud. If they do say something about the appearance of your building, listen carefully. What they have to say could change your business. Your potential customers may look elsewhere after seeing your dilapidated exterior. Your aesthetic appearance may not necessarily represent your company’s abilities, but that’s how your customers will likely interpret them. Customers do judge a book by it’s cover!

10 Benefits of Commercial Landscape Maintenance

It is a known fact that a well-preserved and maintained landscape adds to the aesthetic appeal and value of your brand and enhances the overall image of your business. On the contrary, a poorly maintained landscape repels customers and there is a high possibility that they won’t even enter your interior space. First impression is the last impression, after all.

An adequately maintained commercial landscape attracts customers towards your business and marks a professional impression in their minds. From small enterprises to large corporates, manufacturing plans to clubs-all gain huge benefits from commercial landscape maintenance.

Below are the top 10 benefits enterprises can achieve through commercial landscape maintenance:

1. Building an eco-friendly environment

A green environment is a clean environment and it makes your clients breathe fresh air helping them realize the importance you give to your workplace environment. It adds to your professional image in the eyes of the client and makes you their first choice for doing business.

2. Making your Commercial Landscape highly Attractive

Often while travelling you see big lush green beautifully maintained offices, don’t your eyes stick to? That’s what a well-maintained landscape does, it makes you want to visit the office and see what the inside environment is like.

3. Helps in establishing your Brand and building a Clean Image

Your business is what your clients perceive of it. A commercial landscape with well-preserved plants and trees all around leave a lasting impression on your clients and makes them feel that you pay attention to every minute detail in your workplace, from professional work to professional space.

4. Enhanced Employee Productivity

An enterprise is only as good as its employees. Your employees work hard for you every day but even they need a fresh and healthy environment for their lunch breaks and between work walks. A clean environment refreshes your employees multiple times during the day, increases their productivity and boosts their performance.

5. Adds to your Business Value and Attracts more Clients

A beautiful commercial landscape architecture adds diversity to your business and makes you stand out from your competitors. It attracts more clients towards your business and increases your market demand.

6. Maintains Standardization

When your commercial landscape complies with the established design standards, it helps you to doing business effectively and avoids uncomfortable encounters with business-district communities.

7. Physical and Psychological Advantages

Numerous researches have proved that interaction with trees, grass and other plants helps humans get rid of their work stress and instills refreshed productivity in them.

8. Economic Advantages

As per the reports of the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association, a beautifully maintained commercial landscape leads to a 14% increase in the resale value of the property.

9. Increases Safety, Lowers Crime Risk and Saves Money

Well-maintained commercial landscape reduces the risk of employee injury from stumbling over debris. With properly trimmed bushes and trees, and nicely cut grass, your commercial space can keep away thieves and criminals as they realize that your property is regularly maintained and employees are always alert.

A planned landscape architecture takes into account the design for minimal heat during the warmest months and can help you save huge amounts on your electricity bills.

10. Greenery increases Privacy

Properly grafted plants and trees help you keep the dirt, dust and pollution away from your premises and maintain your privacy. It allows for better utilization of workplace, which can include car parking, fountains, etc.