Wooden Car Parts

Wooden Car Parts are some of the latest wood innovations to reduce vehicle costs
Wooden Car Parts | Photo via The Japan Times

According to an article written by Robert Dalheim of Woodworking Network on August 17, Japanese car manufacturers are considering substituting wood for steel in order to make vehicles lighter. With wood pulp being 20 percent lighter than the weight of steel and five times as strong, wooden car parts are at the top of Japanese researchers’ considerations for reducing the weight of a vehicle.

As manufacturers move toward churning out electric cars for a mainstream consumer base, reducing the weight of a vehicle will be crucial. Automobile suppliers are hopeful because a reduction in car weight would require fewer batteries, saving costs.

Cellulose nanofibers are currently being used to create various products, such as ink and transparent displays. These fibers are obtained by breaking down wood.

In cars, the chemically treated wood fibers will be kneaded into plastics while simultaneously being broken down into nanofibres, slashing the cost of production to roughly one-fifth that of other processes. This process is referred to as “the Kyoto Process,” named after Japan’s Kyoto University who’s leading the research.

“This is the lowest-cost, highest-performance application for cellulose nanofibers, and that’s why we’re focusing on its use in auto and aircraft parts,” said Hiroaki Yano, professor at Kyoto University who leads the research. Yano’s team is working with several automakers in Japan to complete a prototype car built with cellulose nanofiber parts. They hope to complete it by 2020.

“We’ve been using plastics as a replacement for steel, and we’re hoping that cellulose nanofibers will widen the possibilities toward that goal,” stated Yukihiko Ishino, a spokesman at DaikyoNishikawa, which supplies parts for Toyota and Mazda.

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Source:  Woodworking Network and The Japan Times

Three-ton Solid Wood Bathtub

Is it possible to make a solid wood bathtub out of one three-ton mass of wood, without any glue or epoxy – and can it be done sustainably? The answer is uncovered in an article written by Bill Esler of Woodworking Network on August 7.

Three-ton Solid Wood Bathtub one of the latest wood innovations
Three-ton Solid Wood Bathtub | Photo via Woodworking Network

Timber Neutral fashioned this three-ton solid wood bathtub, along with other wood tubs, for Amelie & Max, a retailer in Toronto. “The goal was to make a 100% natural object and a reflection of the organic nature of wood and true to the spirit of the tree,” said Fiona French of Timber Neutral.

Timber Neutral states that there is something within the fiber of wood that no other material can capture – the vitality and uniqueness of an organic object. The tubs are said to be the fusion of high-tech craftsmanship and the originality and form of solid wood.

Each tub is made from a solid, single 6,600-pound block of wood that has been painstakingly carved down to create a two-person tub. Each tub is unlike any other, and is sold at retail cost of $34,000 at Amelie & Max.

Harvested in Columbian forests, the trees must be very large to produce such a large block of wood, so Timber Neutral goes to lengths to make the case that the harvesting is sustainable. Each tub is given an individual identification, bearing the personalized name of a tree, reflecting both the personality of the bath and its exotic origin.

While Timber Neutral has no plans to continue making these massive wood tubs, a few of the limited collection are available in North America and sold exclusively through www.amelieandmax.com.

Stay tuned for more wood innovations like this solid wood bathtub by liking Grothouse on Facebook and following @grothouseinc on Instagram!

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Source: Woodworking Network