Chapter 33: Wood and Wood Products

Pamela Hatchfield, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

This chapter discusses the characteristics of various woods and their appropriateness for use in the museum environment. It examines the wide range of wood products in use in interior construction today, including engineered wood products such as plywood, veneers, and composite products such as particleboard, which contain high quantities of adhesives. The growing range of synthetic products increasingly used to replace structural wood in construction is explored. A description of potential hazards to museum artifacts posed by wood products and their synthetic substitutes is presented, accompanied by a discussion of mitigation strategies that have been used, such as the application of coatings, solid vapor barriers, sorbents, and ventilation. Issues of sustainability in choosing construction materials are discussed.

Key words:  wood, wood products, paints, coatings, sustainability, collection storage, construction