Face bonding strength of cross laminated northern hardwoods and softwoods lumber

Document Type


Publication Date



College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Producing cross-laminated timber (CLT) has opened a new market for the lumber industry in North America, while few hardwood species have been studied in the U.S. for CLT production. Combining hardwood species in mixed hardwood CLT or in hybrid CLT can be a solution to boost the market of the undervalued hardwoods. However, the knowledge gap on bonding hardwoods needs to be filled to provide evidence of feasibility. This study focused on the face bonding properties of the cross laminations made of seven hardwood species and two softwood species from the Great Lakes region using two commercial structural adhesives, the phenol resorcinol adhesive (the Resorcinol) and the melamine urea formaldehyde adhesive (the Melamine). A total of 45 combinations of the selected species were studied for the bonding strength (shear under compression) and the percentage of wood failure. For single species samples, the bond strength was positively related to the specific gravity of wood and the bond strength of hardwoods was 33% and 82% stronger than that of softwoods bonded with the Resorcinol and the Melamine respectively. The mixed hardwoods showed higher bonding strength (the Melamine: 5.45 MPa, the Resorcinol: 5.28 MPa) than mixed softwoods (the Melamine: 2.8 MPa and the Resorcinol: 2.7 MPa). Among the Resorcinol bonded mixed combinations, 54% had a percentage of wood failure less than 80%, while the Melamine bonded had only 4 out of 22 which had a percentage of wood failure less than 80%. The overall bonding strength of the hybrid combinations was 5% weaker than that of the mixed hardwoods. All hybrid combinations bonded with the Melamine met the 80% wood failure criterium, but some bonded with the Resorcinol had a percentage of wood failure less than 80%. Anatomical features, especially pore distribution, played a key role in the bonding performance. However, the Melamine adhesive consistently achieved over 80% wood failure across all pore distribution types.

Publication Title

Construction and Building Materials