While B.C. invests $2.2 million to find new uses for wood, here are things not made of it that should be

Dec 20 2017, 1:19 am

It might be the most anyone has spent on getting wood since Donald Trump’s third wedding night.

The Province of British Columbia recently put $2.2 million towards the Wood First program, which – on top of having a hilarious name – is focused on finding new ways to utilize B.C.’s world-renowned wood reserves.

The funding went to a variety organizations and departments charged with finding new uses for the age-old material. The funding is as follows:

  • B.C. Wood Specialties Group – $558,910
  • Canadian Wood Council – $770,109
  • University of British Columbia – Centre for Advanced Wood Processing – $359,166
  • University of British Columbia – Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability – $65,000
  • FPInnovations – $428,928
  • Design Build Research Institute – $51,762

The Centre for Advanced Wood Processing? The B.C. Wood Specialties Group? The Canadian Wood Council?

These might sound made up, but they are assuredly real. When you hear a name like The Canadian Wood Council, it’s hard not to imagine a group of people sitting in handcrafted oak chairs around a beautifully engraved mahogany desk, sipping wood grain alcohol from the finest cedar snifters as they stare at a pile of fresh cut timber – their brows dark with worry – muttering “What next?”

Sure, wood is used for a lot of things already: furniture, doll furniture, doll houses, bird houses, dog houses, people houses, utensils, cutting boards, crates, boxes, bowls, ladders, broom handles, tent pegs, tent poles, carts, buggies, wagons, that toy where you try and get the ball in the cup or on the peg, what’s that thing called? – whatever. There’s a lot of stuff. You would think we’ve got it covered.

However, this funding proves that, as British Columbians, it is our solemn duty – nay, our privilege – to make as much stuff out of wood as possible. So here are a few things that aren’t made of wood, but totally should be:


One of the most limiting aspects of modern automobile design is that manufacturers insist on making cars out of metal, plastic, fiberglass, and other structurally sound (and super boring) materials.

Imagine cruising around town in a beautifully handcrafted Smart Car, made with a medium-sized groves worth of top quality B.C. pine. Sure, a wooden body with a most likely wooden combustion engine might not be the brightest idea in the long run, but think of how cool you’ll look in the short run.


Everyone is thinking it, so I’ll just say it: electronics are too light. When I buy a phone, I don’t want some flimsy little piece of glass and plastic that feels like it’s going to shatter the second I exert a lost-a-round-of-Candy-Crush-for-the-eighth-time-today rage-grip on it.

Give me a hearty oak, a sturdy cherry, a proud fir. Figuring out a way to make a transparent screen out of wood might be an obstacle, but that’s what the Wood First program is for, right?


Don’t you just hate it when you buy a brand new shirt/skirt/dress/robe, and the very first time you wear it to lunch you spill some food or a drink on it? Who doesn’t? That’s where the benefits of wooden clothing really shine. Also, the clothes themselves will really shine, with the variety of lacquers and stains you can apply.


Beavers do it. Woodchucks do it. Even termites in their hills do it. Let’s do it. Let’s eat some wood. Seriously though, it’s like, if you’re not even going to try and digest a little bit of wood pulp from time to time, can you even call yourself a British Columbian? According to the Provincial Government, the answer is no.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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