While the traditional approach to engineering materials aims to reduce their variability through a (generally energy-intensive) refining process, a more environmentally appropriate approach is to keep the product as natural as possible and quantify their variability, while reducing their variability only as necessary. This is the approach for sawn lumber and other solid wood products, made possible by the application of advanced statistical theory in the manufacturing, grading, and evaluation processes and in the engineering design models. This article reviews a number of statistical advances related to these objectives, and it ends with a view of a future characterized by engineered wood products and the use of high technology.


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