Wood-Products Industry

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wood-Products Industry


the branch of the wood industry that carries out the mechanical and chemical-mechanical treatment and processing of timber and that utilizes various woods for its raw materials. The industry produces sawn wood, sleepers, plywood, wood panels, and beams; it makes items needed for construction and rough-finished and finished parts for industries producing automobiles, railroad cars, aircraft, wagons, and ships, as well as for agricultural machinery manufacturing; it produces matches, furniture, wooden packaging, parts for the textile industry (picker sticks, bobbins, and reels), wooden shoe lasts, boxes and cases for equipment, instruments, tools, and skis and other sporting goods.

Wood-products industry existed for a long time as a home craft and a trade. It appeared in Russia during the 1700’s, and from the second half of the 1800’s on it developed rapidly. Besides sawn wood, the factory production of furniture, plywood, and matchsticks emerged. Between 1900 and 1913 the volume of factory production of sawn wood in Russia increased from 7.7 million cu m to 14.2 million cu m. However, in spite of the large growth, the technological level of the wood-products industry in Russia was relatively low and lagged behind that of a number of the developed countries, especially in the production of manufactured articles. Threefourths of the production value of the industry in pre-revolutionary Russia was in sawn wood. Before World War I several comparatively large, well-equipped wood-products plants were set up (for example, the sawmills at Arkhangel’sk and Onega).

The Soviet Union. The growth of the wood-products industry during the prewar five-year plans (1929-40) was directly connected with the growth of capital construction, machine building, the furniture and other industries, and the production of goods for general consumption. Specialized enterprises were built to produce window sashes, and doors (the Zapadnaia Dvina, Lopatin, Kiev, Bobruisk, El’sha, and Dnepropetrovsk combines); wood-products plants were set up in Moscow, Leningrad, Saratov, Tavda, Lobva, and Krasnoiarsk, as well as enterprises for factory house building (in a number of regions in the Urals, the northwestern part of the country, and elsewhere) and match factories having automated production. Building-supply yards (auxiliary enterprises) and specialized wood-products mills were constructed at major construction sites. The construction of railroad-car, automobile, and agriculturalmachinery fac-tories, shipyards, and other industries created a need for the construction of large woodworking shops in many enterprises in Arkhangel’sk, Moscow, Leningrad, Gorky, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, and other cities. Factory organizations were set up to dry sawn wood artificially, as well as plants for antiseptic treatment. The output of sawn wood in the USSR during 1957 was the highest in the world. The productivity increase of Russia’s wood-products industry is indicated by the data of Table 1.

Wood-products enterprises are located everywhere in the USSR. Over two-thirds of the production is in the RSFSR. The most important sawn wood and plywood enterprises are

Table 1. Production in the wood-products industry of the USSR
1 Furniture production in 1970 was 2,794,000 rubles
Sawn wood (million cu m).............14.213.634.814.7105.6116.4
Plywood thousand cu m).............203.5185.4734.9192.21,353.52,045.1
Particle board (thousand cu m).............160.81,994.5
Fiberboard (million sq m).............67.6208.3

located in the regions where there is lumbering and also at the floatage points of the raw materials. Among these enterprises, in the order of their capacity, are the plants at Arkhangel’sk, Onega, Tavda (Sverdlovsk Oblast), Eniseisk and Igarka (Krasnoiarsk Krai), and a number of lumber mills in Karelia and in the Far East. House-building combines and shops and enterprises for the production of structural parts, furniture, and other goods have been constructed; mills manufacturing wood panels have been built extensively.

The technological progress of the wood-products industry in the USSR has been closely associated with scientific research on the physical and mechanical properties of lumber, its storage, preservation, seasoning, and cutting, and on the technology of woodworking processes. The casing, softwood furniture, and packaging industries are on an assembly-line basis. The assembly processes are being automated in the foremost enterprises. Some parts of plywood production have mechanized, semiautomated or automated production lines. Consolidated and specialized production has become commonplace in the USSR’s wood-products industry. The processing of timber is being increased in the eastern regions of the country in an effort to reduce the haulage of round lumber.

Other socialist countries. In Poland there has been a considerable growth of sawmilling, the production of structural parts (doors, window sashes, parquet), wood panels, and furniture. In 1968 the production was 6,837,000 cu m of sawn wood, 181,000 cu m of particle board, and 68,000 cu m of fiberboard. In Rumania the wood-products industry in the past consisted mainly of sawmills powered by mountain streams and of small joiner, wheelwright, and cooperage workshops where the lumber was processed by hand. In socialist Rumania, besides large sawmills, the production of particle board and fiberboard is being rapidly developed, as well as furniture, parquet flooring, plywood, and cooperage products. In 1969 the output was 5,262,000 cu m of sawn wood and 379,000 m of particle and fiberboard.

In Czechoslovakia the manufacture of furniture predominates in the wood-products industry. The production of wood panels has been highly mechanized. The machine-building industry makes wood-processing machines and presses for the production of wood panels. In Hungary there are large furniture factories, which have been completely rebuilt during the years of socialist construction—the factory for formed furniture in Debrecen and the joined furniture factory in Gyor. The production of particle board has been expanded. In Bulgaria the wood-products enterprises make packaging, parquet flooring, and furniture. The packaging is produced by specialized enterprises, as well as by shops in some sawmills. During the years of socialist construction, new wood-products enterprises began production and the furniture factories were expanded. With the rich forest resources as a starting point there has been a substantial growth of the wood-products industry in the Mongolian People’s Republic. There has also been growth in the other socialist countries.

The specific gravity of the lumber processed by chemical-mechanical methods has been increasing in the wood-products industry of the USSR and of the other socialist countries as compared with that processed in the traditional mechanical manner. Consequently, although the production of semifinished lumber is relatively stable, the production of particle and fiberboard, plywood, parquet flooring, and joinery is increasing.

Capitalist countries. The wood-products industry occupies an important place in the economies of Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Canada, from which a substantial amount of the output is exported to countries that have small forest resources. The lumber-consuming countries of Europe, such as Great Britain, Holland, Denmark, and Belgium, import sawn wood and plywood. The production of sawn wood, particle board, and furniture occupies the principal place in the wood-products industry of Sweden. In Finland the production of plywood, wood panels, bobbins, furniture, boxes, and structural parts has been developed the most, while in Norway it is planed boards, construction parts, doors, and wood panels. The Federal Republic of Germany has a large wood-products industry, which relies to a considerable extent on imported raw. materials. In France the production of wood panels occupies a large place in the industry. Table 2 shows the output of the wood-products industry in capitalist countries.

Table 2. Production in the wood-products industry in various capitalist countries (1969)
 Swan wood (million cu m)plywood (thousand cu m)particle board (thousand cu m)Fiberboard (million (sq m)
1 Including sleepers2 1968
Federal Republic of Germany.............9.46303,143.162.2


Benenson, G. M. Drevesina v narodnom khoziaistve SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Lesnatsional’noe bogatstvo sovetskogo naroda: Sbornik. Moscow, 1967. Chapter 3.
Vasil’ev, P. V. Organiiatsiia proizvodstva na derevoobrabatyvaiushchikh predpriiatiiakh. Moscow, 1947.
Prokhorchuk, I. S. Lesoobrabatyvaiushchaia promyshlennost’ SSSR. Moscow, 1969.
Tseitlin, M. A. Ocherki razvitiia lesozagotovok i lesopileniia v Rossii. Moscow, 1968.
Senchurov, K. T. Lesnye i tselliulozno-bymazhnye tovary [2nd ed.]. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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