Intellex Acquires Expert by Big Village

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Expert Details

Temperate and Tropical Wood Technology: Properties, Uses, and Identification

ID: 722740 Wisconsin, USA

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Expert B. Expert is a world authority in temperate and tropical wood identification. He identifies thousands of wood specimens each year for the wood-using industries, antique collectors, museums, art conservators, research scientists, engineers and architects restoring buildings, and government agencies such as APHIS, U.S. Customs, and crime labs. He has identified charcoal specimens found in various archaeology excavations and from buildings and forest fires. Expert notes that the size of the specimen for identification should be as big as one’s hand, but he has identified specimens from thin veneers and as small as toothpick-sized pieces from antiques and even sawdust and wood flour. For accurate results he not only uses his naked eye and hand lens, but also the light microscope.

Expert worked for more than 35 years in forest products research. A critical part of his position was in technology transfer. This included responding to phone, email, and mail requests and a tremendous number of questions concerning all aspects of wood. In addition to identifying woods from many artifacts sent from many parts of the world, he responded to questions concerning the properties and uses of the wood he identified. Expert notes that questions about the use of exotic woods for outdoor decking and indoor flooring sometimes can be complicated because the common name is not what it appears to be. For example, Brazilian walnut and Brazilian cherry are not at all related to American black walnut and black cherry. If the common name cannot be verified, then a specimen of the wood must be identified before information is given to the customer.

Expert notes that the Customs Bureau needs to determine the species of wood from foreign markets because the Harmonized Tariff Schedule contains rules that govern the rates at which species are taxed. For example, plywood of lauan or meranti (Shorea spp.) from Asia and banak (Virola spp.) from South America are allowed into the United States at a lower rate than are other species. Expert has identified thousands of samples for Customs, especially the more difficult separations or when court cases have been pending. From 1993 to 1995, he taught wood identification courses at the Forest Products Laboratory to 11 scientists from the Customs Laboratory. He has also developed an advanced wood identification course; assisted a scientist in a New Orleans laboratory with a project to scan microscopic images for a data base; commented on a court case for the Office of Assistant Chief Council, NY; and identified an occasional problematic specimen for various U.S. Custom Laboratories.Over the years, the National Park Service has been involved in a number of restoration and archeological projects on National Park lands. Expert has identified woods and charcoal samples from historical buildings. For art objects and furniture, he has provided insight to where the original manufacture was located or who may have made the object, especially for objects made in Europe and shipped to America. Information from this work has been catalogued, archived, and published by conservators.


Year Degree Subject Institution
Year: 1973 Degree: Ph.D. Subject: Botany Institution: University of Maryland
Year: 1968 Degree: M.S. Subject: Botany Institution: University of Wisconsin
Year: 1966 Degree: B.S. Subject: Wood Science Institution: West Virginia University

Work History

Years Employer Title Department
Years: 2005 to Present Employer: Undisclosed Title: Consultant Department:
Expert retired from the Forest Products Laboratory at the end of 2004 after nearly 39 years of public service. He is a consultant in the fields of wood identification and wood technology.
Years Employer Title Department
Years: 1970 to 2004 Employer: USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory Title: Supervisory Botanist Department: Center for Wood Anatomy Research
Expert worked his entire career in the field of wood anatomy and wood identification. For each of the past 35 years, he identified thousands of tropical and domestic wood specimens from lumber, wood products, antiques, and forensic evidence to archaeological and fossil wood. Each year he responded to thousands of phone calls and emails on the physical and strength properties and uses of tropical and domestic woods, wood flooring, and general problems on wood drying and wood preservation, durability, and mold.

Government Experience

Years Agency Role Description
Years: 2004 to 2004 Agency: USDA Forest Service, International Forestry Role: Assistance with Ochoo Stain Description: In April 2004 he was invited to attend a meeting in Santa Cruz, Bolivia because of his expertise on tropical woods. He was invited to return to Bolivia in August to assist in solving a problem with a stain in ochoo.

International Experience

Years Country / Region Summary
Years: 2004 to 2004 Country / Region: Bolivia Summary: In April 2004 he was invited to attend a meeting in Santa Cruz, Bolivia because of his expertise on tropical woods. He was invited to return to Bolivia in August to assist in solving a problem with a stain in ochoo.

Career Accomplishments

Associations / Societies
Expert was elected Executive Secretary of International Association of Wood Anatomists (IAWA) in 1997 and is presently serving in that capacity. He was Deputy Executive Secretary of IAWA from 1989-1997. He served as chairman or co-chairman on many national and international symposia-organizing committees. He has also served on a number of advisory groups and committees for IAWA and other organizations.
Awards / Recognition
In 1994 he received the USDA Honor Award for leadership and dedication in serving the public by performing wood identifications. In 1989 he was the Forest Service's runner-up for the Chief's Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. He also received a number of performance awards for his research and public service.
Publications and Patents Summary
Expert has 110 publications, most of which are in refereed jopurnals.

Fields of Expertise

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