# Timber strength in tangential and radial directions

Normally for structural timber, two values for compressive and tension strength are given. One value is given for timber in direction of the grain, and other is given at 90 degrees (perpendicular) to the grain. Common notation for these strengths is $$f_{c,0}$$, $$f_{c,90}$$, $$f_{t,0}$$ and $$f_{t,90}$$ where $$t$$ subscript refers to tension and $$c$$ to compression. Picture from here illustrates the idea:

Some sources talk about timber strength in tangential and radial direction. I read this post for example, which states:

Wood is very strong in longitudinal tension and compression, much weaker in radial tension, and weaker still in tangential tension.

This got me thinking: if timber is weaker in tangential loading than radial loading, why aren't there usually two values reported for the strength perpendicular to the grain? Aren't both radial and tangential loads perpendicular to the grain? Why is only one perpendicular strength value necessary to describe the strength of timber in perpendicular loading?

• Think about how timber is used in structures... and why it is used with the types of joints. Jun 20, 2022 at 19:12