Leif Dedrick Espenas became a Wood Technologist at the Oregon Forest Products Laboratory in 1947 and Head of Forest Products Research from 1959 until 1965, when he returned to full-time research until his death in 1973. His research specialities were kiln drying of wood and wood-moisture relations. Espenas earned a BS degree from the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University in 1938 and his MS degree in 1940 from the University of California at Berkeley. Espenas was a technologist with the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, from 1942 until 1947.
Espenas was born in Cazenovia, New York in 1915 and died in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1973.
The Leif D. Espenas Papers document Espenas' work as a forest products researcher and administrator with the Oregon Forest Products Laboratory and the Oregon State University Forest Research Laboratory. The papers include Espenas' research records as well as laboratory administrative records.
Espenas' research records include project files, proposals, reports and publications, reference materials, data and graphs, and monthly progress reports pertaining to a variety of research projects. Research topics include kiln drying, air drying of tanoak, grain doors (for railroad cars transporting grain), drying of madrone, moisture diffusion in red cedar and redwoods, drying stress analysis, end coating, and solvent seasoning. The papers also include reports by Espenas completed in the 1940s while he was working with the University of Wisconsin.
The administrative records include extensive records of the Forest Products Research Advisory Committee meetings, annual reports to the Advisory Committee, lists of research projects underway at the Laboratory, file indexes, procedures and policies, budgets, and correspondence documenting research administration at the Laboratory. These are primarily from the time period when Espenas was Head of Forest Products Research.