A 3 dimensional stochastic finite element technique is presented herein for simulating the nonlinear behaviour of strand-based wood composites with strands of varying grain-angle. The approach is based on the constitutive properties of the individual strands to study the effects of varying strand characteristics (such as species or geometry) on the performance of the member. The constitutive properties of the strands are found empirically and are subsequently used in a 3 dimensional finite element program. The program is formulated in a probabilistic manner using random variable material properties as input. The constitutive model incorporates classic plasticity theory whereby anisotropic hardening and eventual failure of the material is established by the Tsai–Wu criterion with an associated flow rule. Failure is marked by an upper bound surface whereupon either perfect plasticity (i.e. ductile behavior) or an abrupt loss of strength and stiffness (i.e. brittle behavior) ensues. The ability of this technique to reproduce experimental findings for the stress–strain curves of angle-ply laminates in tension, compression as well as 3 point bending is validated.