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Timbers

Timber and veneers are natural products, and a range of colour variations within each species is to be expected.

Many of our products are made in a wide variety of timbers and we are unable to specify what timbers are available at any one time. In these cases please select your preference of light, medium or dark timber.

When checking out you can choose to be emailed images of available timber variations to choose from.

Below is some information and examples of the most common timbers used in our products.

Acacia

Wattle

Also known as Gidgee, Boree, Myall, Deadfinish, Mulga, Brigalow. About 800 species grow in Australia. They are widespread in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid regions and have a distinctively different foliage to those of Africa and Asia. They vary from tall trees to prostate shrubs with great variation in leaf and seed shape, though are easily identified by their ball-like yellow flowers. The dark brown hardwood has a narrow band of yellow sapwood and is a hard and heavy timber that takes a high finish. The plants are important for shelter, shade, fodder and increasing soil fertility.

Australian Ash

Similar in appearance to Tasmanian Oak, this timber is cream to pale fawn in colour with a pinkish tinge. It is straight grained and the texture is open but even. This is a durable timber widely used where toughness, strength and bending qualities are required.

Banksia

Banksia grandis

The Banksias are spectacular Australian plants found predominantly in Western Australia. They are named after Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist who helped discover Australia. Banksia Grandis, also known as giant or bull banksia, grows as understorey in the Jarrah and Karri forests in south-western Western Australia. The seed spike with its golden yellow flowers, forms a large hard cone 7-18cm long, that is very decorative and ideal for wood turning.

Black Bean

Castanospermum australe

Back Bean occurs in rainforests from Lismore NSW to Iron Range, Cape York Peninsula in Northern QLD. Black Bean is a tall tree up to 40 metres high and is common along the banks of streams and rivers in sheltered positions. The sapwood varies from white to yellow and the heartwood dark-brown to almost black. The wood of the Black Bean is a popular timber for making cabinets and for carving.

Blackheart Sassafras

Atherosperma moschatum

This distinctive tree grows in high rainfall areas predominantly throughout Tasmania with some growth in Victoria and South Eastern NSW, It is much sought after as furniture timber. The heartwood is a creamy to light grey colour and often has a black stain. This “blackheart” is in demand for turnery and other specialist work and is caused by a bacterial infection. The bark of the Sassafras tree is aromatic and was used for brewing sassafras beer and for making tea.

Blackwood

Acacia melanoxylon

Blackwood is distributed naturally from north-east Queensland to Tasmania but is most common in Victoria and Tasmania. The strong dark wood is well figured and has an exceptional lustre. It varies in colour from golden honey to a rich chocolate brown, with white sapwood. It is used for furniture making, decorative wood work, turning and as panelling. Valued as a shade and ornamental tree it is also known as Black Wattle, Hickory and Sally Wattle.

Bloodwood

Acacia aulacocarpa

Bloodwood also known as Brown Salwood is mostly a shrub or small to medium size tree around 5m to 15m tall. Under favourable conditions the trunk may be up to 1m in diameter. Bloodwood grows from Cape York, southwards along the whole of the eastern coast of Queensland and about 200kms into northern NSW. Bloodwood bends, glues and seasons well. It is used mainly for framing, weatherboards and joinery.

Brigalow

Acacia harpophylla

Brigalow is the Aboriginal name for this acacia. It usually grows in dense stands in northern N.S.W. and inland Queensland. Its timber is very attractive with dark reddish brown heartwood and distinct thin yellow sapwood. It is used in fancy wood turning and furniture making. The Aboriginals also used it to make spear shafts, boomerangs and nulla-nullas.

Burls

Burls are “wart-like” knobby growths on the trunk or limbs of a tree. Their timber is different to that of the trunk. It is characterised by swirling interlocking grain and multiple gum veins. There are several theories about the cause of burl growth. Some are thought to be genetic while others may grow in response to injury or insect attack, or as a result of viral infection. Removal of burls from a growing tree has no adverse effect on it. To the contrary, large or multiple burls can kill or weaken a tree by restricting sap flow to the rest of its trunk and limbs.

Camphor Laurel

Cinnamomum camphora

The Camphor Laurel, being a native species of China, Taiwan and Japan, was introduced into northern N.S.W. and Queensland. Wood workers have utilised its timber in their turning and furniture. Formerly it was only used to construct camphorwood chests. Camphor, a by-product extracted by steam, was used in incense and medicine. Today it is used as an insect repellent and as a plasticiser in celluloid.

Celery Top Pine

Phyllocladus asperiifolius

Celery Top Pine’s foliage resembles that of edible celery. Slow growing, it is found mainly in the high rainfall areas of West Tasmania where it is becoming increasingly scarce. One of Australia’s heaviest softwoods, its timber colour varies from light straw to light brown with conspicuous and close growth rings. Being durable and resistant to chemical action it is ideal for kitchen utensils, vats, boat building and joinery.

Conkerberry

Carissa lanceolat

Conkerberry grows in small patches in the north west of Queensland, and in the Northern Territory where it is protected. Difficult to collect and handle, its use in wood turning is restricted because of holes up the central stems and the shortness of the workable straight lengths. The orange colour of Conkerberry heartwood is not typical of Australian timbers. It has an attractive creamy sapwood. Australian Aboriginals have used its small edible purple/blue berry for food and medicine.

Coolibah

Eucalyptus microtheca

The Coolibah grows in outback semi-arid regions throughout Australia. It is the hardest of all eucalypts. Once used for firewood and fencing it is becoming popular with turners. It is very attractive with a narrow band of whitish sapwood and a dark red to brown to black heartwood with numerous white pores. Its burls are thought to be genetically induced and are being studied at the Australian National University.

Desert Cypress

Callitras galaucophylla

Desert Cypress is an Australian Cypress grown in Western Australia and is a small slow growing timber of between 15 to 20 metres high. The heartwood colour ranges from a light yellowish orange to brown with some very dark streaks. Due to the hard and dense properties of this timber it is mainly used for outdoor furniture, flooring, decking, weatherboards, house frames and fence posts.

Ebonised

Ebonising a piece of wood blackens the wood. With the use of acetate pyrolignite iron, you can get tones from gray to black. It is possible to make this mixture yourself with common household items.

Ebony

Diospyrus ebenum

Ebony has long been treasured as a precious and rare timber. The unusual blackness of its heartwood, its amazing durability, hardness and ability to take a high polish set it apart. A tropical species, Ebony grows in India, West Africa and the East Indies, with the best timbers coming from Sri Lanka. The tree has a wide trunk with jet black bark and a white sapwood. Today Ebony is used for piano keys, cabinet work, inlay and turnery.

Flame She-oak

Casuarina inophloia

Flame She Oak is a small slow growing tree distributed over much of western Queensland. Only small amounts of the trunk, which is seldom more than 15-20cm in diameter, is useful in wood turning because of extensive faulting and cracking. Its timber, which polishes well, has a wide band of creamy coloured sapwood and a rich red/brown heartwood that is brought alive by long dark medullary flashes.

Grass Tree

xanthorrhoea

Grass Trees are unique to Australia. The species used for turning grows only in southern West Australia. It is the compact fibrous core of the root stump which is used for turning. Growing approximately 3cm per year they take 100 years to reach 300cm (10ft) in height. The Aboriginals used the Grass Tree as a source of shelter, food, fuel and gum. In West Australia’s early days they were used to produce gas lighting.

Huon Pine

lagarostrobus franklinii

Having dominated the forests of southern Australia 38,000 years ago, Huon Pine now grows only in west and south west Tasmania. It takes 800 years for a tree to reach 20-30 metres. Durable, light, fine textured and oily its timber is easy to work and has a beautiful yellow colour. Widely used in ship-building, furniture making, joinery and turning, nowadays only limited quantities of this very slow growing tree are logged.

Jarrah

eucalyptus marginata

A magnificent tall tree that can reach heights up to 30-40m, Jarrah only grows in the south-west corner of Western Australia. It is one of the world’s best hardwoods. The timber is straight grained and dark red to reddish brown in colour and is popular in furniture making. The forests are being threatened by bauxite mining and water borne fungal disease that attacks the roots.

Leatherwood

eucryphia lucida

Another distinctive Tasmanian timber, it grows in the wetter western and southern regions along with Myrtle, Blackwood and Sassafras. The heartwood is pink to brown in colour with darker stripes arising from fungal infections. Its timber is tough, fine and with regular grain. The nectar from its flowers produces premium quality leatherwood honey.

Mallee

genus eucalyptus

Mallees are dwarf eucalypts varying between 2m-10m in height. They are widespread throughout the drier, infertile inland regions of NSW, South Australia and Western Australia. It is their woody root that is used in wood turning. For many years mallee was only valued as firewood. Today, in spite of the fact they are extremely hard and therefore difficult to work, they are prized for their stability and their beautifully marbled grain which takes a superb finish. The Mallees have great regenerative powers following devastation by drought and fire.

Mallee Root

genus eucalyptus

Mallees are dwarf eucalypts varying between 2m-10m in height. They are widespread throughout the drier, infertile inland regions of NSW, South Australia and Western Australia. It is their woody root that is used in wood turning. For many years mallee was only valued as firewood. Today, in spite of the fact they are extremely hard and therefore difficult to work, they are prized for their stability and their beautifully marbled grain which takes a superb finish. The Mallees have great regenerative powers following devastation by drought and fire.

Mango

mangifera indica

Indigenous to eastern Asia, Burma and India the mango, a member of the cashew family, grows in most tropical areas of the world including northern NSW and Queensland. The tree has been known to live for 300 years. Grown primarily for its fruit, its soft wood is of little value apart from the occasional use by wood turners. The mango figures significantly in the folklore and religions of India.

Marri

Eucalyptus calophylla

Marri is a medium sized to tall tree that can grow up to 40m in height. Marri is widely distributed in the southwest of Western Australia. Its wood is pale yellow to light brown and is hard, strong and durable. This strong timber has been used in the past for weatherboard houses, tool handles, sporting goods and fence posts, however these days it is the principle species used for woodchips in Western Australia.

Myrtle

nothofagus cunninghamii

A prehistoric species, the Myrtle beech grows to 30-40 metres in Tasmania and Southern Victoria. Its foliage is characteristic of other beeches. Though usually pinkish to red in colour, the heartwood may be grey cream or orange. The sapwood is white. Very occasionally a tree can have black stripes running through it and this is called Tiger Myrtle. It has long been valued in cabinet making and wood craft.

Ooline

cadellia pentastylis

Ooline grows in a narrow band in south-west Queensland amongst the dry land Ironbarks and Acacias. Its timber is very attractive, varying from pink to red with a pale straw-coloured sapwood. Ooline is commonly known as “solid” wood because of its reputation for being very hard. It has no known uses. Whilst cutting it with a chain saw is difficult, it turns relatively easily on a lathe.

Purple Gidgee

acacia crombi

Purple Gidgee can significantly change colour with exposure to light. Freshly cut, it has an olive green heartwood and a creamy yellow sapwood. These may change to a deep purple over time. Very rare, this small tree only grows in scattered patches in two areas of north west Queensland. Though occasionally made into fenceposts, it has no other commercial use. It is difficult to turn but takes a very good finish usually for a spectacular effect.

Purple Mulga

Acacia carneorum

Purple Mulga is an extremely rare and very dense timber type and is included on the CSIRO endangered species list. Mulga woodlands cover 20% of the Australian continent. The most common is Acacia aueura - the Mulga, which takes on several forms. One is the round form found in sandhill country, another is the Christmas Tree form, another the weeping tree form, and another like an umbrella inside out. In favourable conditions young plants will grow at a rate of 1 metre every 10 years up to a height of 10 metres. Reduced rainfall or drought conditions will slow down this process or bring it to a temporary halt, a mature tree will usually be more than 100 years old.

Red Box

eucalyptus polyanthemos

Red Box grows throughout central and southern Victoria and south west and central NSW. It sheds part of its bark in small strips to reveal an attractive greyish or cream to white trunk. The hard red timber of Red Box is strong and durable but difficult to use. It makes an excellent fire-wood and fencing material. Wood turners primarily use its dense dark red burls with their yellow markings in their work.

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