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Thread: Timber pics for the northern hemisphere members

  1. #1

    Timber pics for the northern hemisphere members

    Thought I'd post a few pics of some Australian timbers for you Northern Hemisphere denizens.
    I've got to admit I keep a keen eye out for your timber in the workshop shots I see. Call this 'my contribution'.

    The reddish timber is River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulenis). A species from the open woodlands, trees tend to spread rather than form a trunk. Interlocked grain of 900kg/cubic meter (aid dried). Gum veins are common, so its often found for sale as garden sleepers for garden beds. Lengths that are free of gum veins are not all that common.

    Second piece is Queensland Walnut (Endiandra palmerstonii), a tropical hardwood. Air dried is 690kg/ cube. A wide variety of figure effects, but really high in silica and due to that it is usually only used in veneers (it is also scarse as much of its habitat is protected under World Heritage listing).

    Both photo's show approx 6" x 4" section. Both are finished using a Festool ROS and "wet sand with Danish oil", finished off with some wax.
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    Last edited by Clinton Findlay; 01-04-2007 at 6:08 AM.

  2. #2
    second piece.

    I thought the pics might interest some people, and put this thread here as I usually only check this section.


    Have a good 2007.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    They are of interest and thanks Clinton.I assume by your descriptions bothwoods are rather knarly. Are there any Australian hardwoods that are easy to work, all I ever hear about are the more difficlut ones.
    Craftsmanship is the skill employed in making a thing properly, and a good craftsman is one who has complete mastery over his tools and material, and who uses them with skill and honesty.

    N. W. Kay

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Galiano Island, BC, Canada
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    Clinton, many thanks. I hope you set a precedent for pictures of wood. I think I'll do the same with some woods that are very regional to the Pacific Northwest. (Garry Oak for example, and Arbutus, which the Yanks call Madrone).

    Would be good to have any detail you can provide on workability, too.

  5. #5
    James,
    All of our native pines are nice and soft. Of these Huon Pine (Dacrydium franklinii), a cool rainforest, very slow growing and scarse tree is most highly prized. These are mainly 'reclaimed' from natural deaths and air dries to 520 kg/cube and carves like butter.
    King William Pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides) is another species native to the same area and it is 400 kg/cube. Both are very resiliant to degradation and were used in boat planking, vats and the like.

    Some Eucalyptus and Acacia's have straight grain, however Australia is 90% desert, so most of the forest land is low growing and sparse - leading to short trunks and open crowns = lots of figure. Due to low rainfall the timbers are often dense. IMO.
    An example is Red Ironbark (Euc. sideroxylon) which occurs in the savannah woodland (receives reasonable rainfall, 20 - 30" annual rainfall, which is a misleading figure as the evaporation rates dry out the soil very quickly). It weighs 1220 kg/cube green, and air dry is 1130 kg/cube. Air drying takes a year per inch, minimum, and it is prone to splitting at that rate. A person I know only cuts it in winter and solar kiln's it over 5 years to avoid splitting. He continually juggles the humidity in the kiln to slowly bring it down, with the majority of the drying done through our winters.
    Very interlocked grain, so working it is demanding, although it the density of the grain produces an excellent visual appeal when finished.

    On the other hand, Mountain Ash (Euc. regnas), the largest of which is 350 years old, 98 meters tall and 5.2 meters in diameter (321' x 17') , air dries to 680 kg/cube and is easy to work. Often I can pick long 'splinters' several inches long from the edge of a dressed post just with my fingernails.

    Our rainforest timbers are either very scarse or protected under World Heritage, so these long trunked, straight grained and often soft species are very scarse and expensive.
    Red Cedar (Toona australis) is one such tropical/temperate rainforest tree, soft and lusturous. Knock a live tree with your knuckle and try to pick the 'note', as the trunks are resonant.

    I feel that there are a lot of 'easy working' timbers, however most people seem to try to chase the complex figure.... and why not.

    I think a cube (cubic meter) is 423 super feet, or 35 cubic feet? 1 kg is 2.2 pounds.
    Not sure if you can understand my metric measures?

    An Ironbark 4 x 2" that is 3' long would weigh 12.5 pounds, good for resolving arguments!

    Is there a good website that has pics of North American timbers?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Clinton, check out this site. Has a wealth of information on North American Hardwoods. Give pic's a little time to load.

    http://www.hardwood.org/species_guid...ay_species.asp
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  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Gday Clinton
    Just out of curiousity what is the most popular furniture wood in Oz?
    Regards
    Randy

  8. #8
    The most popular timber would be whatever the cheap imported timber from China and Indonesia is made from, or engineered board.


    For locally made, hoop pine is plantation grown and is stable and easy to work. For decorative work Silky Oak (Cardwellis sublimis) and Red Cedar (Toona australias). As this is getting scarse/expensive, Tasmanian Blackwood (Acacia melanoylon) and grumpy old Eucaluptus are becoming the timber of choice. IMO.
    The more difficult to work Euc's are gaining in favour.... perhaps a national pride issue, or maybe just the search for something different?

  9. #9
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    G'day Clinton,
    What about Australian red cedar (Cedrela toona var australis/ Toona ciliata) or silky oak ( Grevillia robusta) or northern silky oak (Cardwellia sublimis) ? The last one is imported to the USA and goes under the name of lacewood, however the example I picked up in one of the Woodcraft stores seemed to me to be one of the Casuarina species. A good reference for some of the native ( and a few non-native) species is:- http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/hardwoodsqld/7680.html
    Here is a picture of a table top made from red cedar (centre) and northern silky oak.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton Findlay
    The reddish timber is River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulenis). A species from the open woodlands, trees tend to spread rather than form a trunk. Interlocked grain of 900kg/cubic meter (aid dried). Gum veins are common, so its often found for sale as garden sleepers for garden beds. Lengths that are free of gum veins are not all that common.
    Another Aussie chiming in here .

    Here is a Jewelery Box I am making out of River Red Gum for another example. It is a very hard timber, so you always need sharp tools to work it, but it is very rewarding and incredibly durable.


    I would have to say it is now the most popular choice of solid Hardwood timber furniture, at least in Melbourne. Believe it or not, but for a long time, this wood was only cut for fence posts and fire wood, because it is so durable and burns hot for a long time
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  11. #11
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    Tim, that box is spectacular! What do you mean you're working on it? It looks very much finished to me. The grains and colours work beautifully.

    Hans

  12. #12
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    Thanks Hans. I still need to finish the internals of the box with some upholstery and ring bars..I will make a thread on it when finished.

  13. #13
    Geoff, good idea to put in the DPI link... I use it a lot. I'd like it more if they put in pics of the timber with a nice finish.

    I know your Australian Red Cedar/Lacewood as Toona australis.

    Silky Oak, which one? Theres about 20 species that get sold under this name, it is almost a 'trade name'.

    For me, "True" Silky Oak is Cardwellia sublimis, however Grevillea robusta is very similiar, and will be found under the "SO" label. All SO's will be soft (@AD 500 -600 kg/cube), and easy to work.
    Whatever is used, it is pretty, but can be overpowering. Having grown up with it in a lot of furniture, I'm a bit tired of it. Moderation is the key with its use, IMO.
    Grevillia Robusta is sold and planted as a garden tree all over the world, so keep an eye out for it. Most of the SO's can have their pinkish brown heartwood bleached with the ammonia and hydroxide peroxide methods, with a wipe of 10% oxalic acid solution to remove any final reddish streaks. Quarter cut all of them to get the 'lace' effect in the timber.
    If you google "silky oak" in Google images, you'll find a place selling veneers in the uk, with a german site coming up on the same page that has some as well. I'm sure the .uk site has it bleached, the .de site unbleached. Quite a differance.

    Tim - nice box. I'll keep and eye out for the thread so I can find out what finish you are using. I'm in Melbourne as well - Craigieburn, whereabouts are you?
    Last edited by Clinton Findlay; 01-06-2007 at 10:49 PM.

  14. #14
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    Hello Clinton,
    I always knew Australian red cedar as "Toona australis" as well but you know how the scientist's like to change names and confuse us. "Carwellia sublimis" is the one that tends to be sold in the US as lacewood. As I come from Brisbane I always knew "Grevillia robusta" as silky oak and "Cardwelli sublimis" as Northern Silky Oak aka Bull Oak. (Saw a highset house being demolished in Cairns years ago that was almost entirely Silky Oak ). I believe that the source for that "C. sublimis" being sold as lacewood in the States is Brazil. Yet Brazil has its own lacewood "Roupala brasiliense" and in the UK lacewood is quartersawn London Plane "Platanus x hispanica". So maybe those scientists aren't as barking mad as we think.
    Do you have that CSIRO book "Forest Trees of Australia" ? I have an early edition and I was wondering about getting (if I was mad enough) that "CSIRO Atlas of Hardwoods" .
    My grandfather used to snigg timber in the far north with a team of horses in the 1920's. A lot of the Cedar was exported and was sold overseas as mahogany.
    A good link for timber pictures is http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/
    Take a look under the heading lacewood and see what that author thinks of the name lacewood. PS To me almost all those pictures look like "C. sublimis" IMHO.
    Last edited by Geoff Irvine; 01-08-2007 at 5:29 AM.

  15. #15
    I have the "Wood in Australia, Types, properties and uses" by Keith Bootle, 2004 edition. The CSIRO book is a little expensive for the moment.

    A lot of nice timber in FNQ.... I've seen pics of the red cedar 'scrap piles' being 'dozed up and burnt back in the '50's. This was around El Arish (just north of Tully) when the soldiers came back from WWII and started taking 'soldier selections'. I've taken a few walks up in the Atherton Tablelands in the World Heritage areas.... never been logged as it is above waterfalls and very steep. They couldn't push the logs into the rivers as when the wet season came and the rivers rose, the logs would get smashed to pieces being thrown over the falls.

    I'll save opening that site till later... I'm on dial-up so the thumbs will smash my useage.

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