Know Your Wood: Choosing the Right Timber for Your Building Project

If there’s an industry that is steadily growing in Australia, it’s the timber export market.

As the world’s sixth-largest log exporter in 2016, Australia increased its timber export volume by about 300 percent between 2012 and 2016.

The growth is predicted to continue, reaching new industry records in Australia, thanks to demand for favourite timbers that are native to the country, including:

1. Eucalyptus

The most common timber found in Australia, Australia is home to many eucalyptus species.

Universally popular, blackbutt timber is famed for its hardiness, with straight, fine and even grains. Its colour – usually blonde or pale straw with an occasional pink – makes it a well-loved choice for a clean interior design.

2. Cedar

One of the most common cedar timbers is western red, aptly named for its pinkish-red appearance. The wood is straight-grained and relatively soft.

You will find that this wood is usually used for outdoor furniture like deck handrails or window frames since it can resist rotting even in a moist environment.

3. Pine

Cypress, hoop and radiata pine are the most common pines in Australia. Each species offers its own benefits when used in building projects.

While cypress’ anti-termite properties make it a good choice for flooring material, hoop pine is utilised as plywood material.

Meanwhile, radiata pine needs to be chemically treated to have better resistance towards decay and termites before using it as house-framing timbers.

4. Ash

This sapwood is very light-coloured, to the extent where it appears almost white.

The heartwood, however, is usually greyish-brown in colour, but it can also feature some brown streaks in an otherwise pale-yellow wood. Ash is also straight-grained, with an even but coarse texture.

5. Maple

Maple wood can be further differentiated as rock maple (hard maple) or soft maple.

Rock maple is extremely hard in nature with a pale appearance, and its grain can be straight or wavy at times. Its pale colour and hard properties make it an excellent choice for gymnasium flooring.

Soft maple meanwhile is usually used to make boxes and pallets due to its lighter weight and wide colour variation.

6. Tasmanian Oak

Tasmanian oak features a pale light cream colour – even slightly pinkish – and an even texture despite its moderately coarse texture.

Several timber companies list the Tasmanian oak as the perfect choice for staining purposes since it features evenly straight grains.

7. Chestnut

Featuring colours that can range anywhere from light chocolate to straw-brown tones, chestnut is also known as southern blackbutt or Australian chestnut.

The timber is extremely durable since chestnut is extremely hard in nature and dent resistant, making it a suitable option for hardwood timber flooring.

8. Poplar

Poplar plantations span about 1,200 hectares in New South Wales.

The most common use for the timber is making matchsticks, which is losing its importance due to the increased use of disposable lighters.

Reconstituted poplar veneer can also be a good substitute for rainforest veneers, although it’s suited only for indoor use. Poplar has an extremely fine grain and is suitable for staining.

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