Timbers in Gallery
What is Burlwood? It is often likened to a cancerous growth randomly occurring throughout most forests of the world similar to the spread of the dreaded disease amongst humans.
Fortunately it has little detrimental effect to the host tree and may be removed also with no affect to the tree. It has never been proven the cause but theories range from virus attack to lightning strikes. The tree directs growth to an affected area where the tree growth curls over itself beginning life as a fist size growth but never stopping resulting in burl growths on rare occasions exceeding 3m in diameter weighing many tones.
These growths display a striking range of grain structures and colour with no two burls ever being the same. It is this diversification and grain beauty that has captured the imagination of craftsmen around the world for centuries.
Jarrah Burlwood in particular is highly regarded and very striking, making it one of the premier Burlwoods and it is found on our doorstep if one looks close enough.
Another burl specific to the South-west of WA is the Marri burl. Rarer than Jarrah but when it takes hold can grow quickly to immense sizes. Due to the rapid growth, fine knotty round burl growth that is peculiar to Jarrah is not as evident but its own character is stunning. Swirling grains are produced intermingled with flowing blood red gum veins that contrast strikingly with the oak colour timber often bleeding into the timber merging reds and oranges into yellow.
Curly Jarrah, Marri and Blackbutt
Curly grained timber, is a unique grain formation with a wavy or rippled effect. When a tree’s roots have stabilised themselves the upper tree area can twist a few degrees causing the trunk to twist slightly.
The fine textured grain particles are compressed gradually through the trees growth cycle. This creates the attractive rippled effect, sometimes even looking 3 dimensional.
Jarrah – Eucalyptus Marginata
One of the most well-known trees of the South West. Jarrah is a magnificent tree with a very straight trunk that can reach heights up to 40m. Jarrah only grows in the South-West corner of Western Australia. For many years it has been the principal hardwood tree salvaged for timber. It is one of the world’s best hardwoods. The timber is straight grained and richly coloured and is in turn sought after for cabinet making, flooring and carving. Before the era of bitumen roads, famous roads in cities such as London and Berlin were paved with blocks of Jarrah.
Marri – Corymbia Calophylla
This majestic tree is one of the most common trees of the South-West forests. Marri belongs to a group of eucalypts known as bloodwoods, because their trunks exude a dark red gum. Marri can grow up to 60m in height, but is often much smaller and grows as a mallee. This strong, golden coloured timber has been used in buildings and as fence posts, however these days it is highly sought after by Furniture makes and clients wanting a lighter hardwood timber for there homes.
Karri – Eucalyptus Diversicolor
Karri is Western Australia’s tallest tree and one of the tallest in the world. Karri grows up to 90m high and reaches its optimum height within 100 years. Karri can be recognised by its tall trunk, smooth colourful bark and relatively few leafy upper branches arranged in distinctive “broccoli” shaped clusters. Karri is used as a structural hardwood, providing long lengths of timber.
Blackbutt – Eucalyptus Patens
Blackbutt is a tall straight tree growing up to 45m in height. The common name is derived from the bark, which is often blackened by fire. The wood is yellow to honey coloured and has similar characteristics to that of Jarrah. It has been used for building and furniture and particularly flooring and panelling.
Sheoak – Allocasuarina Fraseriana
This small to medium sized tree grows up to 15m high. It’s timber is similar to that of the European Oak and is excellent for wood turning. It is often used in for crafting furniture, creating fine vibrant inlays and for making beautiful craft items. The timber of the Sheoak ranges in colour from light gold to vibrant orange and has spectacular darker flashes throughout.
Mallee – genus Eucalyptus
Mallee (an Aboriginal word) is a growth-form rather than a particular specie, that is, a Eucalypt having many stems arising from a large, underground, woody swelling composed of stem tissue called a lignotuber. The lignotubers are large, woody, convoluted swellings often 0.3-0.6 m in diameter and sometimes up to 1.5 m
It is their woody root that is used in woodturning, carving and as table bases. There are a total of about 515 described species of Eucalypts. Of these, approximately 108 are Mallee eucalypts, whom 71 occur only in Western-Australia. 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.
Sassafras – Atherosperma Moschatum
This tree grows in Tasmania’s wet eucalypt forest and young rain forest, where it may live for up to 150 – 200years. It can grow to a height of 45m. If the tree is infected with staining fungus it produces Blackheart Sassafras. Blackheart Sassafras is a timber with distinctive dark brown, black and even green streaks running through the wood. Blackheart is highly prized for decorative features, as no two pieces are ever the same.
Banksia – Banksia Grandis
All Banksia have dense spikes of flowers, consisting of hundreds or even thousands of individual blooms.
The Bull Banksia is a common species in the forests of the South-west region of Western Australia and has the largest flower spikes of all Banksias. Bull Banksia’s usually grow as a thick, rough barked tree, up to 10 meters in height. Unlike several other banksias, its fruiting cones do not need to be burnt before they shed their seed. It is these cones that when dry are referred to as Banksia nuts and are used by craftsmen to make small decorative items such as coasters and boxes.
Blackwood – Acacia Melanoxylon
Blackwood is a member of the wattle family and is a hardwood. The swamps of North-west Tasmania have been a primary source of high quality Blackwood for more than a century and this resource has been the cornerstone of Tasmania’s fine furniture industry over that time. Its colours range from light golden brown to deep brown with a straight or wavy grain. Blackwood is an easy tree to grow with swamp forests dedicated to its silviculture on a substantial basis.
Camphor Laurel – Cinnamomum camphora
Camphor Laurel is a large evergreen tree that grows up to 30m tall. Camphor is a white crystalline substance, obtained from the tree. Native to Taiwan, Japan, China and Indochina, where it is also cultivated for camphor and timber production. Camphor Laurel was introduced to Australia in 1822 as an ornamental tree. It has since become a weed throughout QLD and Central to Northern NSW. It is used be Wood workers for turning and crafting furniture. Formerly it was used to construct camphorwood chests. Camphor has been used for many centuries as a culinary spice, a component of incense, and as a medicine.
Grass Tree – Xanthorrhoea Preissii
Grass Tree’s are an Australian landscape icon. They have a lifespan of 600 years but are very slow-growing – plant’s grow only about 1-2cm (0.4-0.8in) in height per year. Grass Trees are unique to Australia. The wood-like material sought after by wood turners is only found in the West Australian species Xanthorrhoea Preissii, this species is mostly found in the South Western corner. The “wood” is really compressed and bonded fibres, and the spots or dots one sees on a turned piece are the centre marks of the previous leaves. The “grain “pattern is thought to be caused by the different growing conditions e.g. drought, floods and bushfires. Grass trees were used extensively by the Aborigines to attach heads to their spears, and by the early white settlers as a substitute lacquer and varnish.
Huon Pine – Lagarostrobus Franklinii
Exclusive and ageless, Huon Pine grows only in the temperate rainforests of Tasmania, Australia’s southern island state. Huon Pine is a very slow growing and long lived tree, the timber is like a time capsule. It can take 1000 years for a tree to reach 30 metres. Light in colour and fine textured, it is easy to work with and has a beautiful golden colour. Widely used in furniture making, turning and craft.
Red Cedar – Toona Ciliata Ssp. Ciliata Var. Australis
Fast growing deciduous rainforest tree, growing up to 35m in height. Highly valued for its timber in earlier days, it has now become rare. Its beautiful wood, usually a rich red-brown with distinct growth rings, is soft, lightweight, aromatic and durable. One of Australia’s finest cabinet timbers, its rarity now severely limits its usage. The beautiful dark red, fine grained, easily worked timber was in great demand for many purposes – for doors and door-frames, window-frames, the interior of houses and public buildings, for furniture, for coffins, for ship building, and in later years for the interior of railway carriages.
Red Gum – Eucalyptus Camaldulensis
Red Gum is a common and widespread medium sized tree, growing to 30m tall. It can be found along watercourses over much of mainland Australia. It is frequently a dominant component of riparian communities, and is an iconic and important species of the Murray-Darling catchment, both ecologically and economically. The wood has been used for heavy construction, railway sleepers, flooring, framing, fencing, plywood and veneer manufacture, wood turning, firewood and charcoal production.
Hoop Pine – Araucaria Cunninghamii
These trees grow to 60 m, live up to 450 years and grow very slowly (23 mm each year when mature). These trees occur on drier sites in rainforests, in places that are rocky or have soils with relatively low fertility. The bark splits horizontally at regular intervals giving the common name, Hoop Pine. The wood is a pale yellow-brown colour with a fine texture and a straight grain making it useful for furniture, flooring, panelling and, in the past, match sticks and boxes.
Pink Gidgee – Acacia Crombiei
These timbers are Australian desert hardwoods, due to the arid conditions they grow in they have very little moisture content even when first milled, making a very stable material after normal air-drying. The colour of Pink Gidgee is a greenish brown when first sanded, but it oxidises to a purplish pink colour. Gidgee is extremely hard with a close tight grain and polishes easily to a semi gloss type sheen using fine sand papers and steel wool.
Conkerberry – Carissa Lanceolata
Orange Conkerberry also known as Bush Plum, grows in the Northern Territory and Queensland. The stem displays bright tones of orange and cream and for this reason is highly sought after by woodworkers and wood enthusiasts. The Australian Anmatyerre people, use this bush for food and for it’s medicinal properties.
Red Morrel – Eucalyptus Longicornis
Red morrel is a medium to tall tree up to 30 m. The rough grey bark up to the branches has a stringy texture, with smooth grey bark on the branches. The species is common in the south-east Goldfields and in the Wheatbelt to Coorow. The most sought after part of the tree for woodturning and carving, is the very rare burlwoods with there beautiful reddish interlocking grain.
York Gum – Eucalyptus Loxophleba
York gum is a small tree of reasonable form, from 5 to 15 m tall with diameter up to 0.6 m, or a low straggly mallee. The species is widespread in the Wheatbelt and Goldfields areas, and the typical York gum is found in the Toodyay, York and Kellerberrin areas. Poorer trees are found as far north as Shark Bay, and east of Kalgoorlie. It is found in woodland formations, in association with wandoo, salmon gum, gimlet, powderbark wandoo (E. accedens), as well as raspberry jam. Further east, it occurs with mallee eucalypts. Heartwood is yellow-brown, hard and tough with an interlocked grain.