Choosing a timber

Choosing a timber

We’re mindful that in today’s world there is ever increasing emphasis on the impact to our environment in all that we do. We source timber only from a trader who strictly adheres to a sustainable management of resources as we are committed to ensuring that our forests are there for future generations. Our timber supplier is an FSC Chain of Custody Certificate Holder.

The beauty of wood is that it engages our senses. Warm and rich, its surface has a tactile and sensuous strength, while the range of timber hues and the depth of individual grain delights the eye. We love our timbers and treat them with great respect.

Using only the soil, sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide from the air, in Australia we are fortunate to have many beautiful native timbers. Each species has its own character and individual richness. Like all natural timbers, the Australian hardwood colour palette comes with distinct natural features like: knots, gum veins and a variety of grain thicknesses. Tone, grain, growth rings, knots (or not); there are almost as many variations in timber species as there are species themselves. The timber species will determine the general look, such as colour and grain patterns, however with timber being a natural product even within one species there will be variations. There are no two logs the same. Each log is carefully assessed to ascertain the best way to bring out the best features.

Variation in Timber

Timber is an amazingly diverse natural product, and is always in demand as a material for this very reason. An individual species of timber can have an enormous range of colour and features, not only between trees in the same forest, but also in boards sawn from the same tree. For this reason, it is nearly impossible to demonstrate the variances of a species in a single lamp base.

As a customer, you need to recognise and understand that when purchasing a particular species of timber, colour and grain variation will most definitely occur. That is the reason that most customers are drawn to the romance of a timber product in the first place. Australian species timbers in particular are renowned for their depth of variation in both colour and grain. Please consider this when choosing your lamp base.

Your lamp base will be unique in its own colour, grain and textural appearance, just like you. Some species exhibit only small variations while others vary greatly in colour and features. The timber can have all types of inclusions such as knots, pin holes, insect trails, black specks, gum veins and gum pockets. Be aware that as soon as the timber is exposed to UV light, it will start to mature and change colour (oxidise), typically becoming a deeper, more even tone, and that this process will continue for many months after purchase, depending on the conditions. In summary, your timber lamp base is a natural product, containing variations in colour, shade and grain. Like snowflakes, no two pieces will ever be the same.

Characteristics of timber

Timber Species

Tasmanian Blackwood

Tasmanian Blackwood is a beautiful timber that is sought after for its rich brown colours, lustre and figure. It is prized for aesthetic applications making it one of Australia's prime decorative timbers. Blackwood is prevalent throughout Tasmania's native forests, growing to a height of 50 meters. It readily grows from the coast to 1,000m above sea level but it excels in lowland swampy conditions. Tasmanian Blackwood is fast growing and after fire, it regenerates easily from seed and its young growth is particularly attractive to native animals. Boasting a variety of colours ranging from light golden-brown to deep brown (sometimes with a reddish tint) and occasionally showing black streaks, with a wavy grain producing a beautiful fiddle-back figure, the timber radiates a subtle beauty that makes it irresistible to designers. A specialty, premium decorative hardwood it is very stable and long lasting, and its use reflects statements of style and quality. It is widely used for cabinets, furniture, bench tops, billiard tables, pianos and gun stocks. Long recognised as a decorative woodturning timber.

Spotted Gum

Spotted Gum is a rich individual timber, desired by architects and designers the world over, particularly for its striking backsawn grain structure, attractive fiddle-back and vibrant colour palette. It is a large premium hardwood that is grown in a variety of forest types (35-45 meters in height) from the VIC/NSW border, along the NSW coastal strip into Queensland tablelands. The word “spotted” refers to large spot like features that form on the tree as it sheds its bark in strips. The presence of a wavy grain can produce an attractive fiddle-back figure. Gum veins are common.

A true Australian classic hardwood, it is highly sought after due to its wide variety of textures and inherent beauty. Its attractive markings, large knots and intertwining grains see it widely used in structural, exterior and interior applications due to its striking appearance and a high degree of natural durability and strength. Applications include wharf and bridge construction, flooring, decking, boat building, tool handles, wine casks, carving and diving boards.

Australian Wormy Chestnut

Also known as Southern Blackbutt, no two pieces of Australian Wormy Chestnut are ever the same. Deep in the forests of southern eastern Australia, the trees are affected by wildfires, years of drought and attack by insects. It is a timber with a very Australian story to tell, from the sinuous trail left by scribbly gum moth larvae as they search for nutrients under the bark, the peppering of pin holes by ambrosia beetles, squiggly worm marks and deep red gum veins formed by scorching fire. Flood and strong winds stunt their growth with each piece showing nature's signature. It imparts a character and uniqueness that cannot be manufactured or grown in plantation timber.

Wormy Chestnut timber is hard wearing and durable that is very similar to a traditional oak colour with its mellow straw blonde or light brown tones. Having been dubbed “the next big thing in Australian timber,” Wormy Chestnut is finding a ready home as character flooring and in commercial fitouts for cafes and restaurants. It has been used to make upmarket architectural-quality furniture such as dining tables, buffets, entertainment units and bedroom furniture. It’s a distinctive and rustic timber with a funny name.

American Walnut

Considered the Aristocrat of fine cabinetwoods, this wood is moderately heavy, hard and strong and has good shock resistant. It grows abundantly in the east half of America except for northern areas. The heartwood is varying in colour from rich chocolate-brown to purplish-black. The timber is generally steamed before drying which darkens the sapwood to the heartwood colouring. The timber has a fine even texture with a grain that varies from plain to highly figured. Aside from the tree producing edible nuts, it is also the chosen wood for gunstocks and rifle butts. It has also been used in boat building, kitchen cabinets, musical instruments and umbrella handles. It works well with hand or machine tools and finishes beautifully when polished.

New Guinea Rosewood

Also known as Solomon Islands Rosewood, the tree grows on coastal lowlands and mountain slopes. The colour varies from a golden brown to a dark blood-red. Texture medium. Grain variable. The freshly cut wood has a fragrant odour and is often highly figured. Ribbon or flame-like figure can be found on wavy grained boards. Rosewood can get purple streaks through the boards. This is considered a feature of this timber. This hardwood is mainly used for decorative items including parquetry flooring, exterior joinery, furniture, sporting goods and violin bows.

American White Oak

Similar in colour and appearance to European oak, and also known as Northern White Oak or Southern White Oak. Indigenous to East USA and South East Canada, the heartwood varies in colour from yellowish-brown to mid-brown, sometimes with a pinkish tint. The grain is generally straight and the texture varies from coarse to medium coarse. A hard-wearing timber, it machines, moulds, stains and polishes with handsome results. Typical uses include cabinetmaking, boat building, flooring and even coffins!

American White Ash

Similar in appearance to European ash and also known as Northern Ash, Southern Ash and White Ash, this wood polishes, turns and stains well. The heartwood is lightly coloured and varies from greyish brown to pale yellow streaked with brown. The wood is generally straight-grained with a coarse, uniform texture. It shows strong figure due to prominent growth rings. An ideal furniture timber especially when stained as it looks very similar to Oak. It is used for quality furniture and built-in kitchens. Other uses include tool handles and sports equipment such as oars, paddles, bats and snooker cues.

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