Types of Timber

Each type of slab has its own story – some have been salvaged from the Australian Daintree in the far north of Queensland, while others have travelled from overseas or local sources.

Our timbers are hundreds of years old. Some have been knocked down in storms and cyclones. Others have simply given in to old age and fell to the ground.

No slab is the same, they all come in different hues, shapes and sizes. This depends on the age, wear and tear, type and growth of the tree. Ask us for a personalised background of each furniture piece, timber slab and fit-out.

We work with these different types of timber…

Australian Red Cedar

This timber is highly valued amongst carpenters, the early Australian settlers called it Red Gold. Two hundred years ago it was used extensively for furniture, wood panelling and construction, including shipbuilding.

Photo of Australian Red Cedar Timber

Today, Red Cedar is highly valued as the most favoured Australian Timber for furniture, cabinet work and interior decoration with a coarse, open and usually straight grain. The occasional presence of a wavy, interlocked grain produces a beautiful fiddle back figure.

Australian Red Cedar can grow up to 60 meters in height, quite tall for a tree, and its trunk can be as wide as 3 meters. It’s found in rainforests along the eastern coast of Australia. The main areas are between Ulladulla, New South Wales, Queensland and as far north as Mackay and the Atherton Tableland.

The appearance of the timber ranges from pink to deep red-brown.

What sets this wood apart from others is its distinctly spicy aroma.

Australian Red Cedar can be stained, polished or painted.
Slight textural holes can be filled with resin to create a smooth finish.

Quite a rare timber because of the early heavy usage, Time4Timber sources all our Australian Red Cedar from the far north tropical Queensland.

Black Bean

Photo of Black Bean - Castanospermum australe

Black bean trees are the short ones in the timber family. They can reach a height of 40 meters, but rarely do. Instead, their efforts go into making bright red and yellow flowers from October to November.

Found along the east coast of Queensland and New South Wales, this tree was once used in bridge constructions and mining.

Black bean is moderately hard, with a timber resembling walnut. It has a fine grain texture that polishes well.

Colour ranges from dark brown, chocolate shades or deep black. This is sometimes streaked with lighter coloured bands.

Jarrah

Photo of Jarraj - Eucalyptus marginata

Jarrah is one specie of Eucalyptus tree from Western Australia

Jarrah, a deep red hardwood, is found south-west of Western Australia. This giant wood can grow 40 meters high and 2 meters wide.

Jarrah is one of the best Aussie hardwoods, this timber has a medium hardness and its strength is shown in its weight. Jarrah has an excellent durability level, it’s resistant to termites and rot and has a poor burning quality. Because of this, people prefer to have huge pieces of Jarrah furniture in their homes.

This timber can take a high polish and wear it well. It is generally straight-grained but can contain some fiddle back. We bring out these natural changes in the timber and accentuate the curves in the fiddle back.

DID YOU KNOW? Jarrah is so strong it was once used as the base of road-building.

Forest Red Gum

Photo of Forest Red Gum - Eucalyptus tereticornis

Forest Red Gum found extensively along the east coast of Australia

The Forest Red Gum spread like wild fire across Australia, it is the most extensive latitudinal distribution of the Eucalyptus family.
Forest Red Gum can be found along the coastal South-Eastern parts of Victoria to the top of
Queensland, at North West of Laura.

It helps that as far as timber goes, this tree grows fast and strong.

Red dark in colour, this timber can grow anywhere between 20 – 50 meters in height with two meters in width. It has a moderately coarse grain with a uniform texture.

This is a very hard wood that is termite and idiot resistant. It can be used for indoor and outdoor furniture, flooring and tables.

As a finished product, Forest Red Gum can be painted, stained or polished to perfection.

Mahogany

Photo of African Mahogany - Khaya senegalensis
Mahogany has a bendy, thick and rough grain, and is
relatively free of voids and pockets.

It has a reddish brown colour which
darkens over time, and displays a beautiful reddish sheen when polished. It has excellent workability, and is very durable and slow to rot.

These properties make it a favourable wood for boat making, as tradition has shown, as well as
for making furniture and upholstery, musical instruments, and other durable objects.

DID YOU KNOW? The Beatles used Mahogany drums in the 1960’s while most musicians were using maple or birch drum kits. Mahogany gave them a distinctly dark, warm tone.

Maple

Photo of Maple Wood from Queensland

Maple wood has a highly decorative wood grain that falls into two categories: flame maple and quilt maple. This condition occurs randomly in individual trees of several species of Maple.

It’s a lottery as to which these are, as often it can’t be detected until the wood has been sawn. In rare cases, it’s visible in a standing tree as a rippled pattern in the bark.

Maple is often used in musical instruments. It’s classified as a tonewood, a timber that carries sound waves well.

 

River Red Gum

Despite being wide-spread across the world, the River Red Gum had its humble beginnings on red-scorched Australian soil. Before settlement, Aboriginals used the River Red Gum for everything; from canoes to sacred corroboree trees. This is the Eucalyptus tree depicted in most Australian outback paintings and photographs.

Photo of table made with River red gum

Dining table made with River Red Gum hardwood -with yellow box border

It can grow up to 45 meters in height. The tree plays an
important role in stabilising inland river beds, as the roots clutch to the
soil and reduces flooding, hence the ‘River’ side of the name.

The bright and vibrant shading of red timber from the tree
forms the second half of the name. Depending on the age and weathering of the
timber, colour can range from light pink to ferocious blood red.

In the 1980’s a couple of Red Gum trunks were found were
discovered buried deep in a swamp. The timber was as perfect as the day it
fell, despite it being 5,000 years ago. The only thing that had changed was the colour, going from a dark red to almost pitch black.

River Red Gum used to be used for fencing and sleepers but most recently people have been appreciating beauty for beauty’s sake, making craft furniture that celebrates the fiddle back texture of the wood.

This wood is quite hard and positively shines under a polish.

The tree is a class above the rest, with plantations occurring in Argentina, Arizona, Brazil, California, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.

If you want a wood that makes a bold statement while still maintaining a distinctly Australian tone, this is it.

Silky Oak

Photo of Bench made with Silky Oak -Grevillea robusta

Bench made with Silky Oak -Grevillea robusta

Silky Oak has an open texture compared to other timbers. It can reach heights of 40 meters and a width of 2 meters.

Silky Oaks are found in the rainforests at the tip of Queensland and along the coastal rivers of
New South Wales and Queensland.

Silky Oak colour ranges from pink to red-brown, depending on the age of the wood.

In the 1900s it was used for school desks and railway carriages.

Because of its’ highly sought after shade, it has been planted in Sri Lankan tea estates, South African banana farms and New Guinea Coffee plantations.

Raintree

Raintree was imported into Australia for the wonderful shade it created on dry, rural properties. This chocolate brown and cream tree can grow quite large and was used extensively in the outback.

The raw timber has a moderately coarse texture and a beautiful ribbon-effect grain. This is because of its interlocked grain. It has outer creamy white sapwood with reddish-brown heartwood.

Unlike most woods, this timber doesn’t crack in drier climates. It’s more stable than Mahogany. Raintree is moderately heavy and resistant to decay and termites.

This hardwood is native to Central America and South America but is planted widely in tropical countries, including the Philippines and India. It’s still used as a fast-growing shelter tree in coffee and cocoa plantations.

The name “Rain Tree” was coined in India because of the moisture that collects at the roots of the tree.