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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All

Just wondering if anyone has any knowledge of the wood from the NSW Christmas Bush.

I have a dead one with a 100mm trunk to cut down and I'm wondering whether it's worth seasoning to make handles for my leather working tools or if it's just firewood.

I've searched online but all the info I've found has been from a botanical perspective, not a mention of the wood which makes me think it's probably the latter.

Mark D
 

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The bush part of the name means it probably isn't in any way considered a lumber tree. That doesn't necessarily mean anything negative. There is a bush species here called Douglas maple which you'll never get a board out of. I've found some that had short sections to 20 cm in diameter but when I tried sawing it into boards it cupped so badly it was pointless (multiple pieces of different bushes, not just one).

However, when I took a square of it and turned it on my lathe it turned out beautifully and has also turned out to be quite stable in the round. You won't know for sure unless you try it.
 

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Save as much as you can for lumber and see how it comes out. Then let us know what the results are. I saved a piece of Holly shrub that was a combined growth of several trunks growing together, and the boards were twisted and warped, but had some very interesting grain and patterns when sanded and finished were quite attractive. It is worth trying to save. go for it.
Herb
 

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What I found interesting, Mark, was that ALL the on-line articles (that I read) failed to mention anything about the actual wood. Even if it was useless for any practical application you'd think they'd at least mention that.
Very strange.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What I found interesting, Mark, was that ALL the on-line articles (that I read) failed to mention anything about the actual wood. Even if it was useless for any practical application you'd think they'd at least mention that.
Very strange.
Yes, same as I found, hence my enquiry here as to whether anyone had specific knowledge.

I did find that Coachwood which is a nice fine grain hardwood is the same genus ie a close relative which sounded promising but lack of specific information online or in my reference books seems to imply the opposite.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The bush part of the name means it probably isn't in any way considered a lumber tree.
This is very much a case of the common name being a misnomer, it's really a tree, generally 5+m tall and up to about 10m. The one I've to cut down was a little stunted at about 4m due to a neighbours trees overshadowing it (they like a lot of sun).

I'll probably keep the main trunk and try turning some tool handles.

Mark
 

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Go for it, Mark. And, post some pics, if you would.
 

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Another example I have Mark is Hawthorne. I did a quick search and one hit was eastern U.S. and it said "rare hawthorne" but no picture so I can't say if it's the same species as out west. It's not in the wood database because there isn't enough of it. It's hard to find much that's straight enough and big enough but if you can, what a find. It is some of the prettiest wood I've ever seen with the outer wood being creamy white with chocolate brown flecks running through it. The heartwood is a reddish brown. It is at least as hard as hard maple, turns beautifully, and will make lumber if you could find it wide enough and long enough.

Another is Siberian elm that I have growing around my yarsd. They were suposed to be shrubs but have turned into moderate sized trees in a few cases. I had a pretty good sized limb break off from a snow storm so I sawed it up. The sapwood is a light canary yellow and the rest is red with some stunning grain in the edge grain parts. It will make boards and it turns fairly well.

You just never know without giving it a try so I don't automatically toss anything that I'm not sure about anymore.
 

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The interesting thing is that some species have fairly innocuous longitudinal grain but the end grain is spectacular (or possibly the reverse).
That Narra I found was a nice example.

Narra end grain:
 

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it's also called Coach wood...

Coachwood is a medium-sized hardwood tree found in the coastal rainforests of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. The true wood of this species – not always clearly distinct from the sapwood – is a pale pink to pinkish-brown colour. The grain is usually straight, with a fine and even texture. Due to banding of soft tissue (parenchyma) in the wood, the timber is often highly figured on back-sawn surfaces. The wood has a distinctive ‘caramel’ odour – hence one of the species’ common names is Scented Satinwood.

Coachwood is only moderately durable, with a life expectancy of between five and seven years for in-ground and aboveground applications, respectively. Coachwood is not resistant to termites, and its untreated sapwood is susceptible to lyctid borer attack. The sapwood (but not heartwood) of this species is readily impregnated with preservatives.

Coachwood is moderately hard (rated 4 on a 6-class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools. The timber machines well to a smooth surface. It accepts standard fixings and fastenings but tends to split when nailing (pre-drilling is recommended). Coachwood glues well and readily accepts most coatings. Coachwood responds better to water- and spirit-based stains, than to oil-based equivalents.

Uses of coachwood timber are predominantly decorative, although it is used as a flooring material and for spars and masts in boatbuilding. Common applications include turnery, carving, interior fittings, sporting goods, furniture and cabinetwork. Coachwood is also found as a decorative veneer. Courtroom number three of the High Court of Australia is furnished with coachwood timber.

https://www.woodsolutions.com.au/wood-species/coachwood
 
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Related apparently, Stick, but not the same plant...
PlantNET - FloraOnline
https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp3/ceratopetalum-gummiferum.html (this is the one Mark has)

"A related species, Ceratopetalum apetalum, is a handsome, glossy shrub or tree, rare in the Canberra district. It is upright, 5 m high, with large dark leaves, and bears open sprays of very small creamish flowers. One of its common names is Coachwood, alluding to one of its timber uses. "
 

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Related apparently, Stick, but not the same plant...
PlantNET - FloraOnline
https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp3/ceratopetalum-gummiferum.html (this is the one Mark has)

"A related species, Ceratopetalum apetalum, is a handsome, glossy shrub or tree, rare in the Canberra district. It is upright, 5 m high, with large dark leaves, and bears open sprays of very small creamish flowers. One of its common names is Coachwood, alluding to one of its timber uses. "
we going to get into a box/finger joint type discussion ???
 

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Nope.
The reason plant species have sub-species is precisely because they're different.
Take the Firs for example...Abies species...all quite different from each other, and Douglas Fir isn't even a true Fir.
https://www.thespruce.com/twelve-species-of-fir-trees-3269663
True. Douglas fir is related to hemlocks. Balsam is a true fir. The black spruce I logged in Alberta was barely suitable for making lumber. The tamarack there only grew around muskeg and maybe to 12" diameters and was supposed to be hard as hell. The larch that it's related to in BC grows to be 5' across and 120 ' tall plus. It's wood is very similar to D fir. In BC the most common pine is lodgepole. The jackpine that grows in Alberta looks very similar biut is a bit denser. That tree is the reason delimbers were invented. I copuldn't get the limbs to break off until it was -35 or colder. Lodgepole has fewer limbs, mostly at the top of the tree, and the limbs break off at plus temperatures. A small difference in subspecies can make a big difference in the wood.
 
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