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Pepperwood

Scientific name

Cinnamomum laubatii formerly C. tamala. Family: Lauraceae

Other names

Brown beech

Description

  • Medium-sized hardwood tree.
  • Grows to 35m high with a spread of 6m.
  • Bole (trunk) is straight and somewhat buttressed.
  • Bark is reddish-brown or light brown, and occasionally scaly on larger trees.

Occurrence

  • Native to the tropical rainforests of North Queensland.
  • Occurs from Mackay to Atherton.

Appearance

Colour

  • Heartwood is very pale pink, pink-brown or straw to golden brown.
  • Sapwood is pale to light brown and not easily distinguished from the heartwood.

Grain

  • Usually very straight grained.

Uses

  • Construction: plywood, internal covered flooring.
  • Decorative: panelling, cupboard fittings and mouldings, carving, stained and polished furniture.
  • Others: boat planking, light spars and oars, brush stocks, fishing reels, toys, crates and cases.

Properties

  • Density: 480kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 2.1m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: (S7) unseasoned, (SD8) seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F4, F5, F7, (unseasoned); F4, F5, F7, F8 (seasoned) when visually stress graded according to AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—visually stress-graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: SD4 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: 5.1% (tangential), 2.0% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: 0.28% (tangential)—this value applies to timber reconditioned after seasoning.
  • Durability above-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 7 years).
  • Durability in-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 5 years).
  • Lyctine susceptibility: untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctid borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: not resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood will impregnate with preservative.
  • Seasoning: seasons well using conventional air and kiln.
  • Hardness: very soft (rated 6 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: easy to work due to its softness; excellent carving timber.
  • Fixing: holds nails and screws well.
  • Gluing: glues well.
  • Finishing: paints, stains, and polishes well.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: light brown.
  • Heartwood: pink-brown to yellow-brown.
  • Texture: medium and uniform, straight grain.

Wood structure

  • Vessels: solitary, and short radial multiples up to 3 cells, uniform diffuse distribution, visible without a lens; vessel lines prominent on dressed surfaces.
  • Parenchyma (soft tissue):not visible at low magnification.
  • Rays: fine, visible with 10× lens; ray fleck prominent without magnifying on radial surfaces.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: match-size splinter burns to a filament of black ash.
  • Odour: freshly cut wood has a slight spicy aroma.

Research and resources

  • Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, Forest trees of Australia, 5th ed., CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Australia.
  • Bootle, K 2005, Wood in Australia: Types, properties and uses, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Sydney.
  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: Properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2000, AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.