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Queensland maple

Scientific name

Flindersia brayleyana. Family: Rutaceae

Other names

Maple

Description

  • Medium-sized tree.
  • Grows to 40m high and 2.5m stem diameter.
  • Trunk is usually well formed, circular in cross-section and not buttressed.
  • Bark is about 12mm thick, and grey to brown.
  • Bark has distinct longitudinal fissures; in older trees, these fissures are not so marked owing to scaliness.

Occurrence

  • Restricted to northern Queensland rainforests between Townsville and the Windsor Tableland.

Appearance

Colour

  • Heartwood is pink to brownish pink.
  • Sapwood is a narrow band of white to pale grey.

Grain

  • Partly interlocked, and often wavy or curly.
  • Texture is medium and uniform.
  • Quarter-sawn boards may show various figures (patterns) such as waterwave, rib and birdseye.

Uses

Decorative

  • Furniture, plywood, shop and office fixtures.
  • Joinery, turnery, carving, inlay work, picture frames.

Others

  • Light boat building (planking, decking, sawn frames, stringers, chines, gunwales), marine plywood.
  • Historical use for aeroplane propellers, coach, vehicle and carriage building, draughtsman´s implements, gunstocks, musical instruments (piano parts, guitar necks, backs, sides and headstock) and walking sticks.
  • General building framing in the early 1900s, and more commonly in flooring, lining mouldings and joinery, but this use has been very infrequent for decades.

Properties

  • Density: 575kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.7m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: (S6) unseasoned, SD6 seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F4, F5, F7, F8 (unseasoned); F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned) when visually stress-graded according to AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: J4 unseasoned, JD4 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: 7.2% (tangential), 2.9% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: 0.25% (tangential), 0.15% (radial)—these values apply 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: sapwood is not susceptible to lyctid borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: not resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood readily impregnates with preservative but the heartwood can’t be adequately treated using available commercial processes.
  • Seasoning: satisfactorily dries using conventional air and kiln seasoning.
  • Hardness: firm (rated 4 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: machines, and turns well, to a smooth surface.
  • Fixing: no difficulty using standard fittings and fastenings.
  • Gluing: satisfactorily bonds using standard procedures.
  • Finishing: readily accepts stain, polish and paint.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: white to pale grey.
  • Heartwood: pink to brownish pink with lustrous sheen.
  • Texture: medium and uniform; grain highly variable, sometimes with interlocked fibres; wavy or curly and occasionally more disturbed producing fiddleback or birdseye.

Wood structure

  • Growth rings: absent.
  • Vessels: small to medium, uniformly distributed, mainly solitary but with some in short radial rows of up to 4; simple perforation plates can be seen with a lens; deposits of extraneous (external) material present in some vessels.
  • Parenchyma (soft tissue): not visible under a lens.
  • Rays: visible without a lens and prominent on radial surfaces.
  • Ripple marks: absent.
  • Intercellular canals: present in some samples.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: burns to a white-buff, full ash.
  • Birdseye: areas of dark-coloured soft tissue, causing dressed surfaces to appear dimpled; due to an insect (restricted to this species) attacking the living tree—not particularly common in wood marketed for furniture or high-value decorative uses, but the feature is useful for distinguishing wood of F. brayleyana from otherwise very similar wood of F. pimenteliana (maple silkwood).

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, Strathpine, NSW.