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Rose mahogany

Scientific name

Dysoxylum fraseranum. Family: Meliaceae

Other names

Rosewood

Description

  • Medium-sized tree growing to 40m high.
  • Stem grows more than 1m diameter.
  • Stem is often flanged at the base but not prominently buttressed.
  • Bark is light brown, scaly, and sheds in oblong flakes.
  • Crown is usually dense and rounded with dark green, shiny foliage.

Occurrence

  • Found scattered along the east coast from Wyong, New South Wales, to southern Queensland.
  • In Queensland, mainly in the ranges around Killarney, Tamborine Mountain and the Mistake Ranges.
  • Sawn timber is not readily available.

Appearance

Colour

  • Truewood ranges from red-brown to dark red.
  • Sapwood ranges from light brown to cream.

Grain

  • Moderately close, often interlocked.
  • Texture is uniform.
  • Soft tissue (parenchyma) gives a slight figure (pattern) to tangential surfaces.

Uses

  • Construction: past use in sawn timber in general house framing, flooring, moulding and joinery but rarely used in these applications now.
  • Decorative: panelling, furniture, plywood, shop and office fixtures, joinery, turnery, carving, inlay work.
  • Others: past use for wine casks and brush stocks.

Properties

  • Density: 705kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.4m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: S5 unseasoned, SD5 seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F5, F7, F8, F11 (unseasoned); F8, F11, F14, F17 (seasoned) when visually stress-graded according to AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded hardwoods for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: J2 unseasoned, JD3 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: 4.3% (tangential), 2.5% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: 0.29% (tangential), 0.18% (radial)—these values apply to timber reconditioned after seasoning.
  • Durability above-ground: Class 3 (life expectancy 7–15 years).
  • Durability in-ground: Class 3 (life expectancy 5–15 years).
  • Lyctine susceptibility: untreated sapwood is susceptible to lyctid borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: not resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood readily impregnates with preservative, but penetration of heartwood is negligible using currently available commercial processes.
  • Seasoning: satisfactorily dries using conventional air and kiln seasoning.
  • Hardness: moderately hard (rated 3 on a 6-class scale) to indent work with hand tools.
  • Machining: machines and turns well due to a natural oiliness of the wood.
  • Fixing: no difficulty using standard fittings and fastenings.
  • Gluing: satisfactorily bonds using standard procedures.
  • Finishing: readily accepts paint, stain and polish; however, occasional pieces develop beads of free aromatic oil that stain the wood and produce a dull blotchy bloom under the polished surface—to overcome this problem avoid using timber with freshly dressed surfaces or, if staining has occurred, sponge the surface with alcohol.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: light brown to cream.
  • Heartwood: red-brown, may have small dark oily patches on longitudinal surfaces.
  • Texture: uniform, grain often interlocked.

Wood structure

  • Growth rings: absent.
  • Vessels: medium; uniformly distributed, mostly in short radial multiples but some solitary; obvious vessel lines; dark red vessel contents are common.
  • Parenchyma: abundant in regularly spaced apotracheal bands, slightly lighter in colour than the background—on dressed tangential surfaces these parenchyma bands give rise to an attractive figure (pattern).
  • Rays: fine, visible with a lens.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: produces a full white ash. This, together with the distinctive odour, distinguishes the species from the very similar, and closely related timber, miva mahogany, which burns to a charcoal.
  • Odour: freshly cut wood has a distinctive aromatic odour.

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.