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ISLAND TURNING™ - Exotic Timbers

Below are some of the exotic timbers that our craftsmen now have for selection...

Tasmanian Huon Pine (3000+ year old)

Huon Pine is the undisputed King of all Tasmanian timbers. Its’ rich golden colour, age and extreme rarity make it one of the world's most sort after timbers by fine craftsmen.

Found only in Tasmania, Australia, the Huon Pine tree grows alongside untamed rivers and flood plains on the rugged West Coast of Tasmania and in small pockets of virgin Rainforest in the States South West region. Huon Pine trees dating as far back as 11,000 years have been discovered still growing today in these wilderness areas and the species is among the longest lived organisms on the planet.

A Huon Pine tree only increases its girth by approximately 11cm every 100 years. That is why Huon Pine today is one of the most famous of all prized rainforest timber in the World. The timber is not commercially logged and all material is controlled by Forestry Tasmania, only two saw mills have the rights to salvaged timber from Tasmania’s rainforest valleys.

First discovered by Captain James Kelly and Dennis McCarthy in the Macquarie Harbour and the Port Davey areas in 1816, it was quickly exploited commercially and was used extensively in the early days of the then still young settlement for boat building and even everyday household items.

A soft oily timber, the tree itself has no sap but a rare essential oil (Methyl Eugenol). It is this oil that keeps the wood durable for many hundreds of years and makes the tree highly resistant to fungal diseases and insect attack. It is also the oil that gives Huon Pine its colour and unique, unforgettable aroma.

*Sources - Local knowledge, many unknown Internet sites and reference notes... Thank you.

Australian Blackwood

The Australian Blackwood is the tallest of the wattle family and grows to a height of approximately 50 metres. Its timber is coloured from golden browns to deep red browns and black. A premium decorative hardwood Australian Blackwood is also highly regarded for the beautiful fiddleback timber it can produce. Blackwood is used in the manufacturing of pianos and gunstocks.

Australian Blackwood is a hardwood it is also locally known as black wattle. It is found in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. Its appearance is usually straight grained, and if you are lucky a beautiful fiddleback figure. It is even textured with a lustrous appearance.

Australian Blackwood is heavy and strong with moderate stiffness, shock resistance and with work can be polished to an excellent finish. Australian Blackwood has incredibly high crushing strength and as mentioned resistance to impact. Australian Blackwood has good bending properties and is best worked with hand tools making it very time consuming.

*Sources - Local knowledge, many unknown Internet sites and reference notes... Thank you.

Blackheart Sassafras

The name "Sassafras," applied by the botanist Nicolas Monardes in the sixteenth century, is said to be a corruption of the Spanish word for saxifrage. The Sassafras tree can be found growing almost totally covered in lichen and has a lifespan of around two hundred years. A soft light looking yet strong timber, Sassafras can be found in many shapes and beautiful colours.

True Blackheart Sassafras timber has a beautiful streaking stain of black, brown and greenish colouring. The many colours of Sassafras make it a very popular timber.

Of all Tasmanian's timbers, Sassafras has the most variable and dynamic colouring. White sassafras is a beautiful and pale creamy grey to white timber with very light brown toning. Finishing to a grey and golden tone, it makes beautiful artefacts in solid timber and is particularly attractive as a veneer. However, if the tree is infected with a staining fungus, it produces Blackheart Sassafras, a timber with distinctive dark brown to black streaks running through the wood. To add to this visual character, sassafras, no matter what the colour, is close grained, light and a pleasure to work.

Sassafras is a highly workable timber and in skilled hands, can be polished to a very smooth gloss finish. It is highly prized for its spectacular contrasting colour range, Sassafras, Blackheart Sassafras, is a truly remarkable timber.

*Sources - Local knowledge, many unknown Internet sites and reference notes... Thank you.

Victorian Coastal Banksia

Victorian Coastal Banksia is a rich red in colour with endless appeal and to have obtained such large slabs of this special species of tree is a once in a lifetime blessing. Most craftsmen only get to work with Banksia seed pods.

The Banksia species is found throughout Australia, and named after Sir Joseph Banks. One of the first European scientists to visit Australia, Banks arrived with Captain Cook in 1770. Banks was acclaimed for his botanical work on plant species classification.

However the first humans to discover and make use of Banksia plants were of course the Australian aborigines who used the nectar from the flowers as part of their diet and the timber for many day to day items.

Banksia is a genus of about 75 species in the Protea family (Proteaceae). All species occur in Australia with one extending to islands to Australia's north. Banksias can be found in most environments; the tropics, sub-alpine areas, the coast and desert areas.

Banksia flowers are quite small but they occur in dense clusters which, in some species, can number several thousand individuals. They are very attractive to native birds and other small native animals. The seeds themselves have a papery wing which allows them to be distributed by wind.

Most banksias are medium shrubs but some are prostrate and a few can become large trees. Those species native to areas where fires occur at regular intervals often have a "lignotuber", a woody swelling at or below ground level from which regeneration of the plant can occur if the above ground stems are destroyed. Other species are killed in fire, with burnt seedlings sprouting in their place.

*Sources - Local knowledge, many unknown Internet sites and reference notes... Thank you.

Brazilian Peppercorn

The Brazilian Pepper Tree or Christmas Berry is the source of the spice commonly known as pink peppercorns.

The Peppercorn Tree is native to tropical Southern America and the Mediterranean. It grows in the South American Andes to an altitude of 3300m. It is commonly known as a invading species on unvisited riverbanks, forests, scrublands, coastal dunes, grassy woodland and rocky escarpments. Predominantly where rainfall is less than 600mm per year.

Large Peppercorn burls are very much sort after by craftsmen and when worked in knowledgeable hands can make some of the most beautiful decorative pieces of art.

*Sources - Local knowledge, many unknown Internet sites and reference notes... Thank you.