Grey Gum (Eucalyptus Propinqua)
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Grey Ironbark is a premium native Australian hardwood with a wide range of applications from industrial construction to house framing, flooring and sporting goods. Grey Ironbark is a premium native hardwood that has been well regarded as a high quality timber in Australia throughout human history. Indigenous Australians use it to make spear throwers and boil its bark for treating sores. It is a particularly hard, strong and durable timber, with a truly broad range of applications, due to its resistance to lyctid borers and termites.
The Grey Ironbark is a medium sized tree of 30 to 50m with a stem diameter of 1.5m. The bark is hard, coarse, with deep furrows and ridges, ranging from dark brown to black in colour and grows from northern New South Wales to Bundaberg, Queensland. It is also found in scattered patches as far north as the Atherton Tableland.
A very heavy timber, at 1120 kilograms per cubic metre, Grey Ironbark is dense and can be difficult to work. Dressed surfaces take on a steely sheen. The timber’s appearance ranges from reddish to dark brown heartwood. The sapwood is lighter in colour and is 20mm thick on average. Grain is usually tight and straight and no distinctive figure is encountered.
Both sawn and round grey ironbark timber has a wide range of applications. Engineering uses include railway sleepers, construction, poles and cross-arms, and bridge construction. Unseasoned timber is used in house framing, while dressed timber can be employed for both internal and external use. It has also been used in boat, coach, vehicle and carriage building and to create sporting goods.
The heartwood of this species is a red to red-brown colour, visually distinct from the paler sapwood. Grain is usually interlocked with a coarse but even texture. Grub holes are an occasional feature in sawn timber products.
Grey Gum is widely used in heavy engineering and marine construction, where it is found as poles, piles, railway sleepers, cross-arms and mining timbers. In general construction it is used for building framework, flooring and decking. Grey Gum is also extensively used in landscaping and boat building. It is renowned for making superior-quality butcher’s blocks suitable for use in both commercial and domestic environments.
Because of its density and grain structure, Grey Gum is difficult to work when dry. It machines satisfactorily, although care is required in working the timber’s interlocked grain. Grey Gum readily accepts paint, stain and polish, and is amenable to the use of standard fastenings and fittings. As with most high-density species, machining and surface preparation should be done immediately prior to the application of bonding agents.
Timber decking creates spaces that are functional, practical and aesthetically pleasing. With the right design and care a timber deck will make a valuable addition to any home or business, creating an outdoor living space that will be enjoyed for years to come.
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