Forest Red Gum
Blue Gum (Qld), Red Irongum (Qld), Red Gum, Blakely’s Red Gum, Eucalyptus umbellata, Eucalyptus vlakelyi, Eucalyptus blakelyi
Forest red gum is a versatile, dense and durable hardwood, with a light to dark red heartwood perfect for flooring, decking, construction and furniture making.
Forest red gum produces a reliable timber suited to a wide range of uses. The timber is highly durable with an extremely high density. It displays a tight interlocking grain alongside its lush red colour, making it excellent for applications where appearance and durability are important.
As the name suggests, forest red gum is a medium to tall forest tree. Trees of this species grow to a height of 20 to 50 metres, with a girth of up to two metres. The trunk is straight and is usually unbranched for more than half the total height of the tree, with limbs that are more steeply inclined than other eucalypt species. The bark is shed in irregular sheets, resulting in a smooth trunk surface, coloured in patches of white, grey and blue. Rough dark grey to black dead bark is retained at the base of the stem.
A versatile timber, forest red gum can be used in wharf and bridge construction, railway sleepers, cross-arms and mining timbers. It is suitable for all building members including posts and poles, framing, flooring, lining, decking and cladding. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor furniture. As well as sawn and round applications, forest red gum is suitable for the manufacture of structural plywood.
Eucalyptus tereticornis, the most commercially important of the two sub-species, spreads from coastal south-eastern Victoria to southern Papua New Guinea. E. blakelyi subsp. blakelyi is found from northern Victoria through New South Wales and into southern Queensland. Timber appearance and properties are identical for both species. E. tereticornis sapwood is not susceptible to lyctid borer attack, unlike E. blakelyi. This species is not susceptible to termites.
|Very Low||Low||Medium||High||Very High|
|Unit Movement Tangential||0.34%|
|Unit Movement Radial||0.25%|
|Very High||High||Reasonably High||Medium High||Medium||Reasonably Low||Low||Very Low|
|Structural No. 1||Structural No. 2||Structural No. 3||Structural No. 4||Structural No. 5|
Density per Standard
|Very High||High||Reasonably High||Medium||Low||Very Low|
|White, yellow, pale straw to light brown||Pink to pink brown||Light to dark red||Brown, chocolate, mottled or streaky|
|Modulus of Rupture – Unseasoned||85|
|Modulus of Rupture – Seasoned||120|
|Modulus of Elasticity – Unseasoned||12|
|Modulus of Elasticity – Seasoned||14|
|Maximum Crushing Strength – Unseasoned||44|
|Maximum Crushing Strength – Seasoned||70|
|Impact – Unseasoned||17|
|Impact – Seasoned||15|
|Toughness – Unseasoned||Medium – 15 – 24 Nm|
|Toughness – Seasoned||Medium – 15 – 24 Nm|
|Hardness – Unseasoned||8.6|
|Hardness – Seasoned||11.3|
|(0 – 5 yrs)||(5 – 15 yrs)||(15 – 25 yrs)||(more than 25 yrs)|
|(0 – 7 yrs)||(7 – 15 yrs)||(15 – 40 yrs)||(more than 40 yrs)|
|(0 – 20 yrs, usually < 5)||(21 – 40 yrs)||(41 – 64 yrs)||(more than 60 yrs)|
|Marine Borer Resistance|
|Lyctid Borer Susceptibilitiy||Not Susceptible|
|Lyctid Borer Susceptibility – Other|
|1 – non-combustible||2 – reasonably non-combustible||3 – slightly combustible||4 – combustible|
|Fire Properties Group Number||.|
|Group Number – Other||3 if used on MDF or particleboard ≥ 12 mm; veneer thickness 0.6 – 0.85 mm|
|Average Specific Extinction Area||< 250|
|Bushfire Resistance||BAL 12.5 and 19 – All AS3959 required applications|
|Botanical Name||Eucalyptus tereticornis|
|Preferred Common Name||Forest Red Gum|
The timber from forest red gum, as its common name indicates, is predominantly red. Heartwood ranges in colour from light to dark red. The sapwood is distinctly paler in colour, a grey or cream-red that is distinguishable from the heartwood. A moderately coarse grain that is uniform in texture complements these rich colours. Forest red gum is a timber that reliably displays interlocked grain.
Timbers of this species have a range of applications. As sawn and round timber, forest red gum is used in wharf and bridge construction, railway sleepers, cross arms, poles, piles (including wharf piles) and in mining timbers.
For general construction purposes, sawn timber can be used in general house framing, cladding, fascia and barge boards. It is ideal for internal and external flooring, linings and joinery due to attractive colour and reliably interlocked grain. Its durability and strength make it excellent for fencing, landscaping, retaining walls. Decorative applications include use in outdoor furniture, turnery, joinery and structural plywood.
Forest red gum is also suitable for some boatbuilding applications, including keels, framing and planking. The timber’s hardwearing characteristics make it useful for machinery bearings and underwater bearing applications of low stress.
Forest red gum has class 1 durability for above and in-ground — the highest rating possible. Expect to have 25 years of service from forest red gum timber in-ground.
The sapwood readily accepts preservative impregnation but penetration of heartwood is negligible using currently available commercial processes.Forest red gum does not require fire retardant treatment for use in construction in bush-fire prone areas.
Timber of this species can be satisfactorily dried using conventional air and kiln seasoning methods, and is very hard. The interlocked grain often makes it difficult to dress cleanly on the radial surface.
In spite of this hardness, no difficulty has been experienced with the use of standard fittings and fastenings. As with most high-density species, machining and surface preparation should be done immediately before gluing. However, this timber will readily accept paint, stain and polish.
Origin of Timber
Availability – Further Information
The Forest Red Gum grows naturally over a very broad range of latitudes and is unique among Eucalypts for this reason. The timber is therefore widely available.
Timber joinery products offer a classic, unique and stylish touch to any interior or exterior design. The products are produced for a variety of internal applications including door and window frames, cabinetry, skirtings, mouldings and architraves. When looking to the outdoors, joinery products range from decorative eaves and posts to eye-catching railings.
Many timber species are suitable for joinery products and care should be taken in selecting the perfect timber for the particular product and its intended finish. Rare and exotic species such as Teak and Rosewood can generate pieces of outstanding beauty but material cost and availability are also important considerations.
Commercially available species like Tasmanian oak, Australian cypress, spotted gum and the like, often make the more practical choice, with the added benefit that they can be easily matched with other timber products within the building, like flooring.
Solid timber for joinery products is generally supplied as ‘clear finish grade’ but ‘paint grade’ options are available and these are usually comprised of a composite material like MDF or glulam.
A large number of specialist suppliers and producers offer the consumer extensive choice of profiles for all of the most common and popular joinery products. Choice is in many cases, limited only by imagination.
Cabinetry is often associated with joinery and most typically includes, cupboards, benches and other similar ‘built in’ furniture. Like joinery, cabinetry is generally specified as either paint or clear finish grade and naturally for clear finish grade timbers, appearance and surface finish are critical in achieving a successful application.
Internal panelling, also known as appearance boards and linings, is not just a practical means of covering one or more walls and ceilings in a building, its inclusion in a room’s interior design can generate looks that are both dramatic and stylish. Internal paneling comes as either solid natural timber paneling or as sheets of engineered wood products that provide a durable and hardwearing surface for areas subject to high impact. As they typically function as appearance products they generally have no structural requirements. This guide describes the variety of panelling products available and outlines the straightforward process of installing them.
Retaining Walls (Landscaping)
The natural appeal, strength and versatility of timber makes it an ideal choice for retaining wall landscaping applications.
Retaining wall systems include cantilevered round or sawn timber, mass wall and crib wall construction. Walls up to one metre in height follow a basic design and can usually be constructed using standard proprietary wall systems. An engineer will be required to plan and design walls greater than one metre, including the footings and drainage.
Drainage of retaining walls is a critical factor in influencing the long term stability of the wall and should thus form a significant part of the design and planning process.
Regular care and maintenance of retaining walls is essential in ensuring the long-term stability and safety of the structure.
No other cladding material can offer the design freedom, ease of handling, range and natural beauty of timber. Timber cladding can create a building to suit almost any environment, taste or style.
Timber cladding has an inbuilt flexibility that provides natural advantages on sites subject to high winds, extreme climate, highly reactive soils, subsidence or earth tremors. And unlike masonry and other rigid materials, the natural resilience and high strength to weight ratio of timber enables it to withstand far greater stresses and movement.
Modern finishes give a long lasting and attractive appearance to timber cladding and can be used to change the colour and style of the building, making it a versatile material that will keep pace with changing tastes and fashions.
Structural Timber Poles
Timber pole construction is typically utilised to provide support for gravity loads and resistance against lateral forces. The natural appeal of timber ensures that its role is not purely structural however, with timber poles complimenting architectural designs aimed at harmonisation with the natural environment. The small number of footings required in pole frame construction also ensures minimal disturbances to the site.
With a double bearer system, poles can be spaced further apart than is usual, creating a more spacious building interior, that allows greater interior design flexibility. While poles are usually placed in a grid like system this is not compulsory and the flexibility of the application means the system can cope with a wide variety of designs, enabling designers to take full advantage of beautiful outlooks.
This article provides a comprehensive overview of the process involved in specifying, designing and constructing a solid timber pole construction.
Whether for structural or finished flooring applications, timber offers durability, versatility and adaptability. The warmth, strength and natural beauty of timber flooring has proved enduringly popular in a wide variety of interior settings.
Timber flooring is a timeless product, offering a warmth and natural beauty largely unmatched by other flooring options. This article provides an overview of the installation of solid timber strip flooring over bearers and joists, timber based sheet flooring products and concrete slabs. Timber flooring is typically supplied as either solid timber or laminated wood products, made from layers of bonded timber. It fits together with a tongue and groove joint and once in place, is sanded and finished. There is a wide variety of species to select flooring from and the right species for a given application will be dependent on numerous factors. Information relating to species selection, environmental assessment, finish selection and recommended maintenance routines are all provided in this section.