Kauri, Queensland

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Queensland kauri pine is one of Australia's native softwood timber species. Its species name, Agathis robusta, is derived from its cones, which look like a ball of thread (agathis), combined with its vigorous growth (robusta). An attractive timber suited to many indoor uses, including fine cabinetry, the Queensland kauri was heavily logged in the early years of European settlement. Large trees are therefore more rare now than in pre-European times; despite this, the species is not classified as endangered.

Queensland kauri occurs in two localities: in southern Queensland on Fraser Island and around Maryborough; and there is a northern population on the Atherton Tableland west of Cairns. Although these two populations were once given different scientific names (A. robusta in the south and A. spathulata in the north), they have since been discovered to be the same species. Queensland kauri is a large, coniferous tree with a straight trunk, growing to a height of 25-40 metres with a trunk diameter of between 100 - 200cm. The trunk is clear of branches for over half its length. The characteristically straight and symmetrical trees are covered with smooth to flaky grey-brown bark. Woody scales from collapsing cones gather at the base of these trees.

The timber yielded by this species has a fine even texture that is pale cream to light or pinkish brown in hue, with a straight grain. Queensland kauri withstands some exposure. It dries quickly with little degrade but needs protection against blue stain, microscopic fungi that commonly infest the sapwood of trees.

Queensland kauri timber is commonly used for cabinetwork, turning, joinery and shelving. It is suitable for use in pattern making, lining, flooring, vats, boxes, battery separators and plywood. It is otherwise used for making furniture and violin bellies.

Appearance

The wood of the Queensland kauri is creamy-white. The surface is plain in appearance, and the timber has a fine grain and clear, even texture that is much darker than Hoop Pine. The shimmering ray flecks that occur on the face of quarter-cut timbers distinguish it from hoop and bunya pines, that produce a less startling figure. Heartwood and sapwood in of this species are difficult to distinguish. Finished timbers have a warm golden appearance, ideal for use in interiors.

Common Applications

The first European settlers fashioned Queensland kauri into kitchen sinks, breadboards, bench-tops and flooring. Today the timber is still used in a wide range of interior situations. Common applications include cabinetmaking, turnery and joinery. The durability and regular colours of the timber make it well suited to furniture design and indoor fittings such as shelves. Less sturdy grades of this timber can also be made into plywood, crates and boxes. Panels of Queensland kauri are used to line boat interiors. Luthiers also favour this timber for fashioning violin bellies and guitars because of the good resonating properties created by its regular grain.

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

Queensland kauri is generally easy to work except when compression wood is present. The timber stains and polishes well and can be finished to create a beautiful glossy surface. It can be glued successfully and rates as fair for steam bending. The heartwood of the Queensland kauri is not sufficiently durable for external use or for use in contact with the ground but accepts impregnation with preservatives. Because of the size of larger tree trunks (one to sometimes three metres in width) it was once possible to obtain fairly wide boards. When air-dried, the timber is fairly light, with an air-dried weight of 300-450 kilograms per cubic metre.

Origin of Timber

QLD

Readily Available

QLD

Availability - Further Information

Now a rare timber, the Queensland kauri is almost completely cut out and does not perform well in plantations. Other Agathis species are found in North Queensland and New Guinea. The New Zealand kauri is also almost unobtainable now.

Availability - Further Information

Native Forest

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

3.40%

Radial:

3.20%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.17%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.14%

Strength Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium High

Medium

Reasonably Low

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

Seasoned:

SD1

SD2

SD3

SD4

SD5

SD6

SD7

SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5

Unseasoned:

F7

F5

F4

Seasoned:

F8

F7

F5

F4

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

470kg/m3

Unseasoned:

720kg/m3

Joint Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

Seasoned:

JD1

JD2

JD3

JD4

JD5

JD6

Colour

  White, yellow, pale straw to light brown Pink to pink brown Light to dark red Brown, chocolate, mottled or streaky
   

Mechanical Properties

Modulus of Rupture - Unseasoned:

46

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

64

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

6.8

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

7.8

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

24

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

39

Impact - Unseasoned:

5.5

Impact - Seasoned:

2.4

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Toughness - Seasoned:

Hardness - Unseasoned:

2.3

Hardness - Seasoned:

2.3

Durability

Low Moderate Reasonably High High
(0 - 5 yrs) (5 - 15 yrs) (15 - 25 yrs) (more than 25 yrs)

In-Ground:

(0 - 7 yrs) (7 - 15 yrs) (15 - 40 yrs) (More than 40 yrs)

Above ground:

(0 - 20 yrs, usually < 5) (21 - 40 yrs) (41 - 64 yrs) (More than 60 yrs)

Marine Borer Resistance:

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility:

Not Susceptible

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility - Other:

Termite Resistance:

Not Resistant

Fire Properties

Bushfire Resistance:

Not Tested

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