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Question

I had to remove a large yellowbox on my property in April 2017. Being such a large straight specimen, 1200 mm diameter trunk @ 16 meters long before the crown , I could not bare to turn it into firewood. I had it milled to various sections, all 7 meters long & have stored it correctly for drying. Controls from the milled timber were weighed & measured every month.

Now fully seasoned, I wanted to use it for structural timber in a building on the property. This will require compliance to local building codes. How do I go about getting the timber signed off for use & are there any independent inspectors or labs?

Woodsolutions Answer +

Your best contact in Sydney would be Timber Inspection Pty. Ltd. The NSW Forestry Commission used to do timber grading and inspections, but they closed the service and the inspectors formed a private company. You can find them on the net at this address: http://www.timberinspection.com.au. To find a grader in Melbourne you could contact Timber Training at Creswick. They have a website atwww.timbertrainingcreswick.com.au. Since they run courses on visual stress grading they should be able to put you in touch with a timber grader. If you are located in some other part of the country, let us know and we may be able to suggest other qualified graders

Question

Could you please tell me what sustainability certification American Tulip wood has (ie FSC, PEFC or other)? I've checked the American Hardwood site but can't find a specific certification statement.

Woodsolutions Answer +

We haven’t been able to find FSC certified tulipwood (yellow poplar) either, although British suppliers say FSC certified material is available, eg here: http://www.internationaltimber.com/range/hardwood-clears/temperate-hardw.... Since it is one of the most plentiful of American species it is unlikely to be endangered in any way. However, if you wish to pursue this perhaps your supplier can advise you in more detail.

Question

I have some old jetty timbers and old railway sleepers and am wondering is there a test I can do to see if these timbers have any dangerous chemicals (ie creosote) still in them as would love to use them internally.
Also, if they do have an unfavorable treatment, would putting a sealer /coating on make them safe to use internally?

Woodsolutions Answer +

Australian Standard 1605, titled Methods for sampling and analysing timber preservatives and preservative-treated timber, describes a method for determining the creosote content of wood samples, but it’s a laboratory test. You would need to take samples from the timber in question and send them away for analysis. If your timber has been treated with creosote it’s difficult to advise on safety issues. The volatilization of chemicals from creosote treated wood declines significantly with age, being highest in freshly treated wood. On the other hand, in a well-sealed indoor space Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH’s) may build up from continued volatilization from the treated wood, particularly if the wood is exposed to heating and/or hot weather. Outdoors the PAH’s emitted by creosote-treated wood are dwarfed by PAH’s from other sources (tar on roads, motor vehicles, etc) but indoors we would not recommend using creosote-treated wood. Note that Wood Solutions has not carried out any studies into the safety of creosote-treated wood. Also we are not qualified to give medical or health advice, and so err on the side of caution in such matters.

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