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Coachwood

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Coachwood is a medium-sized hardwood tree found in the coastal rainforests of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. The true wood of this species – not always clearly distinct from the sapwood – is a pale pink to pinkish-brown colour. The grain is usually straight, with a fine and even texture. Due to banding of soft tissue (parenchyma) in the wood, the timber is often highly figured on back-sawn surfaces. The wood has a distinctive ‘caramel’ odour – hence one of the species’ common names is Scented Satinwood.

Coachwood is only moderately durable, with a life expectancy of between five and seven years for in-ground and aboveground applications, respectively. Coachwood is not resistant to termites, and its untreated sapwood is susceptible to lyctid borer attack. The sapwood (but not heartwood) of this species is readily impregnated with preservatives.

Coachwood is moderately hard (rated 4 on a 6-class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools. The timber machines well to a smooth surface. It accepts standard fixings and fastenings but tends to split when nailing (pre-drilling is recommended). Coachwood glues well and readily accepts most coatings. Coachwood responds better to water- and spirit-based stains, than to oil-based equivalents.

Uses of coachwood timber are predominantly decorative, although it is used as a flooring material and for spars and masts in boatbuilding. Common applications include turnery, carving, interior fittings, sporting goods, furniture and cabinetwork. Coachwood is also found as a decorative veneer. Courtroom number three of the High Court of Australia is furnished with coachwood timber.

 

Appearance

Coachwood’s heartwood, not always distinguishable from the sapwood, is pale pink to pinkish-brown in colour. Grain is usually straight with a fine and even texture. Coachwood is often highly figured on back-sawn (tangential) surfaces due to banding of soft tissue (parenchyma). The wood has a distinctive, not unpleasant, ‘caramel’ odour.

Common Applications

Coachwood is commonly used as a joinery and cabinetmaking timber, and is also used for turning, skirting, mouldings and internal panelling. It is found in plywood, as a decorative veneer, in gunstocks, shoe heels and sporting goods. Coachwood is also used in carriage construction and boatbuilding (spars and masts).

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

Coachwood is a firm timber but not difficult to work. It turns well except for a tendency to bruise on the end grain. It glues satisfactorily. Coachwood is unsuitable for steam bending and tends to split in nailing (pre-drilling is recommended). It takes water and spirit stains much better than oil stains.

Origin of Timber

NSW

Readily Available

NSW

Availability - Further Information

Coachwood timber products are becoming scarce.

Availability - Further Information

Native Forest

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

8.10%

Radial:

4.00%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.34%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.24%

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:

F11

F8

F7

F5

F4

Seasoned:

F22

F17

F14

F11

F8

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

602kg/m3

Unseasoned:

930kg/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:

62

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

101

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

12

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

15

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

27

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

50

Impact - Unseasoned:

11

Impact - Seasoned:

13

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Low - up to 15 Nm

Toughness - Seasoned:

Medium - 15 - 24 Nm

Hardness - Unseasoned:

3.1

Hardness - Seasoned:

4.8

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

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 ≥12mm; veneer thickness 0.6-0.85mm

Average Specific Extinction Area:

<250

Bushfire Resistance:

Not Tested

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