Timber Profile - Blackbutt
Eucalyptus pilularis. Family: Myrtaceae
Blackbutt grows naturally in coastal regions from Bega, southern New South Wales to Maryborough, Queensland, but is now a popular plantation-grower to due it's useful characteristics & suitably for harvesting. The common name Blackbutt, comes from the tree's appearance after bushfire, where the buttress of the tree is left blackened. It is also known as Coastal Blackbutt to differentiate from the tableland species, New England Blackbutt.
The heartwood ranges from golden yellow to pale brown with a faint tinge of pink when freshly cut. Sometimes the sapwood is indistinguishable from the heartwood but usually it is slightly paler in colour. The grain is moderately coarse textured and uniform, the texture is open and uniform. Grain straight but occasionally slightly interlocked. Growth rings are absent. The vessels (vascular support visible as fibres) are medium to large in size, often arranged in oblique chains. Vessel lines are more prominent on dressed longitudinal surfaces. Tyloses frequently present. Some pieces may contain gum (kino) veins, which make for spectacular furniture pieces. The Durability above-ground is Class 1 - life expectancy over 40 years with Durability in-ground a Class 2 - life expectancy 15 to 25 years. Blackbutt is not susceptible to lyctine borer attack and is resistant to termites. Hardness rating 2 on a 6 class scale, so a nice hard timber. (OK, no jokes about how hard your wood is here) Plus it machines well.
Very suitable for finishing as Blackbutt readily accepts stain and polish. However, not as good for painting over as it tends to surface check. But why would you want to paint over beautiful timber anyway! Uses include engineering, as sawn or round timber in wharf and bridge construction, railway sleepers, cross-arms, poles, piles, mining timbers. Not recommended for in-ground poles such as pole houses. Very useful for construction as unseasoned, sawn timber in general house framing, fascia and barge boards and as seasoned dressed cladding, internal and external flooring, lining and joinery. Also great for fencing, landscaping and retaining walls. Due to it's even texture, Blackbutt makes for quality furniture, outdoor furniture, turnery, parquetry.
Others uses include boat building - keel and framing components planking, decking - coach, vehicle and carriage building, agricultural machinery, structural plywood, hardboard. Blackbutt provides good fire resistance and is one of seven hardwood timber species that was found to be suitable by the Building Commission in Victoria for home construction in bushfire areas (provided it has a thickness greater than 18mm). Overall, Blackbutt is a strong, durable hardwood, suitable for a wide range of structural, exterior and interior applications. It is an excellent choice for cladding coastal houses, where is is quite at home in it's natural environment.