White Beech

Blonde Timber Species

Species Name: White Beech

Botanical name(s): Gmelina fasciculiflora, G. leichhardtii, G. dalrympleana. Family: Verbenaceae.

Size and location information: A large tree attaining a height of 40 m and a stem diameter of 1.5 m. It has a straight, slender trunk, usually circular in cross-section, often flanged at the base but not prominently buttressed. The bark is approximately 10 mm thick, light grey to dark grey and is rough and scaly with the scales generally angular but occasionally rounded.

Found in rainforests along the east coast of Australia:

G. fasciculiflora and G. dalrympleana - Rockingham Bay, Innisfail area, through to Cape York and Torres Strait Islands. G. leichhardtii - Clyde River, New South Wales to Fraser Island, Queensland. Also further north on the Eungella Range and Mt Elliot (south of Townsville).

Sawn timber of these species is not readily available. Other species of Gmelina are imported from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji.

Description: Colour. The heartwood ranges from pale straw to light grey-brown. There is no noticeable colour difference between sapwood and heartwood.

Grain. A firm, close grained, slightly greasy wood. At times it has interlocking grain. There is no pronounced figure or sheen except for a glistening effect on dressed surfaces due to tyloses in the vessel lines.

Density: 515-545 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 1.8 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.

Janka Hardness Rating:

Shrinkage: 1.6% Radial, 3.7% tangential

Durability: In ground: Class 1 Above ground: Class 1

Lyctids Susceptibility: Yes

Termite Resistance (AS3660): No

Strength Group: S6/SD6

Fire Hazard properties:

Workability
Machining. Machines well due to its slightly greasy nature.

Fixing. Because of the natural acidity of this species, non-corrosive fittings and fastenings should be used.

Gluing. Can be satisfactorily bonded using standard procedures.

Finishing. Will readily accept stain, polish and paint.

Uses:
Decorative. Furniture, joinery, carving, turnery, picture frames. Considered the premier carving timber in Queensland.

Others. Boat building (decking, planking). Has been used for draughtsperson´s implements, templates, pattern making, cask bungs, brush stock, venetian blind slats, beehives. Was used to some extent in general building framing in the early to mid 1900s, and in flooring, lining, mouldings, joinery and cladding, but use in such applications has been very infrequent for some decades.

Availability:
Limited.

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