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Timber

— It is so much like Ironbark in appearance that it is difficult to discriminate between the two timbers. That will be the best guide to its appearance. An expert would usually detect the substitution for Ironbark (if lie suspected any substitution), by noting that a chip of Grey Gum is more brittle than that of Ironbark; it also cuts less horny. Nevertheless, the two timbers are wonderfully alike, and for many purposes Grey Gum is an efficient substitute for Ironbark, for it is remarkably durable. Its inferior strength, as compared with Ironbark, precludes its use as girders of any length, and when substituted for Ironbark in sleepers the bolts and spikes work loose in them. I would encourage it use in every possible way for wood-blocks. The chief objectors to its use at the present time are the saw-millers themselves, as the logs often contain gum-scabs or gumveins. At present, where unblemished timber is insisted upon for wood-blocks, a saw-miller cannot afford to cut up Grey Gum (although it frequently turns out unblemished), because of the risk of having it condemned. I will speak on this subject in connection with Bloodwood, and would emphasise the opinion that woodblocks should not be condemned becausethey contain a few gum-scabs or veins. Such excess of care practically leads to great waste of really valuable timber. It is recommended for paying-blocks, as already stated. It is in high repute for posts, having excellent records when employed in this very trying situation. I have seen it used for felloes and for shingles. It is very largely used as an Ironbark substitute for railway sleepers, which fact is in itself testimony to its excellence.




  ― 205 ―

The use of shingles in this State is borrowed from England. In Gilbert White's Natural History of Selborne, at Letter IV of the "Antiquities of Selborne," he speaks of their value and durability for roofing in the following passage:—

The whole roof of the south aisle, and the south side of the roof of the middle aisle, is covered with oaken shingles instead of tiles on account of their lightness, which favours the ancient and crazy timber frame. And, indeed, the consideration of accidents by fire excepted, this sort of roofing is much more eligible than tiles. For shingles well seasoned, and cleft from quartered timber, never warp, nor let in drifting snow; nor do they shiver with frost; nor are they liable to be blown off, like tiles; but, when nailed down, last for a long period, as experience has shown us in this place, where those that face to the north are known to have endured, untouched, by undoubted tradition, for more than a century.
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