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Timber

— When a log is freshly cut it is of a pale colour, and looks simply like Ash. It is straight in the grain, works easily, and is somewhat tough. But in the course of a few weeks or months the heart-wood darkens, the sapwood retaining its original pale colour. According to age of tree, length of exposure or seasoning, this heart-wood may change to brown-reds of all depths of tint and even to bright red of a very ornamental character. The meaning of the name "Red Ash" is thus explained. When I first gave attention to this timber some years ago, I had a piece so fiery red that I did not believe the colour was natural, and planed the surface, only to find the colour was skin deep, but it returned, in course of time, to its original deep colour. This colouration has not yet been carefully examined, and we


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are, therefore, unable to give a satisfactory explanation of it. The colouring of Red Ash, like the colouring of a meerschaum pipe, takes time, and this is, of course, a drawback. I know of no other New South Wales timber which has such a striking colour. Another drawback is, of course, its superficial nature. For instance, when used for furniture, if it be touched with a plane the pale-coloured timber is exposed, making the timber look patchy, until, after the lapse of months, the timber becomes of a uniform deep red colour. A slab of the wood which had been seasoned over twenty-five years (having been exhibited at the London International Exhibition of 1862) has a weight which corresponds to 53 lb. 5 oz. per cubic foot.

Following are reports on this timber made by some New South Wales foresters a few years ago: —

Used only in a small way here for staves. (Mr. Forester Martin, Gosford.)

Timber pinkish, sometimes with beautiful figure, hard and tough and very lasting, even on exposure to the weather. The surface of the heart-wood turns quite red after short exposure to the sun. it is not very generally known. I have seen it used for ribs of vessels. I believe it to be excellent for coachbuilding and generally well adapted for cabinet work. (Mr. Forester Rudder, Booral.)

This is a very handsome timber, splits well, and is durable and tough. It makes good staves, axehandles, &c., also palings, shingles, and besides, lasts well in the ground. It takes a very fine polish, and is often used for cabinet work, as it shrinks very little. It makes a good lining for a house. I have been shown a house twenty years old lined with this timber sawn green. The wood has not shrunk, and is still sound. It has a pleasant smell when fresh cut. It is a splendid firewood. It was used by the aboriginals for light spears. (Mr. Forester Deverell, Glen Innes.)

Mr. Walter Hill, of Queensland, says of it:—

The wood is hard, close-grained, durable, and will take a high polish. It is suitable for gunstocks, and a variety of other purposes.
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