Laurel, Camphor | Cinnamomum camphora

Camphor laurel yields a rich honey-coloured hardwood timber with a fresh camphor smell perfect for cutting boards, furniture and cabinetry.

Other Names: Camphor tree, Camphorwood, Chinese Camphor Wood

Overview

Camphor laurel yields a beautiful, rich honey-coloured timber with a clean, fresh camphor smell that is perfect for furniture, carving, and cabinetry. The tree is native to Taiwan, southern Japan, southeast China and Indochina, where it has great cultural significance as a source of scent, oil and crystallised blocks for use in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes. It is used as a valuable timber for furniture and carving icons. 

In Australia, the camphor laurel has a less respectable reputation. The 20 – 30 metre tall evergreen tree was introduced in the 1820s and quickly displaced and inhibited native vegetation. It was widely used for windbreaks and as a measure against soil erosion and as a result has proliferated on disused pasture along the coastal hinterland of NSW and parts of Queensland. It is now categorised as a weed and can easily be identified by its glossy, waxy leaves that smell strongly of camphor when crushed.

Nevertheless, camphor laurel timber is excellent for creating fine furniture. Its heartwood varies widely in colour from pale to mid brown and is often streaked with darker brown or red. The sapwood is very wide and pale brown. The timber’s grain is usually interlocked with a moderately fine and even texture. All camphor laurel wood features the characteristic camphor smell that repels moths and other insects, making it perfect for clothes storage cabinets. Camphor laurel also has antibacterial properties prized for use in crafting handsome chopping and carving boards.

The camphor laurel's extraordinary strong dark grain against a yellow base creates distinctive furniture. In the past it has been exported to Asia and later re-imported as a finished furniture product. It is also recommended for use as slabs in kitchen benchtops, tables and shelves, as well as decorative veneers, internal lining boards and turned or hand-carved bowls.

 

 

Properties

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High
Tangential:          
0.0
Radial: 0 - 2

Strength Group

Very High High Reasonably High Medium High Medium Reasonably Low Low Very Low
Unseasoned:S1S2S3S4S5S6S7
Seasoned:SD1SD2SD3SD4SD5SD6SD7SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5
Unseasoned: F8 F7 F5 F4  
Seasoned: F14 F11 F8 F7 F5

Density per Standard

Unseasoned: 840 kg/m3
Seasoned: 550 kg/m3

Joint Group

Very High High Reasonably High Medium Low Very Low
Unseasoned:J1J2J3J4J5J6
Seasoned:JD1JD2JD3JD4JD5JD6

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: 56
Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned: 93
Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned: 10
Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned: 14
Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned: 24
Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned: 43
Impact - Unseasoned: 8.4
Impact - Seasoned: 13
Hardness - Unseasoned: 3.2
Hardness - Seasoned: 4.1

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: Susceptible

Fire Properties

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
EFH Ignitibility:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
EFH Spread-of-Flame Index:
EFH Smoke-Developed Index:
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

Description

Botanical Name: Cinnamomum camphora
Preferred Common Name: Laurel, Camphor
Other Names: Camphor tree, Camphorwood, Chinese Camphor Wood
Species Type: Hardwood

Appearance

A beautiful, often honey coloured timber, camphor laurel heartwood varies widely in colour from pale to mid brown and is often streaked with darker brown or red. The sapwood has many colours ranging from almost white to dark browns and reds. The timber’s grain is usually interlocked with a moderately fine and even texture.

Common Applications

Commonly used for turning and slab type furniture, camphor laurel is often employed in fine furniture design. It is recommended for use as kitchen benchtops, tables and shelves, as well as internal lining boards and turned or hand-carved bowls.

All camphor laurel wood features a characteristic camphor smell that repels moths and other insects, making it perfect for clothes storage cabinets. Camphor also has antibacterial properties prized for use in crafting handsome chopping and carving boards.

 

Common Form

Veneer

Workability

Camphor laurel works fairly well but may require sanding to remove torn grain. An excellent timber for turning, it accepts coatings, bends well, and is fixes easily. Take care when gluing as it can be oily.

Origin of Timber

NSW, Asia, SE Asia

Origin of Timber - Other

This species grows wild in NSW

Availability - Further Information

Camphor laurel is not available in commercial quantities in Australia as it is regarded as a weed.

Applications

  • Internal Paneling

    Timber paneling creates interiors as warm as they are stylish. Commonly using an MDF or plywood substrate, internal timber paneling is natural and versatile and comes as either solid natural timber panels or as sheets of engineered wood products

  • Timber Joinery Products

    Timber joinery products offer a classic, unique and stylish touch to any interior design.

Case Studies

All Comments (0)

Sign In or Sign Up now to post a comment!