Gum, Forest Red | Eucalyptus tereticornis

Forest red gum is a versatile, dense and durable hardwood, with a light to dark red heartwood perfect for flooring, decking, construction and furniture making.

Other Names: Blue Gum (Qld), Red Irongum (Qld), Red Gum, Blakely's Red Gum, Eucalyptus umbellata, Eucalyptus vlakelyi, Eucalyptus blakelyi

Overview

Forest red gum produces a reliable timber suited to a wide range of uses. The timber is highly durable with an extremely high density. It displays a tight interlocking grain alongside its lush red colour, making it excellent for applications where appearance and durability are important.

As the name suggests, forest red gum is a medium to tall forest tree. Trees of this species grow to a height of 20 to 50 metres, with a girth of up to two metres. The trunk is straight and is usually unbranched for more than half the total height of the tree, with limbs that are more steeply inclined than other eucalypt species. The bark is shed in irregular sheets, resulting in a smooth trunk surface, coloured in patches of white, grey and blue. Rough dark grey to black dead bark is retained at the base of the stem.

 

A versatile timber, forest red gum can be used in wharf and bridge construction, railway sleepers, cross-arms and mining timbers. It is suitable for all building members including posts and poles, framing, flooring, lining, decking and cladding. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor furniture. As well as sawn and round applications, forest red gum is suitable for the manufacture of structural plywood.

 

Eucalyptus tereticornis, the most commercially important of the two sub-species, spreads from coastal south-eastern Victoria to southern Papua New Guinea. E. blakelyi subsp. blakelyi is found from northern Victoria through New South Wales and into southern Queensland. Timber appearance and properties are identical for both species. E. tereticornis sapwood is not susceptible to lyctid borer attack, unlike E. blakelyi. This species is not susceptible to termites.

 

Properties

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High
Tangential:          
8.6
Radial: > 5
Unit Movement: 0.34 %

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: F17 F14 F11 F8 F7
Seasoned: F22 F17 F14 F11 F8

Density per Standard

Unseasoned: 1200 kg/m3
Seasoned: 960 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: 85
Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned: 120
Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned: 12
Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned: 14
Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned: 44
Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned: 70
Impact - Unseasoned: 19
Impact - Seasoned: 16
Toughness - Unseasoned: Medium - 15 - 25 Nm
Toughness - Seasoned: Medium - 15 - 25 Nm
Hardness - Unseasoned: 12
Hardness - Seasoned: 12

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: Not Susceptible
Termite Resistance: Resistant

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: BAL 12.5 and 19 – All AS3959 required applications

Description

Botanical Name: Eucalyptus tereticornis
Preferred Common Name: Gum, Forest Red
Other Names: Blue Gum (Qld), Red Irongum (Qld), Red Gum, Blakely's Red Gum, Eucalyptus umbellata, Eucalyptus vlakelyi, Eucalyptus blakelyi
Species Type: Hardwood

Appearance

The timber from forest red gum, as its common name indicates, is predominantly red. Heartwood ranges in colour from light to dark red. The sapwood is distinctly paler in colour, a grey or cream-red that is distinguishable from the heartwood. A moderately coarse grain that is uniform in texture complements these rich colours. Forest red gum is a timber that reliably displays interlocked grain.

Common Applications

Timbers of this species have a range of applications. As sawn and round timber, forest red gum is used in wharf and bridge construction, railway sleepers, cross arms, poles, piles (including wharf piles) and in mining timbers.

For general construction purposes, sawn timber can be used in general house framing, cladding, fascia and barge boards. It is ideal for internal and external flooring, linings and joinery due to attractive colour and reliably interlocked grain. Its durability and strength make it excellent for fencing, landscaping, retaining walls. Decorative applications include use in outdoor furniture, turnery, joinery and structural plywood.

Forest red gum is also suitable for some boatbuilding applications, including keels, framing and planking. The timber’s hardwearing characteristics make it useful for machinery bearings and underwater bearing applications of low stress. 

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

Forest red gum has class 1 durability for above and in-ground ­— the highest rating possible. Expect to have 25 years of service from forest red gum timber in-ground.

The sapwood readily accepts preservative impregnation but penetration of heartwood is negligible using currently available commercial processes. Forest red gum does not require fire retardant treatment for use in construction in bush-fire prone areas.

Timber of this species can be satisfactorily dried using conventional air and kiln seasoning methods, and is very hard. The interlocked grain often makes it difficult to dress cleanly on the radial surface.

In spite of this hardness, no difficulty has been experienced with the use of standard fittings and fastenings. As with most high-density species, machining and surface preparation should be done immediately before gluing. However, this timber will readily accept paint, stain and polish. 

Origin of Timber

NSW, VIC, QLD, Oceania

Readily Available

NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, QLD, Oceania

Availability - Further Information

The Forest Red Gum grows naturally over a very broad range of latitudes and is unique among Eucalypts for this reason. The timber is therefore widely available.

Applications

  • Decking

    Timber decking creates spaces that are functional, practical and aesthetically pleasing. With the right design and care a timber deck will make a valuable addition to any home or business, creating an outdoor living space that will be enjoyed for years to come.

  • Exterior Stairs

    For outdoor applications, timber is one of the leading material choices. Timber use in external staircase applications creates structures of strength and durability, sheathed in a natural beauty that blends seamlessly with the outdoor environment.

  • External Cladding

    The natural appeal, versatility and strength of timber makes it the superior choice for external cladding. Through specification, planning, design and finishing processes, timber cladding not only creates a building of superior strength, acoustic and thermal performance but also creates a place of beauty, style and natural appeal.

  • Flooring

    Whether for structural or finished flooring applications, timber offers durability, versatility and adaptability. The warmth, strength and natural beauty of timber flooring has proved enduringly popular in a wide variety of interior settings.

  • Framing

    Since people began building simple shelters, wooden framing has played an important role in shaping structures of many kinds. One of the most popular types of wooden framing is known as lightweight timber construction.

  • Internal Paneling

    Timber paneling creates interiors as warm as they are stylish. Commonly utilising 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

  • Retaining Walls (Landscaping)

    When it comes to retaining wall, landscape design and construction, timber is the natural choice. A material that is durable, sturdy and reliable, it boasts natural aesthetics that help it blend seamlessly with the outdoors. Careful consideration during the specification and design process will facilitate the creation of a long lasting, durable and eye catching timber retaining wall that will complement its surrounding landscape for years to come.

  • Structural Timber Poles

    Timber poles are utilised in structural construction to provide support for gravity loads and resistance against lateral forces. Not only serving a structural function, timber poles provide many aesthetic benefits, with their use in construction often complementing architectural designs aimed at harmonisation with the natural environment.

  • Timber Portal Frames

    For buildings that require large spans and column free interiors, timber portal frames provide one of the most aesthetically pleasing solutions. Utilising modern engineering technology, portal frame design transforms timber into a highly effective, efficient and economical structural product. This application guide provides a comprehensive overview of the process of using timber in the specification, fabrication and erection of portal frame structures.

Case Studies

  • Community Facilities, Kensington Gardens

    An award-winning building where timber is featured to spectacular effect as well as adding the warmth and character that make residents feel at home.

    Applications: Architectural Roof Trusses, Flooring, Internal Paneling,

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