Blackwood | Acacia melanoxylon

Blackwood is a medium-sized Australian hardwood that yields an attractive timber often used for decorative veneers, furniture and paneling.

Other Names: Australian Blackwood, Paluma Blackwood, Black Wattle

Overview

Blackwood is a medium-sized Australian hardwood that grows in South Australia and the eastern states. In the wetter areas of Tasmania it is grown in large volumes for commercial use. 

It is definitely an ‘appearance timber’, with a heartwood that is a rich golden brown. This is sometimes complimented by reddish streaks or a narrow band of darker colour, indicative of the growth rings. The sapwood is much paler in appearance. Blackwood has a medium and even texture. Its grain can either be straight or have a wavy, fiddleback pattern, which is valued for furniture and veneers.

Blackwood is easy to work and nails and glues well. A smooth, polished finish can be achieved, making blackwood ideal for furniture. It is also good for steam bending. If the grain is wavy then this may require the planer angle to be adjusted. It is important that safety precautions are taken when sanding blackwood, as the dust can cause irritations.

While blackwood is a durable, interior-use timber it has a low in-ground durability and is not ideal for external applications.

It is readily available, especially in Tasmania, but may only be available in relatively small sizes.

 

Properties

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High
Tangential:          
3.9
Radial: 2 - 3
Unit Movement: 0.27 %

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: F14 F11 F8 F7 F5
Seasoned: F22 F17 F14 F11 F8

Density per Standard

Unseasoned: 870 kg/m3
Seasoned: 650 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: 70
Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned: 99
Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned: 13
Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned: 13
Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned: 33
Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned: 48
Impact - Unseasoned: 15
Impact - Seasoned: 13
Hardness - Unseasoned: 4.6
Hardness - Seasoned: 5.9

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:
Critical Radiance Flux - Lower: >2.2 and <4.5 kW/m2
Critical Radiance Flux - Higher: ≥4.5 kW/m2
Smoke Development Rate: <750
1 - non-combustible 2 - reasonably non-combustible 3 - slightly combustible 4 - combustible
Fire Properties Group
Number:
Average Specific Extinction Area: <250
Bushfire Resistance: BAL 12.5 and 19 – Door and window joinery only

Description

Botanical Name: Acacia melanoxylon
Preferred Common Name: Blackwood
Other Names: Australian Blackwood, Paluma Blackwood, Black Wattle
Species Type: Hardwood

Appearance

Blackwood timber is sought after for its impressive appearance and finish qualities. The heartwood is a rich, golden brown, sometimes complimented by reddish streaks or a narrow band of darker colour, indicative of the growth rings. The sapwood can be up to 50mm wide and is much paler in appearance. Even-textured, blackwood grain can either be straight or have a wavy, fiddleback pattern, which is valued for furniture and veneers.

Common Applications

Blackwood is commonly used for interior-based applications such as decorative veneers, panelling, furniture, joinery and flooring. It is an attractive and durable interior-based timber but has low in-ground durability so it is not ideal for external applications.
Other applications include carving, turning, flooring, boat building and gunstocks.

Common Form

Sawn, Veneer

Workability

Blackwood has a good overall workability. It is easy to nail and glues well. A smooth, polished finish can be achieved, making blackwood ideal for furniture. It is also good for steam bending.
If the grain is wavy then this may require the planer angle to be adjusted.
It is important that safety precautions are taken when sanding blackwood, as the wood dust can cause irritations.

Origin of Timber

NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, QLD, NZ, Africa

Readily Available

NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, QLD, NZ, Africa

Availability - Further Information

Blackwood is readily available, but may only be available in relatively small sizes. Most commercial quantities of Blackwood come from Tasmania.

Source of Timber

Plantation

Applications

  • Timber Joinery Products

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

  • Timber Mouldings

    Mouldings are extremely versatile and durable, enhancing the aesthetics of any interior and functioning as the icing on the cake for designs with a focus on beauty and splendour.

Case Studies

  • Eastern Precinct, University of Melbourne, Parkville

    The durability and warmth of timber supports the University of Melbourne’s model, providing a new learning landscape at the Eastern Precinct Student Centre.

    Applications: Decking, Doors, External Cladding, Flooring, Internal Paneling, Windows,

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