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I have two decks: one in 35 mm blackbutt and one in 32 mm spotted gum. They are both oiled with Cutek CD50 Extreme. The blackbutt is tinted 'rustic gold', and the spotted gum 'new bronzetone'. Unfortunately, the stain has ruined (not enhanced) the natural wood look. The Spotted gum looks like a dark Jarrah or Kwila, the Blackbutt looks an unnatural orange colour. Neither deck shows the natural variation in the timber colour. Furthermore, the oils take *weeks* to dry. Is there a way to reverse the staining, and maybe a better product to use next time?

Woodsolutions Answer +

Finishes that form a skin on the surface of the wood can be removed with paint stripper but we understand Cutek oil penetrates into the wood. We suggest you try a deck cleaning product, combined with power washing. You will find information on the net about using power washers but the two main points are (a) not to use the nozzle too close to the decking, and (b) not to turn up the pressure too high. If power washing doesn’t work you might have to resort to sanding the deck, in which case make sure all nails are punched in otherwise the sandpaper will tear. Regarding a product to re-coat the deck we suggest a brand-name decking oil but without a heavy tint next time. If you can persuade a paint shop to coat up some samples for you, or to show you samples of their products on actual decking rather than colour cards, that will give you a more realistic idea of appearance.


I have a client who has Australian cedar slabs and wants me to mill them down and use for fly screens. My question is does this timber preform the same as western red cedar? Is it a durable choice for external use with a finish?

Woodsolutions Answer +

Australian cedar is rated Durability Class 2 in ground contact (one class higher than western red cedar) so is durable enough for external above-ground use. However, it may not have the same dimensional stability as western red cedar so you will need to make sure the slabs are fully seasoned. Testing with a moisture meter will tell you. Alternatively if the slabs are freshly cut, the timber should be dried before using it otherwise you are likely to get unacceptable shrinkage.


Can you please advise me on what F5 pine timber, spaced 600mm, would span 4.8m, n1 wind area, with a colourbond roof and cementboard ceiling for a pergola?
Also, can you please advise me on what size beam, to span 3.6m supporting the above mentioned roof?

Woodsolutions Answer +

We assume you are using F5 seasoned (kiln-dried) timber, ie. dried after treatment if it’s preservative treated. Referring to the span tables in the Supplements to Australian Standard 1684, rafters of 190 x 45 will span 4.8m at 600mm centres. A verandah beam of 240 x 45 can span 3.6m supporting the rafters. We assume the cement board ceiling is 4.5mm HardieFlex or similar.

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