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Question

I am planning to build a sauna and have read elsewhere online that Eucalyptus can be used for its construction. Any advice on a specific type of Eucalyptus, and suppliers, that would be suitable for this application would be much appreciated.

Woodsolutions Answer +

We were not sure whether your proposed sauna will be a free-standing cabin or whether you are lining a room inside a building. If it's a free-standing cabin a number of eucalypts could be used for the external cladding. You will find some Australian hardwood options on the net here: https://www.boral.com.au/products/timber/cladding/cladding. The internal linings will be exposed to wider fluctuations in temperature and moisture content, and need to be a highly dimensionally stable species. For this reason, in our experience most commercial sauna builders use western red cedar. However, you could discuss this with a local sauna builder who might have found a wider range of species to be suitable.

Sauna

Answered on 22-01-2021
Please note that our answer is based on the best advice available at the time. If the National Construction Code, Australian Standards or local requirements have been subsequently amended, our answer may no longer be correct in all details. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

Question

I have been trying to find information online but with minimal results. I have about a dozen red box (E. polyanthemos) logs and I am wondering if you have any knowledge about their use as decking. I would be stoked to use them but don’t want to get them milled if they are a hopeless timber for that purpose. I hear they have excellent in and above ground rating and are resistance to termites etc, they use it in furniture but nothing about decking. What are your thoughts? I would love to use my own trees that had to come down for a building.

Woodsolutions Answer +

There isn't much published data about red box, no doubt because it is not a commercial species. A CSIRO reference in our library from 1947 advises that it is available  "Mainly hewn or in the round. Very small quantities sawn". It is listed in Australian Standard 5604-2005, Timber - Natural durability ratings, as a Class 1 species, both in ground and above ground, so it is recognised as being highly durable. With regard to drying red box we quote our 1947 reference: "It is not an easy timber to season and great care is needed to avoid degrade. It dries slowly and some collapse may occur. It is not recommended for kiln drying before a preliminary air drying to below 30 per cent. On the back it checks badly and even when quartersawn, air drying stacks need protection when drying conditions are severe". Red box would seem to be suitable for decking in most respects except the difficulty of drying it without degrade - and perhaps the difficulty of working with it, given that an average density is quoted of 1025 kg/mwhen dry. Before milling all the logs perhaps you could have one log sawn into construction sizes, ready for later planing, to see what happens during the drying process. The plan would be to slow down drying as much as possible, using an end seal to prevent end splits, and protecting the timber from heat and rapid air movement.

Red box

Answered on 18-01-2021
Please note that our answer is based on the best advice available at the time. If the National Construction Code, Australian Standards or local requirements have been subsequently amended, our answer may no longer be correct in all details. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

Question

I am designing an External Handrail/balustrade to be fixed to a concrete base. I am looking at LOSP for construction. The Bushfire Attack Level in the area is high risk "29". Can I use LOSP in any way? Can the posts use a steel stirrup to overcome any BAL requirements?

Woodsolutions Answer +

Australian Standard 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas, states that in BAL-29 areas "those parts of handrails and balustrades that are 125 mm or more from the building have no requirements" (clause 7.7.4). Therefore LOSP-treated pine would be OK. The guidelines on the use of LOSP in Timber Queensland's Technical Data Sheet no. 24 may be helpful. It can be downloaded here: http://www.tpaa.com.au/TPAA/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/4_5_5_0-Recommendations-for-use-of-H3-LOSP-pine.pdf. If any part of the handrail or balustrade is less than 125 mm from any glazing or any combustible wall, that part must be non-combustible or made from one of the seven timbers classed as 'bushfire-resisting'. LOSP-treated pine would not comply for that part of the handrail or balustrade.

BAL-29

Answered on 13-01-2021
Please note that our answer is based on the best advice available at the time. If the National Construction Code, Australian Standards or local requirements have been subsequently amended, our answer may no longer be correct in all details. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

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