Blackwood

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

Botanical Name

Acacia melanoxylon

Common Form
Sawn
Species Type

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.

 

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

4.20%

Radial :

1.60%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.27%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.16%

Strength Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium High

Medium

Reasonably Low

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

Seasoned:

SD1

SD2

SD3

SD4

SD5

SD6

SD7

SD8

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

Seasoned:

650kg/m3

Unseasoned:

1050kg/m3

Joint Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

Seasoned:

JD1

JD2

JD3

JD4

JD5

JD6

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:

72

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

110

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

12

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

14

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

34

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

58

Impact - Unseasoned:

12

Impact - Seasoned:

15

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Medium - 15 - 24 Nm

Toughness - Seasoned:

Medium - 15 - 24 Nm

Hardness - Unseasoned:

4.2

Hardness - Seasoned:

4.9

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

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility - Other:

Termite Resistance:

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

Critical Radiance Flux - Higher:

≥4.5

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
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.

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
Readily Available
NSW
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
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Joinery

Timber joinery offers a classic, stylish touch to any interior or exterior space.
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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.
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Flooring

The warmth, strength and natural beauty of timber flooring is enduringly popular in a wide variety of domestic, commercial and industrial applications.

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