Tea Tree, Broad-leaved

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Few species of so-called 'paperbarks' - the larger members of the genus Melaleuca - have commercial uses apart from in the production of honey and essential oils. The timber of Melaleuca leucadendron, however - known to have been used by Indigenous Australians in the manufacture of dugout canoes - has a history of use in a variety of commercial applications including railway sleepers, fence posts and mine props.

Broad-leaved tea tree is widely used in general construction, for flooring, boat knees (cut from the natural shapes of tree branches) and oyster rack structural members (with bark intact). The bark is used for lining fernery baskets and for making bark paintings. The cork from the bark is used for infants' pillows and mattresses. Small stems of tea tree with bark intact make an attractive fencing material.

The heartwood of this species is pinkish-brown in colour. Sapwood is distinctively paler. Grain is often interlocked and the timber exhibits a fine and even texture.

Broad-leaved tea tree occurs in northern New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Small quantities are occasionally imported from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Appearance

The heartwood of this hardwood species is pinkish brown in colour. Sapwood is usually distinctively paler. Grain is often interlocked, with a fine and even texture.

Common Applications

Originally used by Indigenous Australians in the manufacture of dugout canoes, the timber of this species has a history of use for a variety of commercial applications including railway sleepers, fence posts and mine props.

Common applications include general construction, flooring, boat knees (cut from the natural shapes of tree branches), and oyster rack structural members (with bark intact). The bark is used for lining fernery baskets and for making bark paintings consisting of a collage of pieces of differing colour and shape. The cork from the bark can be used for infants' pillows and mattresses, having the advantage of easy washing and sterilisation while at the same time being open enough to allow ready access of air, virtually avoiding the risk of accidental suffocation. Small stems of broad-leaved tea tree with bark intact make an attractive fencing material.

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

Broad-leaved tea tree tends to dull cutting edges. It can be satisfactorily glued using standard bonding techniques.

Origin of Timber

NSW

Readily Available

NSW

Availability - Further Information

Broad-leaved tea tree occurs in northern New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Small quantities are occasionally imported from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Availability - Further Information

Native Forest

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

4.50%

Radial:

3.30%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.27%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.26%

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:

745kg/m3

Unseasoned:

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:

82

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

97

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

9.2

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

13

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

41

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

53

Impact - Unseasoned:

14

Impact - Seasoned:

11

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Toughness - Seasoned:

Hardness - Unseasoned:

6.8

Hardness - Seasoned:

7.3

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:

Not Resistant

Fire Properties

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

Fencing

The inherent appeal and strength of timber makes it the obvious choice for fencing. Timber fencing not only provides a natural look in keeping with the outdoor environment but it also enables the construction of a long lasting, durable property boundary. Fences come in many forms including the traditional paling, picket, post and railing styles. Most rely on a structural frame of posts embedded into the ground and two or more rails spanning between the posts. The ultimate selection of a suitable fence type or style is determined by application and aesthetics. A fence can serve a variety of purposes, including the provision of security, privacy and safety in addition to defining property boundaries. Specification for durability is important, especially for posts, given their exposure to high moisture in the ground.

This section provides an overview to best practice methods in specifying, installing and finishing a timber fence.

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