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Australian Hardwood Timber - The Process

January 31 2023

Australian Hardwood Custom Furniture
Australian Hardwood Custom Furniture

Ever wondered about the life your beautiful piece had before it made its home in your space?  It’s really quite a straight forward journey; though it can take a little time before it becomes your gorgeous item.  Why don’t we walk it through; from tree to when we begin working on it for you.

Timber has always been a part of life no matter where in the world we’re from.  The benefits and uses of this material has proven itself over and over throughout the ages.  Right here in Australia the indigenous peoples had different uses for the various gums.  As an example, River Redgum bark was used for shields, water vessels, shelters and canoes.  Today’s many uses for this same tree is in furniture and furnishings. It’s also well suited to garden landscaping, retaining walls, garden beds etc, because of it’s resistance to rot.

As you know, Wildwood Designs uses Australian Hardwood timber to craft beautiful furniture.  But all our pieces go through the same general process before they get to us.  We do pride ourselves in sourcing our timber from sustainable suppliers as well as reclaiming pre-used lumber.

Australian Hardwood Custom Furniture

Once felled the tree is milled; what does that mean?  The timber is machined to a particular shape or finish, e.g. dividing the log into floorboards.  This process dictates the size of our slabs, planks, boards etc. Some trees are milled where they fall and others are transported to the mill for this process.  At times it may take a little longer than usual because the pieces required are not a conventional size, so patience is needed.  When milled and stacked the timber is left to season. 

 Australian Hardwood Custom Furniture

What does it mean to season the timber?  This is when the log, slab, board or plank is left to age.  The wood of living trees and fresh logs can contain large amounts of water, which can sometimes be over 50% of the wood’s weight. In essence we’re removing moisture from the timber to avoid any damage it will cause when working with it.  If the timber isn’t seasoned properly it may warp, crack or bow.  The finish may blister or peel and crack.  So this is a crucial part of the journey.   

Wood shrinks and swells depending on the moisture content and absorption so the seasoning process can take some time. Of course, there are other benefits to using seasoned wood; 

  1. Stronger
  2. Lighter – easier to transport and use
  3. Easier to work/machine with - glues, stains, paints, all last longer

Among other advantages.

The milled timber can be air dried which is the long-established method, or kiln dried, which is far more time efficient.  Air drying obviously takes longer, as the slabs are allowed, over a period of time, generally, years, to very slowly naturally age/dry. The kiln drying process can take a matter of days.  Though other factors do come into play in order for kiln drying to be effective.

Australian Hardwood Custom Furniture

And then?  Well, that’s up to you! What will it be? One of our luxury beds? A custom designed wall unit? A beautiful sideboard?  

Have you checked out our "Available Now" page? We might have something on the our showroom floor that you've been looking for...  Click here to have a peek