Spotted gum is one of Australia’s premium native hardwoods with a striking appearance and a high degree of natural durability and strength, making it an ideal timber for a variety of structural, exterior and interior applications. Architects and designers throughout the world value spotted gum timbers for their back-sawn grain structure, attractive markings and vibrant colour palette.
Spotted gum is the common name for four species that grow along the east coast of Australia, from northeast Victoria to the northern tablelands of Queensland, with some occurrence in western areas of southern Queensland. Sawn timber from these species is generally available throughout Australia. These species have straight, slender trunks with smooth bark that is shed in patches, giving the trees their characteristic spotted appearance.
The species referred to as spotted gum vary in appearance but not in durability class or other properties. The heartwood ranges from light brown through to dark red-brown hues. Sapwood is usually white to light brown in colour. The presence of a wavy grain can produce an attractive fiddle-back figure. The wood has a slightly greasy feel, a characteristic that aids machining and boring. Spotted Gum components that are 18mm thick or greater do not require fire retardant treatment for use in construction in bush-fire prone areas.
Spotted gum is used in engineering applications such as wharf and bridge construction, railway sleepers, cross-arms and mining timbers. It is suitable for a range of building applications, such as posts and poles, framing, flooring, lining, decking and cladding. Spotted gum is also used in the manufacture of veneer and plywood. Other applications include boatbuilding, tool and implement handles, polo sticks and diving boards. Compared to other Australian hardwoods, spotted gum is a minimal staining timber as it is less prone to bleed-through of tannins than other species. Spotted gum is also a good timber for carving and woodturning.