Camphor laurel timber

If you have lived in NSW or south east Queensland you may be familiar Camphor laurel trees, as they exist in large numbers in these parts. As a child growing up on the north coast of NSW I spent hours building forts in these branch laden evergreens that seemed designed for vertigo prone kids like me.

Camphor laurel trees are native to Japan, Taiwan and China and were introduced to Australia in 1822. They have agressively spread along waterways and through pastures since then to displace native trees. It is now illegal to propogate or sell Camphor laurels and there are government and council programs to reduce their numbers. With each tree capable of producing over 100,000 seeds a year and birds actively spreading them over the countryside, the Camphor forests are up for the challenge.

So it seems that we will be living with these invasive plants for some time to come. But it now not all bad news. On the plus side, the smell of cut timber is a wonderful camphor smell from which the tree derives its name (think Vicks Vaporub). The highly figured patterns in the wood also make it popular for furniture making and wood turning. It is a moderately light hardwood (dry density of 550 kg/m^3) and easy to work with, so the milled timber is readily sold by timber mills.

Below is a table I made from a Camphor slab that shows the amazingly figured grain.

 Camphor laurel coffee table

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