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Species >> Australian Cypress

Australian Cypress

Australian Cypress
Australian Cypress

Other Names:

Australian Cypress
Cypress Pine

Janka Hardness:

Australian Cypress
Red Oak

Color Range:

Medium-high only because of the striking differences between the knot holes and heartwood. Otherwise heartwood is consistent and would rate much lower by itself.

Region: Australasia

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The Tree: Australian Cypress is a small to medium-sized tree or large shrub, reaching 15-65 ft tall. The leaves are evergreen and scale-like, except young seedlings, where they are needle-like. In some tree variations, needle-like leaves are found mixed with scale leaves throughout the tree's life.

Principal Uses: This wood is most often used in light construction, such as flooring, siding, and joinery, as well as in decorative veneers and furniture components. Aboriginal Australians have used Australian Cypress for diverse purposes, such as oars, spears, glues, and medicines.

Appearance: There is a high degree of color variability in Australian cypress, as the sapwood can be cream- or straw-colored, while the heartwood ranges from honey-gold to brown, with darker knots throughout to add character. Australian Cypress gives a rustic or "country" look and is often confused with knotty pine. Over time there may be some slight ambering or muting of color tones. It has a fine, lustrous texture with a typically straight grain.

Properties: This species grows in a semi-arid area of Australia, which bestows on it the unique property of being the only commercial softwood that is actually harder than red oak - making it superior for both residential and commercial use. Because of its relative hardness and excellent durability, Australian cypress has very good dimensional stability; however, in actual installations, significant movement can sometimes be seen.

Other Interesting Information: When sanding or cutting, Australian Cypress produces a sweet citrus smell that strongly resembles fresh-cut lemon. Australian Cypress can have many knot holes and you should expect a few open knots on a finished stair tread. The heartwood has a almost no open grain and once finished, produces a very smooth face.

Quick Fact: Australian Cypress is a "softwood." The terms "softwood" and "hardwood" are often confused to be an indicator of hardness while, in actuality, the this description has little to do with hardness. Hardwood trees are deciduous, meaning that they lose their leaves  every year. Softwood trees are generally conifers or evergreens and have narrow leaves or needles that remain on the tree throughout the year.