Myrtle

A striking timber that makes an excellent veneer and finishing timber. Used in high-quality furniture, joinery, cabinet-making and feature panelling in homes and offices, or as a finishing timber for cornices, architraves and skirting.

It is believed the richness of colour comes from the quality of the soil it grows in. The deepest red myrtle comes from highly fertile soils on basalt. The colour is vibrant, combining subtle variations in tone with the texture and sheen of wavy and fiddleback features to produce a surface alive with character and individuality. While a pale and pink myrtle resource is available, commercial production concentrates on the deeper red variety. It is a close-grained species with well defined annual rings but with little latewood.

Myrtle's fine aesthetic qualities are matched by its working properties. It is particularly easy to work and makes excellent veneer.

Taking a deep lustre when polished, Myrtle is prized by architects and furniture makers alike. It is used as a solid or veneer in high-quality furniture, joinery, cabinet making and feature panelling in homes and offices, or as a striking finishing timber for cornices, architraves and skirting.

It has further applications for craft workers. Myrtle turns well and traditionally has been used for spindle turning and bowls. Craft workers particularly favour burls and knotty wood.

Myrtle Products & Applications

Quality assured Myrtle products are available from these suppliers:

The Tasmanian Timber Quality Assurance Program assesses nominated products for Australian Standards compliance through a quarterly mill audit. Buyers can trust that the guaranteed products from our suppliers come from a company that employs sustainable practices, holds Chain-of-Custody, and Responsible Wood accreditation.

Myrtle Properties

Nothofagus cunninghamii

For further information click tables marked  

Availability & Appearance
General Availability
Although the resource is limited by quotas or predominant reservation, stocks of Myrtle are still available.
Appearance Grade
Available
Plantation
Not available
Structural Grade
Not available
Veneer
Available (mainly decorative thicknesses)
Sizes
Dressed seasoned timber 40 to 300 mm wide by 12 to 40 mm thick. Undressed seasoned timber 25 to 300mm wide by 25 to 50 mm thick. Lengths up to 4500 mm long are available, with the bulk of production between 2400 and 3000 mm long.
Colour
Myrtle heartwood is pale pink to deep red, occasionally with pale yellow-grey streaks. Sapwood is white to light pink.
Grain
Grain is mainly straight and occasionally wavy with clearly visible growth rings.
Texture
Fine, uniform and smooth.
Density  
Unseasoned
Seasoned
Density (per standard)
1100 kg/m3
700 kg/m3
Durability  
Above-Ground
Class 3: 7-15 yrs
In-Ground
Class 4: 0-5 yrs
Susceptible to Lyctid Borer
Yes
Marine Borer Resistance
0-20 yrs (usually 5 yrs)
Termite Resistant
No
Environmental Details
Resource
Native - Wet Eucalypt and Rainforest
Reserves
82% of total Myrtle forest types are reserved.
Certification
Available
Chain of Custody
Available
Carbon Storage
308 kg/m3
R Values
0.57 (100mm)
Fire Properties  
Average Specific Extinction Area
< 250 m2/kg
Bushfire Resistance
BAL-12.5 & 19 (door and window joinery only)
Critical Radiance Flux - Higher
≥ 4.5 kW/m2
Critical Radiance Flux - Lower
> 2.2 < 4.5 kW/m2
Smoke Development Rate
< 750% per min
EFH Ignitibility: 1
EFH Smoke-Develop Index: 1
EFH Spread-of-Flame Index: 1
Fire Properties Group Number: 3
Joint  
Unseasoned
Seasoned
Joint Group
J3
JD3
Mechanical Properties  
Unseasoned
Seasoned
Hardness (Janka)
4.4 kN
5.9 kN
Impact
12 J
13 J
Maximum Crushing Strength
33 MPa
56 MPa
Modulus of Elasticity (MOE)
12 GPa
14 GPa
Modulus of Rupture (MOR)
71 MPa
108 MPa
Toughness (IZOD)
15-24 Nm
Low - up to 15 Nm
Movement  
Radial
0.18% per 1% MC change
Tangential
0.32% per 1% MC change
Shrinkage  
Radial
2.3%
Tangential
4.7%
Stress  
Unseasoned
Seasoned
Common Structural Grades
Structural #3: F8
Structural #3: F11
Structural Grades
S1:F14, S2:F11, S3:F8, S4:F7, S5:F5
S1:F17, S2:F14, S3:F11, S4:F8, S5:F7
Strength  
Unseasoned
Seasoned
Strength Group
S4
SD5
Workability
General Workability
Myrtle cuts relatively cleanly and may be easily dressed to a smooth, lustrous surface.
Bending
An excellent bending timber. 25mm material bends well to a radius of 75mm.
Blunting
Moderate
Boring
Easy to drill. Holes are clean and to size.
Finishing
Readily worked to a smooth, lustrous surfaced. Most finishes adhere very well. Staining can be difficult.
Gluing
Glues satisfactorily with most common adhesives.
Moulding
Surfaces are true and clean, even end grain.
Nailing
Nails very well, material does not tend to split. Pre-drilling is often necessary in seasoned material. Nails hold well.
Planing
Moderate feeding forces required. Surfaces can be planed very smooth and lustrous.
Rebating + Mortising
Very good results may be obtained with relative ease.
Sawing
Cuts very cleanly and accurately with standard blades.
Turning
Turns very well.

Sources: Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood (CSAW), Wood Solutions

The Tasmanian Timber Expert Helpline is a free service operated by the Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood at the University of Tasmania; providing advice on choosing the right timber, obtaining quotes from suppliers, and troubleshooting problems.

Call the Helpline 1300 041 766

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