White cypress is a softwood timber species growing to a height of up to 25 metres and a stem diameter of 0.6 metres. It is commonly found throughout Victoria, western New South Wales and central western Queensland.
In contrast to a creamy-white band of sapwood, the heartwood of this species ranges in colour from light yellow through orange to light brown, with occasional dark brown streaks. Grain is generally straight with a very fine and even texture. The presence of numerous tight knots is a distinctive feature that produces a strikingly decorative figure on exposed faces.
Natural resins in the wood impart a distinctive odour to white cypress and are believed to contribute to the timber’s impressive natural durability. Heartwood is resistant to termites. Life expectancy for above ground applications is greater than 40 years and up to 25 years in-ground. Both the sapwood and the heartwood of this species resist impregnation with commercially available preservatives.
In terms of hardness, white cypress is a firm timber (rated 4 on a 6-class scale in relation to both indentation and hand tooling). It can be satisfactorily machined and turned to a smooth finish. Pre-drilling is recommended for hand nailing seasoned timber, although machine nailing with shear-point nails works well. White cypress readily accepts most standard coatings, stains and polishes. Special techniques, such as surface roughening, are required for gluing.
In its area of natural occurrence, white cypress is commonly found as sawn timber (usually unseasoned) in framework and other aspects of general building construction. More widely, it is used as flooring, cladding and fencing material. Decorative uses of white cypress include quality indoor and outdoor furniture, turnery, joinery, carving, parquetry and linings. Other common applications include oyster stakes and jetty piles in low-salinity environments, as well as beehives.
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