Blackbutt has become a classic Australian timber used in flooring. It is not uncommon for people to walk into the showroom and ask to see this particular timber. It has been featured on a number of TV shows, especially those featuring renovation and emphasising the need to use lighter colours in order to give a sense of space. The timber is a hardwood and is found in two parts of Australia being Western Australia and New South Wales primarily. The timber is different in appearance depending on where the timber is sourced. The West Australian version is richer in colour and slightly darker whereas the eastern states variety features lighter tones and some tendency towards pink in some boards.
One of the points of differences hardness however this point has been oversold and is the point of this blog entry. We had a couple of people walk into the showroom and say that the West Australian timber was very soft. This is just wrong. While there is a difference in hardness and the eastern states version is a little higher on the scale the West Australian timber is very hard. The West Australian timber is as hard as Jarrah which is anyone knows is a very good solid hardwood. The eastern states version is a little harder but not to the degree that you would notice it in day-to-day living. It would appear that some people seem to think that the West Australian timber Blackbutt is soft. This probably stems from a failure to understand hardness tables. Either extreme in hardness on the hardness table brings with it some concerns depending on the timber. At the bottom end of the hardness scale timbers are soft and these generally score 4.5 or less on the hardness scale or Janka scale. We generally do not sell timbers that fall below 4.5 on the Janka scale. Most Australian timbers fall in the range of 7 to 10 on this scale with West Australian Blackbutt scoring just below eight and eastern states Blackbutt scoring around nine. In practical day-to-day terms however there would be no difference in wear between the two varieties. Once you start going above 10 on the hardness scale you really do want to get timbers that are not prone to cracking and checking. Care must be taken at the top end of the scale as some of these very hard timbers are difficult to work with.
In practical terms therefore both varieties of Blackbutt are ideal for use in West Australian homes and the only real point of difference that is worth noting is the colour variation between the two species. Once you've decided which of the two timbers to go with it is far better to start looking at coating systems to determine which coating will enhance the particular colour tones that you want to develop and be the most practical in your situation whether it be the incredibly tough Bona system or the easy maintenance Osmo system.
So if anyone tells you the West Australian Blackbutt is very soft you know what to tell them. Both the eastern states and West Australian species are magnificent hardwoods... They are BOTH VERY HARD TIMBERS!
Niel Morley has worked in the industry for decades. So much happens at VCS that we decided it was time to start our Blog. We hope that you enjoy reading the regular updates
VCS Solid Timber Floors Is Owned and Operated In Western Australia
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