Timber of-the-Month: Silky Oak

Timber of-the-Month: Silky Oak – Grevillea Robusta (or possibly the oft-mistaken Cardwellia sublimis)

This month’s timber of-the-month from Brad’s Burls is Silky Oak.  It’s not actually an Oak, and is an ornamental tree (still growing up to about 40m), particularly in northern Australia (primarily Queensland).  Also known elsewhere in the world as Lacewood.

Raw As-Cut Silky Oak

Raw As-Cut Silky Oak

Even in an as-cut state, you can see the very distinctive patterns and textures in the timber.

It is quite physically light, and has a tendency to split.  The boards I have though seem relatively stable, and have minor checking at the ends.  However the ends have a more significant problem, and it was simply an unfortunate event that the boards had to be used to nail shut the pallets of wood that Brad’s Burls were bringing to the Melbourne Show.  Unfortunate for them, very fortunate for me!  And the timber around the nail holes will not be wasted either – there are plenty of pen blanks in the remaining portions between the holes.  Of course, the bulk of the boards are in a pristine state, and will soon become boxes as likely as anything.

Oiled Finish

Oiled Finish

Again, a light oil and sand gently accentuates the contrasting timber colours.

Closer Look at Texture

Closer Look at Texture

Closer

Closer

Closer

Closer

Here you can clearly see the interesting contrasting textures in the timber – linear structures with diagonal highlights.  However, a rather uniform pattern of medullary rays and a high lustre and finish occasionally breaks down into fascinating, detailed swirls that could make for a real detail piece in a box lid or something.

Abnormal Pattern Swirl

Abnormal Pattern Swirl

Given the average colour of the timber is pale, I think this would look great with a dark highlight colour for a (thin) frame, and perhaps inside a double dovetail. Just thinking out loud.

Brad's Burls

One Response

  1. Hello,

    New to wood work but i have taken a fancy to silky oak, can you recommend a varnish to use, the project is just going to be a small table at this stage and i got the wood from house panel, an old type house (know here and a Queenslander).

    many thanks in advance.

    wayne

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