Blackwood - Acacia melanoxylon
One of the best known and most widely used Tasmanian special timber, blackwood is produced in moderate commercial volumes and grows across a broad range of forest types. The biggest, straightest, tallest trees come from the wet forest and swamps of north west Tasmania. Blackwood timber colour ranges from a very pale honey colour through to a dark chocolate with streaks of red tinge. However, straight grain timber is not the most prized or valuable, blackwood with intense fiddleback figure being the most valuable.
Tasmanian Blackwood is very similar in its properties, colour and figure to Hawaiian Koa, Acacia koa, which is highly regarded as a wood for acoustic guitars. As Koa is becoming very difficult to legally source, Tasmanian Blackwood from managed forests is becoming a sought-after substitute and special wood in its own right. Luthiers have used highly figured Koa and now blackwood in their best instruments.
Blackwood is our most popular timber and used in many furniture, fitout and turning applications. Its highest value uses are fiddleback veneer and acoustic guitar backs and sides.
Air Dry Density about 640 kg/m3 (Bootle 1985)
Availability: Blackwood is widely available from the established merchant base. IST Geeveston and IST Smithton sell blackwood logs and stumps by tender and IST Geeveston sell blackwood kiln-dried slabs, boards, flooring, lining, squares, turning blanks and waxed green turning blanks.
Caution: The sanding dust from this species can cause irritation to the skin and bronchial tubes of some people, similar symptoms can be experienced when handling seed material (Bootle, 1985).