iDRY Vacuum Kilns


Images of Australian Red Cedar

Started by Greenvision, October 04, 2023, 10:11:59 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Images of Australian Red Cedar

Australian Red Cedar is Australia's most famous, beautiful and valuable timber. Several books have been written about it, one of them is called, RC, Australia's Tree of History. In it, it says that Governor Phillip in the first settlement at Sydney Cove, became aware of the tree and the timber and sent some logs back to England. By the 1820's, it was the colony's most valuable export. Initially it was exported under the name of mahogany, which has a degree of truth to it but with time, it became known as Red Cedar, which as a name is quite wrong as it is a flowering tree and not a cone bearing pine at all. Maybe the wood has some superficial resemblance to cedar.

RC wood is outstanding because of its vibrant red colour, its figure, stability and ease of working and so became the most desired wood for furniture making. RC is one of many species of rainforest trees and so was never common nor ever available in large quantities although the tree could grow to a large size. By the 1920's, the supply was mostly exhausted and became of only very limited availability.

I'm a tree farmer from south east Qld in Australia. Many years ago, I purchased my cleared and seriously degraded former rainforest farm and commenced replanting using mostly a local rainforest pine tree called Hoop Pine. This is a very tough species which also has valuable wood. After being here a few years, I noticed that there were a few RC trees and quite a lot of natural regeneration. About 35 years ago, I did an inventory of all my RC trees, measured them, and did a bit of silvicultural treatment around them such as cutting back weeds and so forth. I discovered I had quite a significant quantity of this natural regeneration which I would manage as a resource and as an addition to the trees I had planted. This came as rather a surprise because RC is not a particularly common tree at all.

Almost 20 years ago, I did a more thorough inventory, this time as well as measuring them, I gave them a number and placed them on a mud map. As a concession to the modern world, I have been photographing them and placing the photos online.

Growing RC is a bit different from growing other timber trees because what is desired most is figure in the wood. This means that a bent tree is good because, hopefully with time, it will fillout and become straight, for ease of sawing but contain with in the board, the figure which is a product of the bend in the bole. I also never prune live branches as figured wood is grown around the knot. When the branch dies, I most certainly make an attempt to cut it where possible. Dead branch stubs lead to serious wood degrade. Another difference, I'm not interested in long boards, it is width of boards that is of value to me. A short bole on an open grown tree with a big crown is much more useful to me than a long bole, small crown, and competition. RC does not like competing against my tougher planted trees.

There are some people who appreciate fine furniture and love the figure in the boards. Well, I'd like to show these connoisseurs where the figure has come from and that there are people out there attempting to keep the art of furniture making and its appreciation alive. So far, I have 789 in my register minus a few too many deaths. I do make a little money out of it but mostly it is a hobby. Growth is mostly slow but I like my trees and their unique and fascinating form.

If anyone wishes to seen the photos, they are welcome to click on the links below.


I don't know why but the links didn't come through so here they are, hopefully.


Bob - Thank you for your detailed post, you can't put links to photos on here, the photo needs to be uploaded into your gallery, then posted into the post.   This is to prevent photos from vanishing down the road when the other photo host goes away or otherwise deletes many photos as was done years back by the service you have tried to link to.  

Below the text pox is a "Click here to add Photos to post" box, that will take you to the page where you can upload to your gallery. 
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows


Aloha, very cool to hear about your project. I am a second generation tree farmer on the Big Island of Hawaii. Australian Red Cedar or Toon as we commonly call it here was was relatively widely planted in the forest reserves starting in the 1930s. There is a developing local market.
Starting in the mid 1990s my father planted high value tropical hardwood species for future timber. We have Toon from at least two sources that I know of. One was the State Forest Nursery, which show a wide range of phenotypes, and later, from CSIRO improved seeds.
I have managed these stands by pruning for a straight bole, the amount of which has varied greatly. For the past 10 years I have been developing a sawmill operation to utilize the resource and pay for future forest management. 
I still have some of the original samples I cut and have been amazed by the beauty and stability of the crotches.
I also see the degrade issue with dead branch stubs.
I would love to learn more about your project and compare notes.

This was from the first tree I cut. 15 year old but growing just below the neighbors cesspool. 18"dbh. Definately on the "fast grown" side, but it has aged well and is beautiful wood.

doc henderson

sounds like our eastern redcedar.  not a cedar but a juniper.  what is the formal name of your Australian Red Cedar?  Rediscovered by the French and they named a town after ERC in Louisianna, Baton Rouge for "red stick".  

Toona ciliata - Wikipedia
Timber king 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor powered by a 12 volt tarp motor


Toona ciliata will do. There has been a bit of taxonomic confusion at the species level. As a close relative to the Mahoganies the wood embodies many of their qualities. Interestingly, Spanish Cedar (Cedrella sp.) appears to be very closely related.


A few more pictures. This tree fell over 2 years ago and I finally got it to the mill today. This is one of the top 10% in the field as far as growth rate. Planted about 1998. Most of the trees in the background are natural regen.

26" bar.

First log; this thing filled up my 5 ton dumptruck. I plan on cutting this in half, qsawing the bottom 8 and slabbing the top 8 on the Lucas.


Kind of shows how "old growth" and "tropical rainforest" are contradictions. In some areas a tree that size might be 200 or more years old. Been there longer than anyone remembers sort of stuff. Meanwhile in the tropics, 25 years and you have a serious tree. After 70 or so it's died and fallen over. 

Anyway, that's a serious log, and the wood is well worth recovering. 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)


Beautiful color in that log. Will make some fine lumber.  :)
"No amount of belief makes something a fact." James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

2020 Polaris Ranger 570 to forward firewood, Husqvarna 555 XT Pro, Stihl FS560 clearing saw and continuously thinning my ground, on the side. Grow them trees. (((o)))

Peter Drouin

Nice color on that. The regen looks good too.
Will the regen be thind out some?
A&P saw Mill LLC.
45' of Wood Mizer, cutting since 1987.
License NH softwood grader.


The color is average for this stand, lack of sapwood may be due to laying down for a couple of years, barely alive. This is only based on a couple of experiences and I need more data points to be certain though. 
Most of the trees in the background less successful planted toon needing an (overdue) first commercial thinning. There is wide variety of form and growth in this field so my plan is to leave the best ~30% for continued growth and for seed, with the best seedlings being promoted. This is complicated by the fact that the plantings are, by and large, mixed species, in effect a common garden competition experiment. It has taken quite a bit of work to decide which species to promote as I figure out their relative value and marketability, not to mention taking into consideration growth rate etc.
Long answer short, yes, planning on heavy regen management.

Thank You Sponsors!