Using Recycled Jarrah Timber

Using Recycled Jarrah Timber

Using Recycled Jarrah Timber

Jarrah is a unique Australian hardwood renowned for its durability and strength, with a tight dense grain reflecting the slow growth rates. The timber typically has an attractive deep mahogany red colour, which is a perfect complement to any garden.

Recycled jarrah has many uses in landscaping, including decking, seats, fences, screens, gates and kids cubbies.

Extensive urban renewal in Perth means that there is a large supply of recycled jarrah available from any salvage yard, and at similar prices to new treated pine. In the Fremantle region, S&L Salvage offer a great range of recycled jarrah in all sizes. (1 Roper St, O’Connor, 9337 9999)

The advantages of re-cycled jarrah over treated pine are:

  • Great looking hardwood with beautiful mahogany colour and tight grain
  • Great strength and durability
  • Well seasoned timber will not warp or crack
  • Environmental benefits – using a recycled product

Disadvantages are:

  • Not ideal for installation into ground as posts without chemical soil treatment
  • All fixings need to be drilled and screwed as seasoned timber is too dense, nail guns typically not applicable as they cause the timber to crack or nails fail to penetrate.
  • Usually needs to be planed to reveal beautiful colour and grain of fresh timber. Careful de-nailing is required prior to planing.

Jarrah is commonly regarded as termite and rot resistant, yet experience has shown that it varies considerably. Despite the fact that jarrah stumps have been historically used with great success on thousands of WA homes, I don’t recommend installing jarrah into the ground for any application. Without chemical soil treatment the chances of termite attack are relatively high, and in an exposed location jarrah can rot surprisingly quickly at soil level.

Another challenge is to discriminate jarrah from karri. The two timbers look similar at a glance, and sometimes discrimination can be VERY difficult. Karri is extremely attractive to termites, and should be avoided for all applications other than roofing. Karri timber has a long grain that is coarser and more open, and is typically slightly lighter in colour. A milled surface will feel rougher, and gives rise to the nastiest splinters imaginable. It is this long grain that gives Karri its incredible strength and hence its use as a roofing timber. Karri became widely used in roofing in the early 1960’s. Usually, any timber that was a floor bearer or floor joist will be jarrah, ask an expert for help to identify these. You don’t want to bring home karri unless you are building a roof!

And lastly, a word on recycled pine pallets. Pine pallets are usually made from untreated pine, which is highly attractive to termites. Many people are turning to pine pallets to create everything from compost bays, garden beds, hanging gardens to garden furniture. Many of these projects soon end up crawling with termites, which pose a risk to nearby houses and usually results, one way or another, in the application of chemicals to the soil (if not by the perpetrator, then by their neighbours who end up infested also) and a lot of money and time wasted. So please, only used treated pine (or jarrah) for outdoor applications!

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