Common Name(s): Southern Silky Oak
Scientific Name: Grevillea robusta
Distribution: Eastern coastal Australia, also grown on plantations in South Africa
Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 37 lbs/ft3 (590 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .49, .59
Janka Hardness: 880 lbf (3,930 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 10,790 lbf/in2 (74.4 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,151,000 lbf/in2 (7.93 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 5,080 lbf/in2 (35.0 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 2.7%, Tangential: 7.7%, Volumetric: 10.5%, T/R Ratio: 2.9
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a light to medium reddish brown with grey to light brown rays. Like other woods that exhibit the strongest figure in quartersawn pieces, (such as Sycamore), Silky Oak has the most pronounced figure and displays the largest flecks when perfectly quartersawn; this is due to the wood’s large rays, whose layout can be seen the clearest when looking at the endgrain.
Grain/Texture: Has a fairly coarse texture and straight grain.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium to very large pores in tangential rows, few; solitary and tangential multiples of 2-3; deposits in heartwood occasionally present; very wide rays easily visible without lens, wide spacing; parenchyma unilateral, confluent, and banded (scalariform).
Rot Resistance: Southern Silky Oak is rated as moderately durable to durable in regards to decay resistance, and it is also moderately resistant to most insect attacks.
Workability: Overall a fairly easy wood to work with, though there may be some difficulty in planing, with tearout occurring. Southern Silky Oak also has a moderate blunting effect on cutting edges. Glues and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Southern Silky Oak has been reported to cause eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Southern Silky Oak is not too commonly available in the United States, and prices tend to be in the mid to high range for an imported hardwood.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Veneer, cabinetry, fine furniture, musical instruments, turned objects, and other small specialty items.
Comments: Southern Silky Oak is in the Proteaceae family, and has wide rays that are characteristic of Lacewood. In its vaguest sense, the term “lacewood” is used to describe any wood that displays figuring that resembles lace, (which would technically include Southern Silky Oak). Attempts to identify a specific board macroscopically may be difficult.