Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between Tasmanian, Victorian and Otway Blackwood?
These are all names given to distinguish where the Blackwood has come from. All of these names refer to Australian Blackwood. There is so much variation in Blackwood that its' source of origin cannot reliably determine its colour, density or wood properties. Blackwood will only reach its full potential in areas that provide optimal growing conditions such as North-West Tasmania, the Otway Ranges and moist forests of Eastern Victoria. Studies have shown that timber properties are not related to provenance or environmental conditions but have a genetic and environmental interaction. A relationship between density and growth rate has not been found. A number of luthiers have suggested that Tasmanian timber is denser and Victorian timber is lighter. However, densities can only be determined on a tree-by-tree basis, or even piece by piece. See more on our species page.
What causes fiddleback?
Fiddleback is created when cambium cells elongate at different rates. The exact cause is unknown. See Figure in Wood: An Illustrated Review. Beales and Davis 1977. for more info.
Can I use the timber straight away?
To ensure timber will not move once you have built your instrument it should ideally be conditioned to 6-8% Moisture Content (MC)(40% Relative Humidity equivalent). This will also depend on the component - fingerboards, for example, are taken down to much lower EMC's. If the timber has only been seasoned then it may not have reached this MC and as such may move after you have built your instrument. To avoid this many luthiers make sure all timber that they use has reached this level by conditioning the timber in a dehumidification chamber or humidity controlled environment. Even if the timber has already been conditioned it should be let to equalise to about 40%RH before use and particularly before applying glue. We can only guarantee that our online timber has reached this EMC unless otherwise stated. If you intend to purchase an item that has not yet been conditioned then you will need to condition it prior to construction.
Are any of the species you harvest endangered?
None of the species that we harvest are endangered or listed under the CITES. One species, Satinwood, is listed as rare under the Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants of Victoria and recently as Vulnerable under the FFG Act Threatened Species List. This species is known to be promoted by timber harvesting and is not locally threatened in the Otways. The IUCN extent of range assessment for this species lists it as Least Concern. The second photo on the about us page shows 29 year old dense Satinwood regrowth on a clear-fell logging site in the Otways. Both of the videos show dense Satinwood regrowth amongst Blackwood following timber harvesting disturbance in Wet Forest in the Otways. For more information see our Species page.
How do I know if the timber I get has been legally harvested?
Under the Illegal logging Act - All processors of raw logs and importers of certain timber products need to do due diligence to determine if the timber has come from a legal source. As a consumer of the processed log within Australia there are no obligations to check that it has come from a legal source. However, most end users would likely be unhappy to know if the instrument they are playing came from illegally harvested timber.
All commercial timber harvesters should have either a council permit (private land) or harvesting licence (public land) as a record of the legality of the timber harvesting operations (some exemptions apply).
For more detail on the Illegal Logging Act and State and local legislation, click this link to the Australian Agricultural Departments Forest Policy page.
Current Quick Reference Information in pdf format on Legal harvesting of timber for each state:
If you are a customer and you would like to see our Produce Licence to ensure the timber is sourced legally, feel free to contact us.
Can I get a discount for multiple purchases?
Yes, we offer discounts for multiple purchases and return customers. Discounts are based on spend amounts per annum and will be applied once the threshold has been reached. Create an account to ensure your spends accumulate and the relevant discounts are being applied. Feel free to contact us for specific information.
I want to know more about a certain species.
See our species page or if the information you are after is not there get in touch through the contact form below.
I want to know more about timber harvesting.
You can find out more on our harvesting methods on the About Us page. There is more information on native timber harvesting and plantation harvesting through the Petition site.
How do you grade timber?
See our Timber Grading page to see examples of figure grading from A - Mastergrade.
I am purchasing from overseas. Do you ship to my country?
Yes we ship to most countries. It is the responsibility of the buyer to pay for any import duties and fees.
When will my order be shipped?
We are a small business with limited staff and orders may take 3-10 business days before they are packaged and sent. We appreciate your patience but if you have any concerns just contact us and we'll be happy to help.