Timber – details of research into sources

Framing Timber

It’s all very well to specify FSC timber but generally it is not readily available. The most effective route to procuring FSC certified timber we have found is to order early from your local timber supplier. Ask them to provide you with the FSC certified product you need with a CHAIN OF CUSTODY. Chain of custody is the certification paperwork which documents the journey of that particular tree from forest to consumer. This certification is supposed to be provided at NO EXTRA COST to the retailer and therefore the consumer.

40% of timber currently entering Hyne mills is FSC certified (from HVP plantations) but no one is asking for it on the shop floor so its chain of custody is not documented. If more people specify FSC Certification it will quickly become practical for its commercial availability.

‘Australian forest companies have come up with their own certification standard: the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS).  With FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), stakeholders such as conservationists have input into the process.  This does not occur via the AFS and FoE (Friends of the Earth) argues that AFS was established directly to undermine and negate the work of FSC.  If Hancock failed to gain FSC accreditation, that would leave the doors wide open for AFS, which is nothing more for a continuation of clear-felling of old growth forests.  ENGO (environmental non-governmental organization) criticism of FSC will also play into the hands of the timber industry interests pushing for the AFS. (ref: Anthony Amis 6/4/04. Forest Network, POLITICS & THE PULP MILL.)

But in 2008 Anthony Amis wrote in the Strzelecki Rainforest Case Study 2001-2013 very disappointing findings regarding HVP practice standards and concludes that ‘ it reveals how the FSC system cannot deal with unethical companies willing to manipulate anything that infringes on their ability to make as much profit as possible.’

Forest Stewardship Council, Hancock Victorian Plantations and Rainforest Management under Smartwood Interim Standards. Strzelecki Rainforest Case Study 2001 -2013 (REF: Anthony Amis, January 2008 (reviewed 2013)

To obtain FSC certification biological control is strictly controlled and the use of Genetically Modified Organisms is prohibited. The AFS does not prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms and does not require minimising the use of biological control agents.

For a comparison of AFS, FSC and other certifications of timber read ‘A Review of Forest Certification in Australia’ at www.fwprdc.org.au.

For a detailed account of toxicology reports from pesticides used in forestry : One Health – Human, Animal & Environmental Health in Tasmania Pollution Information Tasmania

For those looking to source Australian certified timber, certificates issued to Australian forest managers cover the following species:  (ref: http://au.fsc.org)

  • Acacia mangium (Black Wattle)
  • Corymbia maculata (Spotted Gum)
  • Eucalyptus dalrympleana (White Mountain Gum)
  • E. fastigata (Brown Barrel, Cut-Tail)
  • E. globulus (Blue Gum)
  • E. grandis (Flooded gum, Rose gum)
  • E. paniculata (Grey Ironbark)
  • E. saligna (Sydney Blue Gum)
  • E. tereticornis (Forest Red Gum and others)
  • E. viminalis (White Gum, Ribbon Gum)
  • Pinus radiata (Radiata Pine)

Greenpeace Good Wood Guide

Greenpeace Asia-Pacific maintains a web directory allowing you to search for timber-derived products from ethical and ecologically sustainable sources, including those that are FSC certified: www.goodwoodguide.org.au/

GREENPEACE classifies thus:

Green = Good Wood

These timber species are the best option. Good Wood timber species are:

  • from FSC-certified forests, or
  • verified Pacific ecotimber from community forest operations, or
  • verified recycled, reused and urban salvage.

Amber = 2nd choice

These timber species should only be used after checking the source carefully.

Amber wood includes sources that are in transition to Good Wood or from a non-controversial or neutral source. Question your supplier. If they can prove the wood product comes from one of the following sources, it is okay to buy. Please persist – it’s your right to know.

Amber status wood is:

  • verified from a forest or plantation in transition to FSC certification (eg, via stepwise schemes such as Tropical Forest Trust (TFT) and SmartStep)
  • certified by standards other than FSC. CSA standards are okay but MTCC, PEFC, AFS and ISO are not
  • verified legal by the credible third-party Smart Wood VLC
  • verified community small-scale sawn timber or Community Timber
  • plantation wood (not preservative-treated) verified as not coming from an area where the forest was cleared to make the plantation after 1994, including rubberwood, eucalypts, cypresses and acacia
  • non-verified recycled, reused and urban salvage
  • bamboo, coconut wood and recovered orchard trees like mango wood.

Red = Bad wood

These timber species should not be used. All known supplies are from illegal and/or destructive logging.

Australian Sustainable Timbers

Australia Sustainable Timbers have FSC (pure) certification for the following species and mill decking, flooring, architectural beams, furniture grade & timber rounds:

FSC status “FSC Pure”

Timber species that are covered by this certificate:

  • Tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys)
  • Grey Gum (E. punctata & E. propinqua)
  • White Mahogany (E. acmenoides, E. umbra & E. carnea)
  • Sydney Blue Gum (E. saligna)
  • Blackbutt (E. pilularis)
  • Forest Red Gum (E. terticornis)
  • Grey Box (E. mollucana)
  • Grey Ironbark (E. paniculate)
  • Stringybarks (E. globoidea, E. obliqua, E. laevopinea)
  • Red Mahogany (E. resinifera)
  • Rose Gum (E. grandis)
  • Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculate)
  • Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus)
  • Turpentine (Syncarpia glomerifera)

Refer to the Australian Sustainable Timbers website for useful information on the range of colours which can be expected for each species, as well as their individual durability and strength ratings. http://www.australiansustainabletimbers.com

Cypress Pine (AFS Certified)

Australian Cypress Pine is sourced from native forests but has an argument for its management and use as pre-European settlement. It is argued by the cypress industry that it did not occur as a dense dominant species forest but as grassland with scattered trees. It is commonly thought that Aboriginal burning practices managed the Cypress forests and prevented mass germination of seed stock.

However the following link http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/10/30/3879452.htm points to aboriginal burning not playing much of a role in callitris ecology, so arguments in that respect may be wishful thinking. Another source said callitris preferentially occurs in areas protected from frequent fire by topography and slow fuel accumulation.

The Cypress tree is a small to medium-sized native softwood, widely distributed in inland areas of Australia with moderate rainfall. Pre-European settlement saw much of the country in New South Wales and Queensland now devoted to wheat growing originally covered with Cypress woodlands.

In the mid to late 1800’s, when Europeans moved in with sheep and cattle, they disrupted Aboriginal burning, and in the late 1880’s after drought and the churning of cloven hooves, followed by heavy rains, seedlings came up as thick as a crop of wheat over large areas. According to counts made around this time, in the great Pilliga Forests of northern NSW, it grew as mature old greys, spaced at four to the hectare with 30 odd young Cypress coming on to replace them.

Squatters mustered what stock survived and moved out, leaving the valuable self-generating Cypress Forests that we have available today. Cypress is prolifically self-perpetuating under the right conditions but, unlike most native Australian plants, it cannot tolerate much fire.

With the introduction of the rabbit, subsequent seedlings were quickly eaten, and it was not until the 1950’s with more wet seasons and the introduction of Myxomatosis, that the cypress forests experienced another sucessful seed drop, hence another layer added to the forest.

Again in the mid 1980’s several ‘wet’ seasons saw another seed drop, giving the forest 3 distinct layers of Cypress.

This resource is managed by Forests NSW, with trees being selectively harvested, via a thinning process, ensuring a sustainable, and environmentally, best practice in Forest Management. (ref: http://www.frencham.com.au/Main.asp?_=The%20Cypress%20Story) http://www.forestry.org.au/kcfinder/upload/files/Cypress%20Forests%20Assessment%20-%20IFA%20Submission.pdf

‘Callitris usually grows with a range of other canopy species and logging practices were said to deliberately favour callitris at the expense of the other species eg mulga, gilga and she-oaks. So you would need to find out how they treat these other species and impacts of logging on them.’ Murray Ralph, author of Growing Australian Native Plants from Seed (2003)


Timber retailers will not regularly stock FSC certified timber unless the market makes it clear we want it, ask for FSC even if you know they do not stock it.

Tonks Brothers are willing to supply FSC certified timber.

Address: 224 Barker St, Castlemaine VIC 3450. Phone:(03) 5472 5453

Tonks is our locally owned Hardware store where we would prefer to source our building materials in order to support local growth. Tonks stock Hyne Timber. (Head Office Phone: +61 7 4121 1211)

In order to be certified they only need 70% AFS certified wood content which fails to meet Greenpeaces’ ‘Good Wood’ classification. They currently have 84% but the remaining 16% could be from anywhere.

We are currently on a search for anyone who supplies only FSC wood, which would have to come from a mill which is prepared to document the chain of custody or preferably a mill which only processes FSC (HVP) timber.

Beard’s Hardware are willing to supply FSC certified timber.

Address: 125 Main Rd, Campbells Creek VIC 3451. Phone:(03) 5472 1659

Tony Cochrane (5348 2251) based near Daylesford, Victoria, has a portable mill and can also come on site and mill specific trees. Supply of runs of timber to order at prices comparable to the large timber mills. He will tell you exactly which tree and where the timber came from.

He has sugar gum decking (class 1 durable HW), locally and sustainably sourced. Non-kiln-dried sugar gum has a reputation for twisting so can have a high wastage percentage.

Timberlink has FSC certification for their wood chips only as that market has pressurised them to get it. The same timber is used in their milled timber products, including T2, H2 and untreated plantation softwood, although FSC certification has not yet been sought for these products. These products can be ordered through our local Hardware, and at present is our best option, yet without FSC COC it is not possible to guarantee it’s FSC source. This is the closest we have come to finding commercially available, FSC certified plantation framing pine.

In order for the COC (chain of custody) to be complete, the manufacturers, processors and traders would all have to apply for FSC certification, we are pressuring for this process to happen. A vital part of this process is awareness and education of consumers of the importance of buying FSC certified timber and the direct impacts that has on the sustainability of out recourses.

Hyne in Tubawumba, QLD are certified for Chain of Custody (CoC) from AFS. They mill 40% HVP timber and 60% Forest Corp timber from NSW. HVP are certified by FSC and AFS, whereas Forest Corp are only certified by AFS, and according to the Good Wood Guide that makes it Bad Wood. After hours of phone chasing, we have established that although Hyne document every log’s origin as it is milled (so they can pay the supplier), they do not follow the chain of custody beyond this point as no-one has ever asked specifically for FSC certified wood. The only way this will change is if people start asking for it. They assure us it costs no more.

Grading Recycled timber

Forest and Wood Products Australia has released long-awaited visual grading guidelines for the use of pre-loved timber. These guidelines now allow architects, designers, builders, engineers and home owners to specify recycled timber with confidence. www.timber.org.au


Mat Boyle and Anna Winneke
Pumphouse Design and Building Works
1 Camp Street
Victoria 3451
Ph: 03 5473 4328
Fax: 03 5473 4375
Mobile: 0418 311375

Australian Recycled Timber
45 Fabio Court, Campbellfield
PHONE:  03 9359 0300
HOURS:  Monday to Friday 7.30am – 5pm
WEBSITE:  www.australianrecycledtimber.com.au
SHOWROOM:  On site
Australian Recycled Timber supplied the spectacular floors for the Ian Potter Gallery at Federation Square. Products include flooring, linings and claddings, bench tops, decking, beams and trusses, and furniture timbers.

Eco Timber Group Pty Ltd – FSC Certification on recycled timber products
418 Burnley St (cnr Madden Grv)
Richmond 3121 VIC
Phone: 03 9421 6866
Fax: (03) 9421 6877
Email: info@ecotimbergroup.com.au

ADDRESS:  28 Blaxland Avenue, Thomastown
PHONE:  03 9460 1477
OPEN HOURS:  Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 12.30pm
WEBSITE:  www.justoldflooring.com.au
SHOWROOM:  On site
Mainly recycled strip flooring or parquetry from demolitions.

Shiver Me Timbers
ADDRESS:  50 Emu Road, Maidstone
PHONE:  03 9317 7122
OPEN HOURS:  Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm, Saturday 8.30am – 12 noon
WEBSITE:  www.shivermetimbers.com.au
SHOWROOM:  On site
New and recycled timbers, engineered timber products and custom milling. De-nailing/metal detecting and machining services. Flooring, decking, bench tops, posts, beams, dressed boards, cladding, firewood.

Timber Revival
ADDRESS:  1/9 Lacy Street, Braybrook
PHONE:  03 9318 3898
OPEN HOURS:  Monday to Friday 7.30am – 4.30pm, Saturday 8am – 12 noon
WEBSITE:  www.timberrevival.com.au (under construction) or Facebook
SHOWROOM:  On site
Recycled and reclaimed Australian hardwoods and new FSC certified timber products. Flooring, cladding, internal lining, dressed timber, posts & beams, bench tops and tables.

Urban Salvage
ADDRESS:  190A Hall Street, Spotswood
PHONE:  03 9391 0466
OPEN HOURS:  Monday to Friday 7.30am – 4pm, Saturday 9am – 3pm
WEBSITE:  www.urbansalvage.com.au
SHOWROOM:  On site
Indoor, self-serve timber shop. Reclaimed floorboards, re-milled recycled timber, kiln-dried flooring, decking, dressed boards and posts.
Note: Timber lovers might enjoy the Timber Stories section of the website. You can also subscribe to ‘The Drum’ newsletter which features photos of recent design projects using Urban Salvage timbers, and a quick round-up of what’s in stock.

Nullarbor Timber
ADDRESS:  221 Kororoit Creek Road, Williamstown
PHONE:  03 9399 9300
OPEN HOURS:  Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm, Saturday 8.30am – 12 noon
WEBSITE:  www.nullarbortimber.com.au
SHOWROOM:  On site
Flooring, decking, structural and architectural timbers, bench tops and joinery, timber slabs.

Whelan/Delta’s Timber Warehouse
ADDRESS:  Shed 2, 577 Plummer Street, Port Melbourne
PHONE:  03 9644 8780
OPEN HOURS:  Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 1pm
WEBSITE:  www.recycledtimber.com.au
This partnership between residential and commercial demolition companies, Whelan the Wrecker and Delta Group, gives customers access to a huge range of recycled and remilled timber. If they don’t have it they may be able to source it for you. Custom machining service.

Eco Timber
ADDRESS:  418 Burnley Street, Richmond
PHONE:  03 9421 6866
OPEN HOURS:  Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 4pm
WEBSITE:  ecotimbergroup.com.au
SHOWROOM:  On site
New and recycled architectural timbers. Recycled timber for posts, beams, pergolas, bench tops.

LAL LAL nr. Ballarat
Lal Lal demolition
Lal Lal
Lot 30 Egleston Rd, Ballarat Forward VIC 3352
03 5341 7670

6 Wood St, Bendigo VIC 3550
03 5444 2728

1060 Betley Road
Dunolly, Victoria
Australia 3472
03 5468 1766

ADDRESS:  385 Portarlington Road, Moolap
PHONE:  03 5248 1223
OPEN HOURS:  Monday to Friday 7.30am – 4.30pm, Saturday 9am – 3pm
WEBSITE:  www.timberzoo.com.au
SHOWROOM:  On site – Flooring, decking, posts, beams, bridge and wharf timbers. Timberzoo specialise in Australian native hardwoods and have a recycled flooring showroom on site. Check out their ‘timber graveyard’ for landscaping projects.Note: Timberzoo also produce a good newsletter of current stock and inspiring design projects, and you’ll find bargain odds and ends packs on their ebay store.

ADDRESS:  988 Black Forest Drive, Woodend
PHONE:  03 5427 1566
OPEN HOURS:  Tuesday to Saturday 8am – 4pm
WEBSITE:  timbersearch.com.au

Suggestions for further listings are appreciated, please forward suggestions to Crosby Architects for consideration.