Sawn Timber and Rotary Veneer Processing and Grade Recovery Investigation of Northern Australian Plantation Grown African Mahogany

Robert L. McGavin, John McGrath, Chris Fitzgerald, Chandan Kumar, Chris Oliver, Alex Lindsay


Over half of the large African mahogany plantation estate in northern Australia has reached the mid-point of the target rotation length of 20 to 25 years. As such, there is increasing interest in understanding the potential volume and grade qualities recovered from these young trees using different processing methods. The objective of this study was to compare the recovery rates and product grade quality for rotary veneer using spindleless lathe technology and sawn boards using traditional sawing techniques. Net veneer recovery ranged between 42% and 55% of log volume, with most veneers being limited to D-grade. Compression, surface roughness, and grain breakout were the most prominent defects limiting veneer grade. The sawn-dried-dressed recovery was low, with less than 20% of the log volume representing a potential saleable product. The small log diameter combined with defects including wane, heart shake, pith, and knots reduced the potential recovery. A high presence of sawn board distortion was observed that negatively impacted the efficiency of sawn timber processing along with product recovery. While low, the recovery of veneers and sawn timber from young African mahogany was like other young plantation grown hardwoods.


African mahogany; Plantation; Sawn timber; Rotary veneer; Recovery; Grade quality

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