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Like to know what wood to use building a pergola or framing a barn? How about the difference between tung oil and polyurethane as a floor finish? How to revive decking or deal with merbau stains? Or how to meet the building code or bushfire standards? Or ask about the environmental advantages of wood or forest certification?

Q. I am looking for a manufacturer of marine ply in Australia. I know of Boral in Queensland, but can you suggest any other manufacturers who manufacture from Australian plantations?

Austral Plywoods in Brisbane manufacture Marine Grade plywood from plantation-grown hoop pine. You can phone their sales department on (07) 3426 8666.

Q. I have worked from a home base in NZ doing core sample, wood density. Is it possible to do this job in the Brisbane area. I have recently moved here to be with family and looking for employment. I have a cert in Understanding Wood also.

We suggest you contact the Queensland Government's Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries (DPI). They have a website at If you go to the Forests & Wood menu on the left-hand side of the page and click on "Training & Jobs" you will find some information that might be helpful.

Q. Hi,I am from Westmead Parramatta NSW, my Father is in a timber industry near Mumbai in India, we have our Saw Mill and I was interested to know more about doing the export of Australian wood to India and see if I can start some business in this direction. Any guidance you can give me?

Pine is the most abundant timber in Australia and you might want to contact one of the major producers to see whether they have enough volume available to export. For a list of pine producers, visit the Australian Plantation Products & Paper Industry Council's website at and click on the tab that says "About A3P" and then select "A3P Members".

Q. I am considering to build a timber house for my first home. Could you please recommend a good timber house builder in Melbourne?

Farm Houses of Australia build timber houses in a range of styles. Don't be put off by the name - their houses are high quality and you don't have to live on a farm! You can visit their website at to view examples of their work. For details about other builders familiar with timber construction, we suggest you contact the Timber Merchants Association in Melbourne on (03) 9875 5000. Members of the TMA should be familiar with companies that build timber homes.

Q. Our son has read that Yew was the traditional timber for bows - a European hardwood, I believe. Can you tell us what the equivalent would be in Australian native timber (alternatively, where we might source Yew)? And are there workshops for making bows?

Technically yew is a softwood, although a relatively hard one, but it is unlikely to be available through the timber trade. You might find it stocked by companies specialising in archery equipment, but we feel they are more likely to be importing ready-made bows. There are other suitable timbers - for example, the Australian species silver ash, or the true ash species (Fraxinus) from England or America. Whatever wood is used, it is essential for it to be straight-grained along the full length of the bow. We don't know of any bow-making workshops, but there are many archery clubs in the capital cities, eg. Melbourne has the Moorabbin Archery Club, the Waverley City Archers, and so on. One would expect their members to know more about bow-making and the availability of suitable timbers.

Q. Are you able to provide me a list of wholesalers or retailers that supply sandalwood in NSW area? Hope you can help. Thank you.

If you just want a small quantity of sandalwood for hobby purposes Trend Timbers in Sydney might be able to help. If you wanted a larger quantity, the Western Australian government's Forest Products Commission (FPC) has been active in managing the State's sandalwood industry. The FPC is responsible for commercial harvesting, marketing and developing the sandalwood industry in Western Australia. We suggest you contact the FPC for further information. You can phone the FPC on (08) 9729 2888, and you can download a brochure about WA sandalwood from

Q. I'm chasing somewhere that might be able to supply me with Canadian rock maple veneer with a thickness of between 1 and 2mm for use in skateboard manufacture, preferably in Queensland.

Plenty of veneer merchants stock rock maple, but your requirement is thicker than usual and that might make it difficult to source. Briggs in Sydney stock this thickness specially for skateboard manufacture, but we don't know of other suppliers. We can only suggest you try one of the major veneer merchants with a branch in your State, such as Amerind, Laminex, etc. For contact details, visit the Decorative Wood Veneers Association's website at

Q. Please advise if you know anyone who’d be interested in building a tree-house in a large camphor laurel in Chatswood NSW.

We don't have sufficient local knowledge to recommend contractors in your area, nor do we have the resources to monitor their standard of work, so we will have to leave it to you to find someone suitable. A good starting point would be to contact people who build cubby houses. You can find some names on the net by writing "cubby house Sydney" in your browser.

Q. Are you able to provide me with a list of persons or companies that provide a service of re-veneering table tops in the Sydney area - hope you can help.

We suggest you contact Sydney Office Furniture on (02) 9736 2700. Their boardroom tables are locally made and it is possible one of their manufacturers could help. It might be a good starting point if you could email a photo of your table to Sydney Office Furniture. You would also need to be sure it's a natural wood veneer, not a wood-grain laminate that is on the table.

Q. I am looking for a new timber supplier in Queensland. Looking for softer hardwood, e.g. Mountain Ash. Must be KD hardwood, dressed for furniture frame making, standard to select. Some small knots now and then ok but cleaner is always better.

We do not have sufficient local knowledge to direct you to a supplier of specific types of timber. However, you could contact Timber Queensland and see whether they can point you in the right direction. Their phone number is (07) 3254 1989.


Did you know?

Australia’s native forests, timber plantations and wood products are net absorbers of greenhouse gases, sequestering 56.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005, reducing Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 10%.