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Bimble box

Scientific name

Eucalyptus populnea. Family: Myrtaceae

Local names

Poplar box

Description and natural occurrence

Trees often up to 20 m tall. Bark lightly grey to dark grey, rough, fibrous and persistent on the lower branches: typical 'box-type' bark.

Widespread and abundant in drier areas of the east coast, ranging from Hay in New South Wales, north to Rockhampton with 20-30oS. Found on a variety of soils and commonly found on red loams of light texture. It will also grow on black soil plains.

Wood appearance

Colour. Pale brown to dark brown, possibly depending on the soil type and water availability.

Grain. Wavy figure.

Texture. Fine.

Wood properties

Density. 1090 kg/m3 at 12 % moisture content; approximately 0.74 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.

Strength groups. (S2) unseasoned; (SD2) seasoned.

Stress grades. F11, F14, F17, F22 (unseasoned), F17, F22, F27, F34 (seasoned), when visually stress graded in accordance with AS 2082-2000, Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes.

Joint groups. JD1 seasoned.

Shrinkage to 12% moisture content. Tangential 4.0% and longitudinal 2.8%.

Unit shrinkage. Not available.

Durability above-ground. Class 1 - life expectancy > over 40 years.

Durability in-ground. Class 1 - life expectancy over 25 years.

Lyctine susceptibility. Untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctine borer attack.

Termite resistance. Not resistant.

Seasoning. Dries slowly with little degrade.

Hardness. Class 1, very hard (rated 1 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining. Unknown.

Fixing. Wood is somewhat fissile, so exercise care when using standard fittings and fastenings.

Gluing. Satisfactory.

Finishing. Will readily accept paint, stain and polish.


Engineering and construction. Fence posts and rails, used in musical instrument making such as xylophones and bagpipes.

Decorative. Bush furniture.

Others. Fuel wood, carbon opportunities, charcoal.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood. Paler and distinct from heartwood.

Heartwood. Generally deep red but may be lighter in younger material.

Texture. Uniform, coarse grain, often interlocked. An occasional tight gum vein.

Wood structure

Growth rings. Generally absent, but some specimens may tend to show vessels arranged in zones.

Vessels. Medium size, solitary, distributed in a diffuse pattern. Vessel lines conspicuous on longitudinal surfaces. Contains frequent tyloses and dark-red gum deposits.

Parenchyma. Variable in amount, not abundant; diffuse and paratracheal.

Rays. Fine, visible only with a lens.

Other features

Burning splinter test. A match size splinter burns to charcoal without ash.

Further reading

Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, 'Forest trees of Australia', 5th edn, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Australia.

Bootle, K 2005, 'Wood in Australia: types, properties and uses', 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill, Sydney.

Hopewell, G (ed.) 2006, 'Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland, Class 1 and Class 10 buildings', books 1 and 2, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.

Ilic, J 1991, 'CSIRO atlas of hardwoods', Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.

Standards Australia, 2000, 'AS 2082-2000: Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes', Standards Australia.