Tasmania’s Huon pine timber is highly prized for its stunning creamy yellow colour, ultra fine grain, lightweight-ness and its natural oils that resist rotting. Huon pine timber can have an attractive growth / grain anomaly known as birds eye where tiny knots in the grain resembling small bird’s eyes are present. Birds eye is generally caused by the tree being subjected to unfavourable growing conditions. When a tree attempts to start new buds to get more sunlight, poor growing conditions sometimes mean new shoots are aborted, this growth stop leaves tiny dark coloured knots in the timber.
The Huon pine is Australia's oldest living tree and reputedly, one of the oldest living organisms on earth. Several Huon pine trees have been known to grow up to 30 metres tall with fossil records dating some Huon pine trees at 3,462 years. (Carder A., 1995.)
Huon pine is endemic to Tasmania, meaning it grows naturally in Tasmania and nowhere else and grows at a very slow rate of between 0.3 – 2 mm per year in diameter and take about 500 years to reach maturity. Despite their slow growth Huon pines have been recorded at reaching grande heights of 40 m with a buttress that would take the arm spans of 3-4 people to encircle.
The early 1800’s saw much Huon pine timber cut and sawn into frames and planks to build ships for the Government. Felled Huon pine logs were floated down the rivers to mills in such places such as Strahan. Interestingly Huon pine is one of the few native timbers that floats when green.
The conservation of Huon pine trees is vital though the species itself is not considered threatened as 90% are protected in reserves and the felling of living trees is illegal. Extensive logging in the past has removed nearly all large trees, and much of the logging was in areas slated for flooding due to hydroelectric development and has been stockpiled. Currently usage rate of stock piled timber is about 500 m3/yr, with the supply expected to last 50 years (Timber Research Unit 2007). Trees destroyed by mining, fires and from the original logging period supply is available under strict licensing arrangements.
Huon pine is highly durable due to the presence of methyl eugenol, an essential oil which gives Huon pine a unique odour. The oil has preservative qualities and deters insect attack. Huon pine is excellent for building boats, furniture, cabinetry, turning and carving. The timber is easy to work with and takes a high polish.
Huon is a real joy turn on the lathe, it cuts like butter and polishes to a high sheen with a distinctive and pleasant smell. You can see our range of beautiful Huon pine pens linked below. If a pen style is not listed as available in Huon pine, we’d be delighted to turn you a custom pen in the style of your choice, please contact us for a custom order.