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Has anyone used Red Grandis lumber?4/7
I have a couple of suppliers offering the Red Grandis product for exterior use, and I am considering its possible use in exterior shutters and/or screen doors. My biggest concern would be stability in regards to twisting or warping. Does anyone have any experience with how this stuff holds up over time?
I see it is a Eucalyptus species, and I see it is plantation grown.
I have no direct experience with it. I do now believe that ring density is 100% what lads to stability and rot proofing. Unfortunately, that means old growth, larger, scarcer trees, of which there is a very limited supply.
Lyptus (similar species?) did not live up to the promotional marketing. I think it is noted for being less stable rather than more stable, in exterior situations. I am now selling WRCedar, VG for over $7.50 a b/f - nice stuff, but it is now twice what it was 7 years ago.
Accoya - acetic acid treated?
Where are we going to go?
We used it last year , we were disappointed . You are right it is eucalyptus . We found it to have lots of stress in it . We are sticking to Spanish cedar , sapele and cypress for our exterior millwork . It milled nicely through the molder , though
I did not realize this was eucalyptus, I have some experience with that, but in a interior application. My dilemma of course is keeping my stiles straight and true, they are usually 2" x 1 3/8" and average around 72" to 84" in shutter panels. Normally select cypress is my go to wood, very plentiful here in the southeast at reasonable prices. Unfortunately I have a lot of splits or cracks that open up after milling, causing extra labor and untimely repairs. I was hoping the Red Grandis was a possibility. I was quoted 2 x 12 WR cedar today at $9.00 a board foot. The heavy dimension probably had something to do with it, but I rip this stuff up pretty good as all my parts are fairly small, especially the louvers and stiles.
We tried Lyptus, another Eucalyptus. Machined OK but too many boards wanted to go crazy when ripped. It was promoted as plantation raised (green) and stable. Looks nice. Stuff grows really fast. Maybe the Red G is more stable. Can't hurt to make a few shutters as trail/test pieces. Let us know.
I was hoping to learn from someone else's mistakes, rather than foot the bill for my own. I just went thru that using extira on a order of raised panel shutters, but that turned out alright, so far.
I try and stay away from WR Cedar as much as possible. The wood now available does not have the rot resistance one expects due to the smaller trees.
It is my understanding that the oils build in the wood over the lifetime of the tree. With the old growth WR Cedar long gone that leaves us with wood from younger trees that haven't yet developed full rot resistance in the wood.
I've seen this first hand with the deterioration of WR Cedar products in the New England environment. Perhaps Dr. Wengert will chime in here with his knowledge on the subject.
B.H., I am seeing the same thing in reduced rot resistance of the cypress. Some lumber coming in better than others, but overall it is noticeable and I can tell just in the 25 years I have been using it. I am in cypress country too, where they are logging within 25 miles of my shop. An interesting thing I see is I can hardly get any locally, mainly due to the lack of kilns in this area and I only use kiln dried. Another factor is we had a lot of rain over the last few years making the river bottoms here inaccessible. Fortunately my drop delivery fees from 200 miles away are the same as the yards within 50 miles.
We started using Red Grandis about 4 years ago. It has become our "standard" material for exterior doors, fixed louvre shutters, and windows. We started using it because we were disappointed in the younger growth Spanish cedar and cypress. For applications where longevity is required we use Accoya.
I've lost count of the number of windows and doors we have made with it and we are yet to receive a call back.
Other posters have commented on stress, but we have found it to be straight and true.
Our experience is wholly positive so I'm wondering if the Red Grandis our distributor gets is slightly different?
I don't think you will be disappointed.
I use it and reccomend it in place of African Mahogany when the customer agrees. I only make cabinet doors so no experience with exterior use. It is a night and day difference as far as color uniformity, and movement.
Red Grandis is name that is a registered TM. The Latin name is Eucalyptus grandis. The species grows in South American, Australia and West Africa, often in plantations. It is fast growing with 23' height in one year sometimes. Usually, it is straight grained, with no big tendency to warp IF NOT from the juvenile core...first 15 rings. Some is, and that is where the bad experience comes from.
The product, or rather the brochure being presented is stating this is the South American product from Uruguay. The information does also state that they are using techniques to achieve yields within a 20 year growing cycle. Sounds like fast growth in such a short time frame would leave a less than desirable product. I ordered a small quantity today for testing and experimenting.
Thanks Gene. But "with no big tendency to warp IF NOT from the juvenile core...first 15 rings. Some is, and that is where the bad experience comes from."
If they are harvesting @ 20 years, 20 rings! Doesn't that make the plantation wood pretty prone to problems? Lyptus was promoted the same way, big trees in 20 years. I think Lyptus is also a trade mark.
Although "15 years" is a rule of thumb, a 20 year old plantation tree is indeed likely to be mostly juvenile wood, so indeed warp is more likely. But read on...
Lyptus is a trade name for wood from a tree that is a hybrid of Eucalyptus grandis and E. urophylla. Some trees are harvested in 15 years.
Warp does happen from time to time in all species of wood and is more likely the closer the lumber is to the pith of the log. This is a general statement. At the same time, appreciate that all warp only occurs when the MC changes, so if we can minimize MC changes by proper drying to the correct final MC, we will minimize and/or eliminate warp in use, unless the humidity of the environment varies a lot. For this reason, it is prudent to ALWAYS CHECK THE MC of all species using a good moisture meter, following the meter's instructions precisely- -"good" means over $200 and made in USA. In many or most cases, the in-use MC of wood in a home or office will average 6.8% MC, so being at that value, plus or minus 1%, is quite reasonable and will indeed eliminate warping in use, etc. problems; "bad press" happens when the lumber is not at this low MC level! But is used anyway.
Do not believe a sales person or a shipping invoice. Check the MC yourself. If I offered you an insurance policy to protect yourself against warp that cost $200 or so, would you buy it? That is what checking with a moisture meter is all about.
We only used Lyptus for a couple of jobs. The problem was mostly due to our inability to get a straight rip on many of the boards. We checked moisture with a meter and it tended to be in the 7%+- range. It was only in the shop for a few days before being processed. Some of it worked fine but way too many boards just went wild coming off the SL rip saw. Reaction wood doesn't seem likely in plantation grown stock. Bad storage before we got it? All lumber here is kept inside the shop.
I like the look of it, the density, it mostly molded nice, good sizes. So what's not to like? Would be great to make wooden pretzels.
Red Grandis is indeed a trade name for Eucalyptus Grandis. There are some 600+ subspecies of Eucalyptus. Lyptus is a hybrid of two species of Eucalyptus and its properties vary depending on the density of the wood. That is true of any species, so it is important to look for color consistency as much as possible. That will be a good guide for density and that will be a good guide for stability. That certainly is not the only way. We have traded in Eucalyptus Grandis (Red Grandis) for 10 years. It is a very good product for consistency in color and stability over all. That does not mean that there may have been some at some point dried improperly. We also have documentation on exterior testing done in a UK lab that categorizes Red Grandis similar in exterior properties to African Mahogany. No wood is perfect, but this is a nice species. It has a mahogany type grain, light weight, low Janka rating, machines well, glues well, MC consistent. It is definitely worth trying. It has great appeal as far as sustainability. One steady source we use is FSC certified. This is grown in a grassland state and not tropical. Try that on for size against African Mahogany and Spanish Cedar!
"Do not believe a sales person" How can you say that! :-)
When we rip a piece of lumber and the two pieces are not straight right after we cut them, there are three possible causes. It is not easy to tell which cause is the correct one in a specific instance, but we can make a pretty good guess.
The three causes are:
2. Casehardening (also called drying stress and tension set) in the lengthwise direction. This develops due to lengthwise shrinkage in drying and is again common in the first 15 years of growth. However, the stress is uniform from left to right edges, so when fingers are cut (DHL, p. 102), the deviation will be uniform (mirror images), left to right. Note that the prong test for stress where the sample is in the shape of the letter "U" is not appropriate for lengthwise stress; the longitudinal stress sticks are correct.
3. Moisture gradient. We do see more lengthwise shrinkage in the wood from the first 15 years of growth than from later wood; later wood is often zero shrinkage. So, if a piece of lumber has an edge that is drier than the core, there will be attempted shrinkage of the edge prior to ripping, which will cause the ripped pieces to bend toward the edge; and then there will be bending over time toward the core as the wetter core shrinks. In this case, the fingers (p.102) will move after cutting.
Thank you all for the posts this was very informative and impartial.