Building Cabinets with Lyptus

Cabinetmakers discuss the machining qualities and other characteristics of Lyptus (Eucalyptus) wood, and its suitability for cabinet construction. April 6, 2007

I am going to be building kitchen cabinets (face frame) out of Lyptus. I will be outsourcing the doors and drawer fronts but will be finishing them and the face frames and finished ends. Interiors will be pre-finished maple (Nova). I have never used Lyptus before and am wondering if there is anything special I need to know about this wood. I build my face frames with pocket screws and finish with an oil base polyurethane.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor B:
I just finished my first lyptus job. The stuff is heavy and hard. Had some problems with splitting on the face frames when the screws went in, but really nothing major. I had to clamp the face frames before screwing them together because the screws actually pushed the joint apart, rather than drawing it together. The stuff finishes beautifully. Never any grain raising at all. But watch out for splinters! The stuff is ruthless in that department!

From contributor J:
Were you using the very fine threaded screws? If not, they make a fine thread hardwood pocket screw just for that reason. Only a thought.

From contributor B:
Yes, they were fine threads. I've never seen anything like it. It actually pushed the stile away when the screw hit it until I clamped everything together. Could not get the usual face frame clamps (vise grip type) tight enough to keep stuff from sliding around. I had a few rails split just a little from the screws, but nothing major.

From contributor A:
I've worked with Lyptus several times and can say this.
1. Keep sharp blades and cutters and plan on tossing them.
2. Pre-drill for pocket holes with a tapered bit.
3. Get the wood in advance, stack and sticker it, and moisture test it! I've yet to get a batch under 18% and if you get what I've been getting, it will shrink… a lot!
4. If they want a consistent color, dye stain, xylene wiping stain, then tinted lacquer. In natural it has a huge color variation, similar to African mahogany.