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Tasmanian sassafras Atherosperma moschatum

VERSATILE AUSTRALIAN SOFTWOOD THAT CAN BE BLACK OR WHITE
Sassafras is one of the most common lumbers in Australia, and is used extensively for furniture, interior trim and woodturning. The name sassafras is used for various unrelated species, including American sassafras (Sassafras albidurn), which is prized for its flavorful rootbark. Tasmanian sassafras has some similarities to birch (Betula species) and alder (Alms species), and is used for the same range of utility purposes. It is slightly harder and heavier than those North American species. Easy to work and finish, it is also reported to be stable. Initially tan or gray, the heartwood can turn black if it decays, and there have been reports of foresters intentionally injuring trees in order to encourage such staining.

KEY CHARACTERISTICS

Type Temperate hardwood
Other names Australian sassafras, black sassafras, white sassafras
Sources Australia
Color Pale tan or gray, with some darker staining and streaks. Decayed wood turns black.
Texture Fire and even, but slightly fibrous
Grain Straight, and hardly noticeable
Hardness Medium
Weight Medium (37 lb./cu. ft.) (590 kg/cu. m)

AVAILABILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
Sassafras is very common in Australia, but not often imported to North America. There are no signs of sassafras being vulnerable. Blackened sassafras is likely to be more expensive than the white variety.




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Updated: 08/2017   copyright 2011 Rowecraft