In this section

We love our forests

Timber species

Forests and wood

Forestry resources

Forestry

Rewarewa

At times a very popular feature and furniture timber, rewarewa has excellent machining properties, and is a useful turnery timber, and for marquetry and inlays

It was also used as a boatbuilding trim to contrast kauri, and continues as a popular craft timber. Maori use the inner bark as a traditional medicine to heal wounds and check bleeding.

Description

Rewarewa A_90Rewarewa is a straight, slender tree with a very dark brown bark. Older trees have fissures in the bark of up to 1cm.

The tree grows through lowland and hill forests of the North island t an altitude of 1000m, and some pockets are also found in the Marlborough sounds.

Rewarewa grows to a height of up to 30m and a diameter of up to one metre.

The wood is easily identified by it’s speckled appearance, caused by darker red to purplish medullary rays through silvery pinkish sapwood.

The heartwood is darker purplish-brown. This makes it an attractive finishing timber when used in small proportions to contrast with other timbers.

For further information:

Botanical name: Knightia excelsia

Other common names: New Zealand honeysuckle or New Zealand bottlebrush

Strength: Very strong.

Durability: Though strong and tough, the heartwood is non-durable and the sapwood is still susceptible to Anobium borer attack.

Finishes: Not applicable.

Working properties: Rewarewa is very hard and machines well once seasoned, and can be readily peeled for veneer.Rewarewa should be worked with the grain, and can be easily sanded, planed and turned, although it does not hold a good edge and has a tendency for tear-out.

Appearance: The wood is easily identified by it’s speckled appearance, caused by darker red to purplish medullary rays through silvery pinkish sapwood. The heartwood is darker purplish-brown.

Properties

The tree also has low-susceptibility to fire and the timber is slow-burning, due to a high water-content. The timber also has excellent acoustic properties.

Rewarewa is tough and hardwearing, and the darker rays offer ‘skid-resistance’ to the surface. The timber rays cause it to have high tangential shrinkage of 10.2% from green to 12 percent moisture content, and radial shrinkage of 4.1% .

The core timber is prone to distortion, so only the outer timbers are useful for timber finishing purposes. It is non-durable in the ground.

Rewarewa is very hard and machines well once seasoned, and can be readily peeled for veneer. Rewarewa should be worked with the grain, and can be easily sanded, planed and turned, although it does not hold a good edge and has a tendency for tear-out.

Rewarewa has density of 740kg/m3, is very strong, with a modulus of rupture of 125 MPa and exceptionally stiff, with a modulus of elasticity of 18.3 GPa. Though strong and tough, the heartwood is non-durable and the sapwood is still susceptible to Anobium borer attack.

Availability
Limited supplies may be available. Refer to the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association website for information regarding local timber suppliers.