Know your timber type

Know your timber type



Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or an experienced carpenter, knowing the right timber to use for the job is an important part of any project. The beauty of natural timber is unrivalled, and Feast Watson’s range of interior and exterior stains, varnishes and oils are crafted to enhance the already unmistakable charm of a timber finish.

Here’s a quick guide to help you select the best timber for your job.

Spotted gum

This Australian hardwood is very dense and oily. Found in a range of brown colouring, spotted gum is commonly seen in both pale and dark varieties. Because of its oil content, Spotted Gum should be treated with Feast Watson Woodclean before use in any project. Look out for Spotted Gum in timber decking. It may also be sold as ‘mixed hardwood’.

Best used for: flooring, cladding, decking, fencing, landscaping, retaining walls and as structural timber.


Jarrah is another Australian hardwood with a distinctive dark red colour. It is tough and heavy, making it an ideal timber for high polishing. It accepts most timber finishing well.

Best used for: flooring, panelling, joinery, decking and furniture.

Brush Box

This Australian hardwood is a dense, pinkish grey to reddish-brown timber with a natural waxiness.

Best used for: interior flooring, furniture, cladding and fences.

Cypress Pine

Although Cypress Pine is classed as an Australian softwood, it is known to be hardy and durable. It varies in colour from pale yellow to shades of brown, with a fine, even texture — commonly with knot features. Cypress fine tends to be brittle, making it prone to fine surface checking, but it can be worked to a very high polish and takes most finishes well after de-oiling.

Best used for: structures, poles, flooring, panelling and decking.

Merbau (Kwila)

This durable timber is dark reddish-brown in colour. Due to high tannin content, Merbau may require repeat application of a cleaning product such as Feast Watson Woodclean before you coat it.

Best used for: decking, fences, flooring and panelling.


Oregon is a softwood that ranges from yellow-brown to pale red-brown in colour. This timber has a high resin content that can crystallise on the surface. Any resin crystals will need to be scraped off prior to coating.

Best used for: pergolas and structural framing.

Radiata Pine

A common plantation softwood that is suitable for interior use only, unless first treated with preservatives (ie. Treated Pine). It is pale yellow and is ideal for staining and liming colours.

Best used for: furniture, wall or ceiling lining boards


A golden brown Asian hardwood with a waxy or greasy feel.

Best used for: furniture, veneers and ship’s decking.

Treated Pine

Treated Pine is Radiata Pine that has been pressure treated with preservatives, making it more resistant to decay, termites and fungi. It is yellow in colour and must be completely dry before staining so as not to interfere with prior treatment it has received.

Best used for: decks, pergolas and fences.

Victorian Ash (Tasmanian Oak)

A blend of Australian hardwoods with colours varying from pale pink to pale yellow.

Best used for: interior applications like flooring, kitchen cupboards, wall panelling and furniture.

Western Red Cedar

This timber is easy to work with and readily accepts stains and coatings. Commonly from North America, Western Red Cedar is a softwood that is pale to dark brown. Left uncoated, the timber will weather and grey easily. If you want to slow the weathering process, prevent surface damage, or intend to coat this timber later, it is recommended to coat the timber upon delivery.

Best used for: window frames, garage doors and cladding.

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