Madrona Hardwood


Madrona, also known by its botanical name Arbutus menziesii (Ericaceae), is a versatile timber with a unique and attractive grain pattern. The heartwood is a light pink to pale red-brown, and can occasionally have deep red spots. The growth rings often form an irregular pattern, giving the wood an eye-catching texture. The fine grain is typically straight to irregular and has a fine, smooth, even texture. The sapwood is whitish to cream and can have a pinkish cast. Madrona is suitable for a variety of uses, including furniture, turnery, flooring and more. If available from sustainable and legal sources, Madrona is a great choice for woodworking projects.

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Also Called:
Arbuti Tree, Jarrito, Madrono, Arbutus, Coast Madrone, Pacific Madrone, Strawberry Tree, Manzanita,

Durability Notes:
Madrona is non durable and has very low natural resistance to decay but is moderately resistant to common furniture beetle and powder-post beetle. The sapwood is permeable to preservative treatment, but the heartwood is resistant.

The drying and seasoning of Madrona is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Madrona - it is very challenging to dry. When green it has a very high moisture content and this can lead to warping, checking, excessive shrinkage and collapse. If tension wood is present then uneven shrinkage can result. Madrona should be air-dried very slowly before kilning. Madrona is very stable in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Madrona is hard, tough and heavy. Madrona has a high crushing and bending strength, with medium resistance to shock loads and medium stiffness. Madrona works adequately with both hand and machine tools, giving a clean surface on planed and machined material. Madrona has a tolerable blunting effect on cutting edges. The wood turns, drills, nails, sands, screws and stains well and polishes to a high finish. Gluing can be challenging so correct glue and care is needed.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Turning, Carving, Veneer, Musical Instruments, Flooring, Boatbuilding

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about Madrona Wood

Is Madrona a hardwood or a softwood? Madrona is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Madrona hardwood or softwood? - Madrona is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Madrona family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Madrona? Madrona can be described as brown, dark red, red, orange

Is Madrona good for outdoor use? or is Madrona good for exterior use? Madrona is most suited for internal/interior use. Madrona should not be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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