Myrtle Hardwood


Myrtle wood (Umbellularia californica) is a versatile timber, featuring a pale brown sapwood and a rich golden-brown to yellowish-green heartwood. The grain is typically straight, but can often be wavy or irregular, and is close, compact and smooth. The wood has a medium and firm texture, with conspicuous mid-layer rays and a medium gloss. Myrtle wood is also known for its attractive figure. It is commonly used for furniture, cabinetmaking, flooring and much more.

Myrtle wood is a great choice for a variety of projects due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. It is a sustainable and legal source, making it an ideal choice for environmentally conscious projects. With its distinctive colour and texture, Myrtle wood is sure to make a statement in any home or office.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Acacia, Bay Laurel, Baytree, California Laurel, Oregon Myrtle, Mountain Laurel, Pacific Myrtle, California Olive, Pepperwood, Spice Tree

Durability Notes:
Myrtle wood is moderately durable

The drying and seasoning of Myrtle 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; Myrtle - the wood will check and warp during drying if care is not taken. Myrtle is sometimes submerged in water to effect colour changes in the drying process. Myrtle is relatively stable to use. 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.

Myrtle is heavy, hard-wearing and resilient. The wood can be challenging wood to work and has a rapid blunting effect on cutting edges. Myrtle is prized by wood turners for its excellent turning properties.

Typical Uses:
furniture, cabinets, musical instruments, flooring, carving, veneer, boatbuilding.

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

Commonly asked questions about Myrtle Wood

Is Myrtle a hardwood or a softwood? Myrtle is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Myrtle hardwood or softwood? - Myrtle 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 Myrtle 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 Myrtle? Myrtle can be described as brown, dark red, orange

Is Myrtle good for outdoor use? or is Myrtle good for exterior use? Myrtle is most suited for interior/interior use. Myrtle can 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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