Review of, and recommendations for, research into preventing or ameliorating drying related internal and surface checking in commercially important hardwood species in south-eastern Australia

Checking—small surface cracks in timber—and cell collapse have long been recognised as problems in Australian native hardwoods. What causes them, how can they be prevented and how big a cost are these issues to modern industry?

The first part of this project surveyed mill operators in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania to quantify the extent and cost of the problem. In 2008, checking and collapse are estimated to have cost $9.8 million, out of an estimated total value of product produced by the mills of approximately $156 million.

The second part of the project reviewed the literature of research relevant to this problem. An industry workshop was conducted to obtain industry-wide agreement for future research strategies. The workshop recommended two objectives: identify the underlying properties or factors (predictors) that cause ‘checks’ and develop industrial tools to measure them reliably; and look to alternative industries, thought leaders, technologies to try and find the next big step in drying productivity.

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