Wall panelling

Can timber wall panelling be applied directly onto plastered walls?

Traditionally wall panelling has been produced in 12mm (0.5 inch) thickness to varying widths in a range of tongue and groove (T&G) profiles. In this semi structural format, it was normally applied to the timber framing and not directly onto plasterboard.

This is fine in a new build situation. In renovation projects where plasterboard is already in situ, it would be advantageous to apply wall panelling directly onto plasterboard. Providing the plasterboard is dry and appropriate adhesives are chosen, this is quite acceptable.

Necessity has yet again been the mother of invention; driven by the demands of composite marine technology, we are now producing wall panelling and flooring 3 to 4mm in thickness and a similar range of widths. Such products can be applied to a range of sub striates, again with the correct choice of adhesives. This methodology is time and dollar efficient, easy to install and which respects the wonderful resource we are using.

What about laminated, solid timber bench tops?

We regularly receive enquiries from people renovating kitchens vanities, tables, etc. These customers have functional but aesthetically dated surfaces manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s from products we no longer live with comfortably.

Many of us would love to have a wonderful, solid timber bench tops but simply cannot afford the expense. Historically, kitchen renovations meant discarding old work surfaces and replacing them with solid timber bench tops. We are now producing laminated bench tops 6mm (0.25 inch) thick that can be suitably adhered to the existing work surface. A front mould can be applied to further create the appearance of a thick solid timber bench top. This provides an efficient, economical and lasting solution and can be applied to a whole range surfaces, such as cabinet refacing and tabletops.


What species of timber is recommended for marine environments?
That depends on whether we are dealing with external or internal timber applications, above or below the water line, tropical or temperate climates. These factors have a major impact on the choice of timber.

Additionally, we have a diverse range of plastic/glass based coating and coverings to improve on the natural durability qualities of this timber.

This point, I believe is significant. So much literature from which we build timber projects often recommends timbers that are difficult and expensive to locate. Early designers based timber selection to a greater extent on passed-down knowledge of shipwrights and the timber available in the forest of their country.

The global knowledge and movement of timber today should incline modern designers to offer international timber selections. There are dozens of good publications to help you in such situations and we are delighted to suggest alternative timbers to suit the application.

Being aware of available timber species with similar characteristics, especially when used with modern coatings and coverings provides us with a more available and economical solution.

The nature of marine design often requires long lengths of timber and large end sections; again similar species/characteristics, in conjunction with coatings, allows the use of other species. In some instances the length and size as stipulated on plans is simply unavailable, in which case we have consider methods of manufacturing via laminating and scarfing.

The subject in question is both diverse and interesting. Keep checking back to this page for further updates on this subject.

Laminated – applied to members that are built up to the required sizes by several thin layers or parallel sections.

Scarfing – scarf joints are the strongest type of glued end joint because the length of scarf reduces the weakening effect of butted end grain. The flatter the slope, the stronger the join: a slope of 1 in 12 could give a joint strength 85-90 per cent than that of the clear timber while a 1 in 5 slope reduces this to about 60 per cent. The slopes subject to compression should not be steeper than 1 in 5, to tension 1 in 10. The aim of low slop, small lands (the amount necessary end grain for machining purposes) and smooth and accurate surfacing is not easy to achieve in practice. The join needs very careful handling until the glue is cured.

Timber Characteristics

Alternatives to Teak (tectona grandis):
The wonderful qualities of Burmese Teak is well known to marine enthusiasts around the world – enviable work qualities, high resistance to movement and pleasant aesthetics still make it a number one choice for external applications. We all know the equation of supply and demand and the outcome when demand outstrips supply. With a good knowledge of Pacific Rim and African timbers we can suggest three other possibilities in lieu of teaks as follows:

White Beech (Gmelina) – Papua New Guinea, Coastal Rainforest North East Australia.
Classified as a hardwood with a similar density to teak – its naturally oily composition, stability and easy to work characteristics – have for generations made it an obvious choice. Although more blonde than the honey gold of teak, with prolonged exposure both timbers assume a distinguished silver-grey colouration.

Rosewood (Pterocarpus indicus) – Papua New Guinea
A medium-sized hardwood of scattered occurrence in south-east Asia and the Philippines. Heartwood can be either a golden brown or a dark blood-red. Similar density to teak, texture medium and grain variable and often highly figured. Durability classification 1 – excellent for all external applications. (Rupert has used Rosewood on his own Moreton Bay cruiser boat and it is proving to stand up to the harsh Queensland climate).

HOBBYIST or Non-Professional Timber Users

I’m avoiding the term amateur, as the quality of work and scale of some projects does not deserve such a humble category. Yesterday a retired gentleman came in for some timber suitable for a rocking horse base, he mentioned that he would be carving some of the structure and wondered what I may recommend. We kicked around several prospects, sharpened a chisel and eventually settled for Queensland Maple. During this process several photographs were offered showing both creativity and accurate work. In many ways these occasions provide me the most satisfaction.

Other ‘hobbyist’ walk into my office and describe the impending project they are researching; a 12 metre yacht, a dining table, chairs and a sideboard, a jewellery box, a guitar. It’s great to sit down and go through the design and work out just how this simple drawing can actually be built and then have a fossick around the facility to pick out some interesting stock. The finished products and photographs provides great feedback for our talented staff to see just what all those components became. It also allows us to learn about difficulties you may experience and discuss how we can provide a better service in the future – any form of feedback is welcomed.

We are happy to cater for small jobs as this is a good opportunity for us to use up short end stock. Our joinery shop allows us to split timber into ANY size you can imagine, so don’t be limited by traditional sizes.

We try to dovetail into your workshop and skill level by providing timber prepared to a point that you can complete the project in good style, for example, some customers will ask us to make up a table top, trim to size and put through our wide belt sander, to achieve a consistent flat surface which is very difficult to do at home. In this way you end up with a well built table and can be proud of your workmanship. There is nothing worse than a table top that is not flat and even. We transport kits all over Australia.


In many way we are all specialist users of timber, however, I suppose this section is designed for people who may make musical instruments, shooting bows, wood carvers, model makers, aeroplane makers, boat builders, Malibu surf boards etc.

Our wide range of stock provides us the opportunity of supplying to all these markets. We regularly cut thin (2mm) strips of Canadian Rock Maple for composite bow makers and musical instrument components, i.e. sound boards from Sikta Spruce and finger boards from Ebony or other hardwearing timbers. Builders of light aeroplanes appreciate the opportunity to pick through large stocks of clear grade Hoop Pine or Sikta Spruce.

Model makers have never seen such large sections of Balsa Wood, up to 11 feet long. The balsa is also used by builders of traditional Malibu surfboards and we regularly epoxy glue Malibu blanks with various configurations of stringers.

Wood carvers can choose between a range of suitable stock depending on skill level, Maple, Jelutong, Huon Pine and White Beech are amongst the favorites. We occasionally glue up very large blocks as seen in the photo – a block of Obeche 700mm square or 28 inches square – used in the production of the movie Peter Pan, filmed in 2002 on the Gold Coast.

Boat restoration and construction often requires well chosen stock to maximize the life of timber, not to mention some interesting components we are able to manufacture, anything from teak decks to bow sprits to complete timber boat kits.

We are fortunate indeed to have such a broad customer base, as this certainly means for very few dull moments in the factory and provides us all with a broad range of experience with timber, not to mention meeting so many other experienced users of timber from whom we can learn some new tricks.