TIDE Timber Guide

December 2019

TIDE timber selection – the in’s an out’s…

When choosing a piece of furniture for your home there are a lot of variables to consider – design, size, material and finish to name but a few.

Here at TIDE we love working with natural timbers – it’s our material of choice – and to assist in choosing between timbers, here is a brief guide that highlights the particular features and traits of each species that we use.

Decisions decisions....

Over the years our standard timber selection here at TIDE has been refined into 5 species. There have been a few pre-requisites in the selection process, and these are as follows:

The timber must be:

  • Sourced from sustainably managed forests;
  • Of a high quality furniture grade quality – in terms of workability, longevity and durability;
  • Beautiful in terms of character, colour and grain, and;
  • Must tie in with the TIDE aesthetic.

The five species we selected fall within these requirements and here are a few more details individually.

American White Oak


American White Oak is our most popular timber – and it’s very close sibling, European Oak, has been a very popular furniture timber for centuries.

The current prolonged popularity of American White Oak is largely due it’s aesthetic appeal, given it’s mid-brown tone and strong grain, and also the high level of durability – it is a very hard timber.

American Oak also takes stain/colour really well, and this brings out the striking grain. This is true even of our Ebony finish which is almost completely black – but given the nature of Oak’s strong and open grain these patterns are still present even with such a dark finish.

Given it’s neutral colour and stain-ability we offer American Oak in a range of stain options. Please refer to our Materials and Finishes page here:

In terms of a carbon footprint with consideration given to the long journey to Australia, the “carbon stored in U.S. hardwood at point of delivery to any country in the world almost always exceeds the carbon emissions associated with extraction, processing and transport.” (American Hardwood Export Council website).


The Tasmanian Oak used by us at TIDE is a species of Eucalypt sourced and milled in Tasmania.

This is a point worth noting as often the name Tasmanian Oak is associated with a myriad of Eucalypt species from a range of regions (predominantly Victoria).

The Tasmanian Oak we use tends to be denser and therefore heavier than the Victorian species (otherwise known as Victorian Ash), and can also tend to be slightly darker in colour.

The colour of Tasmanian Oak tends to be pale straw to light brown in colour and can often have a pinkish tinge. Over time this colour will deepen and we have found that the pink tones tend to turn attractive rich oak colour.

The majority of Tasmanian Oak is ‘quarter’ cut. This along with the tall and straight nature of the trees results in a very straight grain present in every board – this results in a very clean aesthetic that lets the lines of the piece of furniture speak for themselves. A good example of this is out Tana shelf (below).

While not as hard and heavy as American Oak, Tasmanian Oak is considered to be a medium hardness timber with the advantage of being very stable.



Also know as Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) it is a hardwood known for its rich, dark brown color and attractive grain pattern. It is valued for its durability, workability, and the distinct aesthetic qualities it brings to various applications.

A native American hardwood, American Walnut, is a premium furniture and cabinet making timber and is known for its rich chocolate brown heartwood colour. Heartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Color can sometimes have a grey, purple, or reddish cast. Sapwood is pale yellow-gray to nearly white. The texture of American Walnut timber is fine and the timber has a generally straight grain, sometimes displaying an attractive curly or wavy grain pattern. The dark heartwood will lighten in colour as it ages overtime with exposure to UV light.

American Walnut is great to work with due it’s medium density and predictable grain and it gives off a pleasant sweet scent in the production process.

In terms of sustainability Walnut is one of the few species that is planted as well as re-generated naturally and according to the American Hardwood Export Council is takes 6.84 seconds to 1 cubic metre!


The name of our fourth species ‘Tasmanian Blackwood’ is somewhat misleading as the timber is never black, but instead variety of colours ranging from light golden-brown to deep brown with a reddish hue. It will occasionally have some black streaks and maybe this is where the name originates.

We introduced Blackwood into our range, as we wanted to offer a mid-dark brown local species, without the strong red usually associated with Australian furniture timber species.

The Blackwood we use is sourced from sustainably managed forests in Tasmania and the tree itself is a fast growing species that establishes itself all the way from low lying areas to higher slopes and occasionally mountain tops.

It is easy to work with and is a strong and stable timber with a colour palette and grain that makes it quite unique.

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