This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
A small tree, about 50 ft. high, and 18 in. thick in stem. "Wood, a yellowish-brown colour and close grained, very durable for fencing and piles. Common throughout New Zealand. Makes a very handsome furniture wood.
Hinoki (Retinospora obtusa) enjoys the highest repute in Japan for building purposes. The tree grows with amazing rapidity and vigour, and its wood is used almost exclusively for the structure and furniture of the temples, generally unvarnished. It gives a beautifully white even grain under the plane, and withstands damp so well that thin strips are used for roofing and last a hundred years. The wood is soft enough to take the impression of the finger nail.
Notwithstanding that the wood is remarkable for its close grain, even texture, and consequent strength, it is seldom used for structural purposes. To a certain extent this is attributable to the tree not usually growing to a very large size, and also to the fact that when it does it is liable to become shaky. Hornbeam has of late been much more largely used in this country than formerly, it having been found to be peculiarly adapted for making lasts used by bootmakers. This wood being sent to this country in considerable quantities from France, led to the discovery that it was being used almost exclusively for the above purpose, and that it was imported in sacks, each containing a number of small blocks, in shape of the rough outline of a last. The advantage over other woods, and even over beech, which has hitherto been considered the best wood for last-making, is that, after the withdrawal of nails, the holes so made close up, which is not the case with most other woods. The wood is white and close, with the medullary rays well marked, and no sapwood. Under vertical pressure, the fibres double up instead of breaking.
It stands exposure well.
An ornamental, slender, and sparingly branched tree. The wood is close-grained and tough. Common in forests throughout New Zealand.
A small, slender, evergreen tree, very handsome. Wood very ornamental in cabinet-work, making handsome veneers. Grows abundantly in forests throughout New Zealand.
This rugged tree is found in most parts of the Australian continent, frequently reaching 100-150 ft. high and 3-6 ft. diam., the usual market logs being 20-40 ft. long and 12-18 in. sq. Its wood is straight-grained, very dense, heavy, strong, and durable, but very difficult to work. It is liable to be shaky, and can only be employed with advantage in stout planks or large scantlings. Its weight is 64 1/2 1b. a cub. ft.; crushing-force, 9921 lb.; breaking-weight, 1000 lb. It forms one of the hardest and heaviest of the Australian woods, and is highly prized by the coachmaker and wheelwright for the poles and shafts of carriages and the spokes of wheels. Its greasy nature also renders it serviceable for the cogs of heavy wheels, and it is valued for many purposes in ship-building.