Eucalyptus species can be alternative plantation species to Pinus radiata D.Don (radiata pine) for New Zealand. One promising high value use for eucalypts is laminated veneer lumber (LVL) due to their fast growth and high stiffness. This study investigated the suitability of Eucalyptus globoidea Blakely for veneer and LVL production.
Twenty-six logs were recovered from nine 30-year-old E. globoidea trees. Growth-strain was measured using the CIRAD method for each log before they were peeled into veneers. Veneer recovery, veneer splitting and wood properties were evaluated and correlated with growth-strain. Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) panels were made from eucalypt veneers only or mixed with radiata pine veneers to investigate the bonding performance of E. globoidea.
Veneers with no, or limited, defects can be obtained from E. globoidea. Veneer recovery (54.5%) correlated with growth-strain and was highly variable between logs ranging from 23.6% to 74.5%. Average splitting length in a veneer sheet was 3.01 m. There was a moderate positive association between splitting length and growth-strain (r = 0.73), but no significant association with wood stiffness (r = 0.27). Bond quality of LVL panels prepared using E. globoidea veneer and a phenol formaldehyde adhesive did not satisfy AS/NZ 2098.2.
Usable veneers for structural products could be obtained from E. globoidea at yields of up to 74.5%, but variation in the existing resource (which has not been genetically improved) was large. In particular, growth-strain reduced veneer recovery by splitting, largely independent of stiffness. The considerable variation in growth-strain and stiffness indicated a possibility for genetic improvement. Furthermore, a technical solution to improve bonding of E. globoidea veneers needs to be developed.