Factors influencing the production of structural plywood in Tasmania, Australia from Eucalyptus nitens rotary peeled veneer
Harvested logs supplied from five fibre-managed Eucalyptus nitens plantation coupes with different growing environments were assessed for quality and stiffness. Billets extracted from the logs were rotary peeled for veneer. When averaged across the five coupes, 30% of veneer recovered could be used directly in structural plywood production and an additional 20–25% could be used after further processing. In visual assessment most veneer was assigned an Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/ NZS2269.0:2012 Quality D. Acoustic testing during processing showed veneer peeled from a drier and lower elevation coupe had significantly higher dynamic MOE values than veneer processed from logs harvested from wetter higher elevation coupes. To examine the utility of the E. nitens peeled veneer in the production of structural plywood, it was combined with veneer of a known higher stiffness, rotary peeled from regrowth forest Tasmanian oak species logs. Structural seven-ply panels were manufactured from the veneer prepared in three different ply arrangements. Mechanical testing of the panels in accordance with AS/NZS2269.0:2012 showed that an F17 target stress-grade panel product of 83% E. nitens and 17% Tasmanian oak species could be produced, if E. nitens veneer of higher stiffness were selected from veneer segregated by estimated dynamic Modulus of Elasticity value. Panels with 50% E. nitens and 50% Tasmanian oak veneer could be produced by selecting E. nitens veneer of lower stiffness after segregation. In the majority of panels tested stress-grade rating was limited by perpendicular bending strength. Outcomes from the study indicate that structural plywood can be manufactured using differing proportions of E. nitens veneer, rotary peeled from fibre-managed plantations, provided it can be segregated into stiffness categories and selected to achieve a target stress-grade.
Keywords: Eucalyptus nitens, modulus-of-elasticity, plantation, plywood, stress-grade, veneer