About White Cypress
White Cypress is a commonly used timber for a variety of different applications including framing, fencing, cladding and playground equipment. It is commonly found throughout Victoria, western New South Wales and central western Queensland.
While White Cypress is a softwood, it is one of the most durable timbers available. The term ‘hardwood’ or ‘softwood’ refers to its botanical features, rather than its strength or hardness. It generally thought that hardwood is harder, but this is not always the case. Take Balsa Wood for example, which is a hardwood and very soft, while White Cypress is a softwood, and yet very durable. Proof of this is that many of our timber playgrounds installed 15 to 20 years ago are still standing strong!
The heartwood of White Cypress ranges in colour from light yellow to light brown, and has brown streaks. While it does have a straight, fine grain, it has tight knots that give it a distinctive look. Natural White Cypress weathers to a rustic silver-grey colour, however, surface coatings and stains are available to enhance and maintain the beauty of fresh Cypress.
White Cypress is sourced solely from sustainable yield harvesting areas, and because of its natural durability, it is not treated with harmful chemicals.
Advantages for Playground Construction
A primary reason White Cypress is so popular for playground manufacture is due to its durability. The timber contains a natural resin which contributes to its impressive durability and is what give the timber its distinctive odour. For applications above ground, its life expectancy is over 40 years and 25 years for in ground applications. This is well above the generally expected 10 to 15 year life span of a timber playground, even given the amount of use by the children running, swinging and bouncing across every day!
Easy to Work With
White Cypress is a firm timber (rated 4 on a 6-class scale in relation to both indentation and hand tooling), which means it provides the perfect balance between flexibility to work with and longevity. As it can be easily machined and finished, it allows playgrounds to be simply customised and installed at a more economical cost than other timbers.
It is important to remember that timber is a natural product and will always shrink or warp in some way or another. However, compared to many commonly used timbers, White Cypress has very low shrinkage rate. This works to the playground owner’s advantage, because it minimises the number of loose fasteners and sharp edges or splinters caused by movement in the timber.
Overall, timber proves to be an excellent material for constructing playground equipment, due to its aesthetic appeal, the way it can connect us with nature and its construction flexibility. While adventure+ primarily uses White Cypress, we have completed projects that include Spotted Gum and Ironbark, to suit specific client needs.
Comparison to Other Common Timbers
Below is a comparison of main characteristics of three common timbers