Large Solid Timber Sections: Abodo Vulcan vs Hardwood

How do the two compare? We discuss stability, movement, leaching and weight.

Maintenance concerns and fire protocol have created a shift in where we use timber, from timber cladding towards larger sections as either sun shading and privacy screening, or pergolas within the building's architecture but as a part of the landscape.

In Australia we’ve been limited to using our precious hardwoods that are heavy and hard to work with, as well as moderate to high moving. With rapid advancements in technology we now have access to thermally modified, rapidly renewable softwoods such as Abodo’s Vulcan timber. Some see this as the clever approach to large sectioned feature timbers. So how do they compare?


Thermal modification closes the cell walls within the timber (water moving in and out is a key catalyst in timber movement) immediately making the timber exponentially more stable than a kiln dried hardwood which still allows for the movement of the water. Additionally, Vulcan is laminated using a unique process to orient the grain of the timber in a particular way. This ensures minimal movement and maximum stability.


The high heat process during thermal modification extracts all tannins which are the cause of leaching. This means peace of mind when you are using Vulcan near an expensive stone or white surfaces. Kiln dried hardwoods can take years before the leaching of tannins stops.


As a softwood, Vulcan timber is naturally lightweight however contains very little water making it up to 3.5 times lighter than hardwoods. If we look at a 238x43 size section; Vulcan is 4.3kg/lm, while Ironbark is 10.5kg/lm.


Being almost 3 times lighter in weight, and much more stable, allows you to use less fixings and span greater distances.

Vulcan is GL8 rated and as an example a 180x42 section will span up to 3 metres.


Vulcan comes standard with two coating systems (Protector and Sioo:x) that have been thoroughly researched and tested for longevity and ease of recoating so that you don’t need to second guess whether it ‘works’.


Achieving 6 metre lengths is not unusual in our Vulcan, however our average lengths of 4.2 and 4.8 metres far outstrips the average lengths of 2.1 metres in many hardwoods. For projects requiring larger quantities of timber, finger jointed laminated product may be available in specific lengths up to 6.1m.


Abodo has a strong 20 year relationship directly with the forests, giving us a stable supply of timber in all sizes and lengths.


Vulcan is the only timber on the market which is FSC™ certified, has an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), and a Carbon Sequestration Report.


Vulcan can be laminated and sawn into a huge range of sizes up to as large as 250x700mm (subject to minimum order quantities).

Inspired by Maori basket weaving, our Vulcan timber spans over three metres in this facade by Tennent Brown

Christchurch Boys High School used our Vulcan 180x42 sections which spanned over 1.6m.

The architect said: “Abodo’s ease of maintenance, stability and machinability were central considerations for these high-level applications."

Makers in Architecture collaborated with celebrated artist Matthew Mcintyre-Wilson to create these 700x88mm by 6m high entrance columns.

Just checking you’re heading to the right place

Make sure you get the right information about our carefully crafted timber products by visiting your local Abodo website.