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KAURI

Agathis spp.

Agathis spp. of the family Araucariaceae. There are over two dozen species in the genus Agathis that are sold as kauri (and damar minyak and many other names). The predominant ones appear to be Agathis australis and Agathis robusta, and these are widespread in Australia and New Zealand. Others include Agathis alba, Agathis atropurpuea, Agathis barneensia, Agathis labillardierii, Agathis lanceolata, Agathis macrophyla, Agathis microstachya, Agathis moorei, Agathis obtusa, Agathis phillipinesis, and Agathis spathulata. Many grow in several Asian countries and at least some of them also grow in Australia and NZ along with Agathis australis and Agathis robusta. I have no idea what, if any, differences there are among all these species.

A. Australis is the species listed for "ancient kauri" which is an interesting wood that you can find out more about on the internet. Basically, it's a 50,000 year old wood that is not petrified but was preserved in bogs and is now sold and worked. It's expensive but no more so than many exotics and it can be quite beautiful. Because ancient kauri is so popular, web searches, even ones that attempt to filter out the word "ancient" show mostly ancient kauri results, so I found it hard to get many pics of normal kauri, although it is a staple wood in N.Z. and is widely used there.

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting --- colors will vary under other lighting conditions


both sides of a sample plank of ancient kauri / Agathis australis --- going by the reports I've read and also some of the pics below, I'd have to say that this must be a particularly drab piece of this type of wood.

NOTE: The end grain of this piece is very strange. When I shot the original end grain I was not bothered because it simply looks like there are heavy sanding scratches going slightly upper right to lower left while the grain goes about 45 degrees from upper left to lower right. The "scratches" are not perpendicular to the grain so I was sure they are scratches, not rays. When I did the end grain update, I got the same "scratches" and assumed I had messed up the sanding, although I was puzzled how it could have gone so wrong when the other updates in that batch came out fine. Still, I put this piece through with another batch for end grain update sanding and this time I was particularly careful and avoid sanding scratches and I STILL got exactly the same set of weird "scratches". As nearly as I can tell with a 10x loupe and from the enlargements of the 12x pic, these are SOME kind of construct in the wood but I don't know what since they are clearly not normal rays which would be perpendicular to the grain. I note that the sample below this one, of a different Agathis species, has exactly the same marks so clearly they are a feature of at least some of the members of this genus.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above.


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly


both sides of a sample plank of dammar kauri / Agathis dammara --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above. The end grain on this piece shows exactly the same weird lines as described in the sample directly above except that this time they are perpendicular to the grain instead of being at an acute angle.


both sides of a sample plank of kauri / Agathis australis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Fijian kauri / Agathis vitiensis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a piece of kauri / Agathis robusta --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Note that the first face was sanded to 240 grit and the second face was not and this accounts for minor differences in color between the two (the second side has a slight patina) and the better resolution of the detail characteristics as seen in the first one.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from two sides of the same end grain of the piece directly above. I noticed substantial differneces between the two areas so shot both.

web pics:


ancient kauri stump and root ball --- did I mention that these trees get BIG ?


planks


plank listed as kauri / Agathis australis


planks listed as damar minyak


planks listed as kauri / Agathis alba


plank listed as "agathis", which is just the genus name


turning stock listed as kauri but with a color that seems just so wrong that I'm doubtful about this ID


slabs


veneer listed as kauri / Agathis dammara


kauri flooring


cheeseboard, cutting board, knife block, all of New Zealand kauri --- I'm VERY dubious about the bright color in these pieces


kauri bookends


bowl


kauri trees get to be BIG ... this staircase is carved out of a solid "stump" that is about 10 feet high and it looked like maybe 8 feet in diameter. This was in a gift shop in N.Z. How they got it INTO the gift shop, they didn't say. Maybe they built the gift shop around it.


------------- ancient kauri --------------------


Everything in this section is ancient kauri


planks


turning stock


slabs --- did I mention that kauri trees get big? Apparently 50,000 years ago they were already getting big.


veneer


guitar blanks


plywood panels with slip-matched veneer strips


not sure what this is ... maybe a table. It was listed as ancient kauri, but even for ancient kauri, I'd say this has a hefty coating of something that added some color/shine to the wood and/or the pic has overemphasize the color saturation.


two bowls and a vase


finger ring


tables


2" thick ancient kauri slab and the guitar made from resawn thinwood from it. Made by Gregory Pizzeck who submitted these pics and who tells me that the pics don't really do justice to the beauty of the wood. Thanks Gregory.

------------- end ancient kauri --------------------