Botanical name: Liquidambar styraciflua
Common/commercial names: Redgum, sapgum, sweetgum
Distribution & Availability
The gums are an important part of the Eastern hardwood forests, and are found throughout the South Eastern USA. Excellent availability as lumber and veneer in a wide range of grades and specifications. When sorted for colour, redgum (majority heartwood) is more limited in its availability.
The sapwood of American gum tends to be wide and is white to light pink, while the heartwood is reddish brown, often with darker streaks. The wood has irregular grain, usually interlocked, which produces an attractive grain figure. It has a fine uniform texture.
Physical & Mechanical Properties
American gum is moderately hard, stiff and heavy and has a low steam bending classification
The wood is easy to work, with both hand and machine tools. It nails, screws and glues well, takes stain easily and can be sanded and polished to an excellent finish. It dries rapidly with a strong tendency to warp and twist. It has a large shrinkage, and is liable to movement in performance.
Rated as non-resistant to heartwood decay. The heartwood is moderately resistant to preservative treatment, but the sapwood is permeable.
Cabinet making, furniture parts, doors, internal joinery, strips and mouldings. Used in some export markets with stained finishes as a walnut or mahogany substitute.
Lumber is often sold as sapgum and no colour specification is required. According to the NHLA grading standards, when sold as redgum, each clear cutting is required to have one red (heartwood) face.