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.

General Description

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

Working Properties

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.

Main Uses

Cabinet making, furniture parts, doors, internal joinery, strips and mouldings. Used in some export markets with stained finishes as a walnut or mahogany substitute.

Other Information

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.


Ash Aspen Beech Birch Cherry Cottonwood Gum Hackberry Hickory & Pecan Hard maple Soft maple Red oak White oak Sycamore Tulipwood/Yellow poplar Walnut