In The Rough


  • Messmate Mess at Timberzoo
  • June Production at Timberzoo

messmate mess at timberzoo

Our hardworking staff has been in need a new crib room for some time now. The old lunchroom sat four people and we managed for several years with staggered breaks - but in 2012 we have ten staff enjoying smoko and lunchtime during the day. A recent refurbishment has solved the need for more room as well as providing a working display for some of the flooring and cladding lines that Timberzoo produces. I have always liked working displays - real life installations that are used daily - rather than idealised chessboard floor montages or perfectly preserved wall panels. 


It's not just the bleak repetition of these displays in retail world. It's the distance they impose between reality and the imagination. The tailored selection and the undisturbed finish. No wear or blemish. Floors are meant to be walked upon, decks to be rained upon, cladding to be aged by the sun and pergola battens to be an occasional perch for magpies. It is an authentic experience for clients to observe these timber products in service and to gain insight of their ability to endure as well as for their visual appeal.


The new lunchroom - once part of an empty office suite - is floored in recycled Messmate 70mm boards. Benches and shelves are also recycled Messmate. Walls are lined with Sawtooth Lining boards - 185 x 14mm Douglas Fir and 80 x 13mm hardwood. Both products are in regular demand for shop fit-outs or bar and restaurant interiors. We think they have a place in residential design and our customers can now see how essentially low-maintenance even unsealed boards can be in a living room context.

The old back porch in sun-cracked treated pine has been replaced in hardwood. Expect a minimum life of 25 years - which should be the building industry benchmark for outdoor structures. The porch has taken on a woolshed character - by accident or unconscious design. It just looks very shearing shed - even with close gapped decking. Our Blackbutt 40 x 32mm batten is the main contributor to this look. It performs duty as a shade batten, screen wall and as a decking board. I predicted it would look great underfoot and can see it being used - not in a large expanse - but in smaller areas. It will have appeal for bijou verandas - like ours at Timberzoo - or could provide a textural break from conventional decking boards. Best use would be on linking or transition deck platforms to signal changes in level in more complex outdoor structures.


On the west wall we fixed the Blackbutt batten to galvanised metal frames as sun-screening battens - replacing worn-out canvas blinds. The wall was a bit patchwork after window repairs and replacement of spouting, so we battened out the wall over the old metal sheeting, spray painted the entire catastrophe black and used Natural Feature Grade Tallowwood 138 x 20mm decking to reclad it in a way that completed the timber symphony. 




There is a warm cosiness to the new lunchroom which I can only attribute to this timber cocooning. The early sun penetrates the room through glass and sun batten and its beams caress our new jarrah table - made with true woodie affection by Julian Beattie from Make Stuff using planed recycled Jarrah 300 x 100mm beams - timbers salvaged from Station Pier in Port Melbourne.

On the front (south) wall the necessary windbreak to the main office entry occluded the suns rays as effectively as it shielded the southerly blasts. Our remedy was to replace the rusting roofing sheets with clear laserlite and use screening battens in front of the glass window. A great advertisement for the Blackbutt batten and another victory for sunlight. 

These rooms are currently a showroom for timber patterns salvaged from Goetz Engineering in Spotswood some years ago. Patternmaking is one of our almost-lost industrial arts in Victoria. Timber patterns were made of composite pieces of timber - keyed, jointed or lightly nailed to each other to form a three dimensional outline which was then used to create a mould - in this case for castings of iron and steel. The timber was required to be of a readily seasoned, stable species and Kauri Pine, Jelutong, Hemlock and California Redwood were often used.

You have two reasons to call in at Timberzoo. Not only to investigate firsthand the products displayed in the new works - but also to buy a genuine industrial artefact that is made from timber and crafted to an old world exactness. 


Julian Beattie from Make Stuff (www.makestuff.com.au) is proficient in most forms of woodwork.
He does cafe and small shop fit outs, as well as furniture pieces to order.
Contact Julian at makestuff@hotmail.com


Brad Nichols and his faithful dog Gus did much of the carpentry work, including the rear porch.
Brad loves a pre-used lump of wood more than the average bloke and has a real feel for
this type of work. He can be contacted for work in Melbourne
- especially the western and northern suburbs - 0416 913 444


Lauchie Skinner undertook a lot of the refurbishment of the lunchroom and external cladding and screening with his small team. Taciturn but loveable hound Ash supervised from a dry perch in the ute. Due to bad weather, Lauchie got wetter on this job
than he does catching waves at Thirteenth Beach - but plotted an efficient way to complete a project
which lacked a lot of specificity. It helps to be a timber kind of dude.
Lachlan Skinner - Lachstoc, Ocean Grove 0418 588 600


june production at timberzoo 

Recycled Messmate

70mm x 12mm   Rate: $55.00/m2
70mm x 25mm   Rate: $79.00/m2

Rod and John, our Timberzoo machinists, love the messmate floor in their new mess. It gives them yet another perspective of the product they mill every week. The grade and feature make more sense to them now in the finished floor. There's a great tonal tempo to the narrow stripes in a 70mm floor. Very contemporary - but there is a parallel vibe tapping a strong flavour of twentieth century Victorian construction history. These boards are milled from old rafters - with the odd floor joist in the mix. They retain odd blips of black carbon prints that remind you where the metal nails were.



NFG Tallowwood

138mm x 20mm   Rate: $11.00/m

A durable board which is useful for outdoor structures and landscaping. The Timberzoo cladding project took only two days to complete - leaving aside the fiddly prep work and window treatments. This makes it an affordable option as a retro-fit cladding for the kind of beach houses that - while sound - are a bit uninspiring. Hide that cement sheet, log cabin wall or flaky paint with a wide Tallowwood decking board. Great for cladding low walls around the pool and for hiding the water tanks and pool pumps.






KD Blackbutt Batten

40mm x 32mm   Rate: $4.50/m

Lots of packs in stock in set-length board 1.8m and 2.1m. Design your projects around these lengths.

They work perfectly for screening battens which require fixing points every 900mm or so.



Recycled Jarrah

270mm x 70mm DAR   Rate: $120.00/m

Dressed-all-round boards in various lengths readily available for bench or table projects.

Table length boards in stock - 2.4m to 3.0m.




Recycled Sawtooth Lining Boards

Douglas Fir:  185mm x 14mm   Rate: $50.00/m2
                       130mm x 14mm   Rate: $48.00/m2

  Hardwood:  80mm x 13mm   Rate: $47.00/m2  

Don't feel compelled to finish these lining boards with any sort of protective coating. In most cases they require only dusting or cobweb clearing - unless intended for a room where a stove or clothes dryer is installed. Accidental sooty hand prints can be lightly sanded off. Raw timber is not a high maintenance surface on walls or ceilings. It is a forgiving material - we'd be unlikely to use it as a chopping board in the kitchen otherwise.



Old Timber Patterns

Rate: $50 to $450 per item depending on shape and size

There are lots of them at Timberzoo. Some small enough to fit on a shelf - others big enough to use as a coffee table.