Gidgee

    (Acacia cambagei)

 

Also known as: Stinking Wattle, Gidyea

Mazeppa National Park near Clermont - 40 square kilometres of wall to wall Gidgee. Gidgee is very susceptible to fire, the results of which is very noticeable where the park meets the development road. This area experienced a small fire a couple of years ago which killed off a lot of trees along this stretch.
 
The Central Highlands is just on the eastern edge of Gidgee's distribution which reaches west to the middle of the Northern Territory. Growing to about 8 or 10 metres tall, it is difficult to find any of it that isn't hollow once it's over about 200mm diameter but it does get to around 400 or 500mm diameter.
 
Also called 'Stinking wattle' for good reason, at various times, particularly when flowering or when the humidity is up a bit, the trees exude an unpleasant smell that fills the air for miles around. Fortunately, the timber doesn't smell the same, having a unique 'spicy' aroma. Gidgee tends to take over an area so that little else grows amongst it and is cut mainly for fenceposts as it lasts for a very long time in the ground.
 
Gidgee is a very hard and heavy timber and tends to split a lot during drying, making thick turning blanks rare which is why I mainly use it for trim and finials and so on. While it is a very hard timber, it machines really well, sands OK and finishes beautifully. Green turning larger pieces then microwaving them dry works well with Gidgee.
 
Gidgee lamps and serving trays - some of the trophies for the Twin Hills Rodeo which the Emerald Woodworkers group make each year.
 
The 'drops' on this box were turned and carved from gidgee. It is an excellent timber for this type of detail. The body of the box is from Rough-barked Apple (angophora floribunda).
 
One of the most unusual requests I've had! A client wanted a funeral urn for a bloke who had been a fencer in the Clermont region and had told many stories about Gidgee. The brief was that it be as natural looking as possible, and this is a close as it gets!
I had just one log 'in-the-round' which I had kept for the simple reason that it was unusual for staying in one piece and not splitting to the heart which is the norm' for Gidgee. Hollowing it to a volume of over 3 litres was a major task, and then the resulting voids in the sides had to be filled in such a way that they weren't easily noticed. A brass cover was fitted to the opening in the bottom which can just as easily be the top with some engraving added for detail. Finished off with a coat of oil to keep the bugs out and avoid further cracking, I was really happy with the result!
 
The client also wanted to be able to hang the old fella's hat on it when finished and I think it turned out a very fitting epitaph for him.

 

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