USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
(608) 231-9200

 

Wood Technical Fact Sheet

 

 Fitzroya cupressoides

Alerce

Family: Cupressaceae

Other Common Names: Lahuan (Chile).

Distribution: Occurs in the central part of Chile and in the Province of Chubut in southern Argentina. Typically on marshy ground but also at higher elevations on Isla de Chiloe and in Patagonia; forms dense, nearly pure forests.

The Tree: On favorable sites the tree reaches heights of 130 to 150 ft and diameters of 4 ft, heights of 240 ft and diameters of 15 ft are recorded. Straight cylindrical boles often clear to 80 ft.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood brownish red and sharply demarcated from the narrow light-colored sapwood. Texture fine and uniform; straight grained; growth rings usually narrow; without distinctive odor or taste; resembles California redwood.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.38; air-dry density 30 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)

Green (23) 6,000 940 2,690

12% 8,700 1,160 5,150

Janka side hardness 430 lb for green material and 560 lb at 12% moisture content.

Drying and Shrinkage: The wood is reported to season readily with little or no degrade. Kiln schedule data are not available. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 3.8%; tangential 5.8%; volumetric 9.1%.

Working Properties: The timber works easily in all hand and machine operations; cutters must be kept sharp to get a smooth finish on end grain; easy to glue and finish. The wood is easily split to produce shakes.

Durability: Laboratory soil-block tests indicate resistance to attack by white- rot and brown-rot fungi. The wood has a local reputation for high durability.

Preservation: No data available but is reported to be probably permeable.

Uses: Shakes and shingles, general construction, pencil slats, musical instruments, vats and tanks, lumber cores, and furniture components.

Additional Reading: (23), (56), (69)