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MACROCARPA TIMBER SUPPLIER

With more than 25 years experience, we have built a reputation of knowledge and quality. We always get asked about the best way to use our mac, how durable it is and whether it shrinks, among other curly questions. Here's where you will find a few of those answers. If this page doesn't satisfy, we are always on the end of the phone ready for the next challenge.

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WHY MACROCARPA?

  • Macrocarpa is classified as a Cypress in the building code and is used extensively for exterior cladding/weatherboard.  Macrocarpa has a proven natural durability without any chemical treatment.  MacDirect can provide a producer statement with exterior cladding stating it is produced from heart material.

  • Classed as moderately durable, Macrocarpa has a natural resistance to fungus, rot, and insect attack therefore needs NO chemical protection when used according to NZ Building Code.

  • Has very good and consistent engineering qualities with strength rating higher than SG8.  Therefore used extensively for solid wood beams, posts and framing as #1 Framing in the Building Code.

  • A light honey brown in colour that has lustre when dressed.  Sought after for decorative appeal in building, for exposed beams, panelling/sarking, fascia/cladding, joinery or pergolas.

  • Easily worked.  Used extensively in the joinery, furniture, and boatbuilding trades.

  • A very pleasantly scented wood.

  • Macrocarpa can be left to 'season off' to a distinctive silver/grey or readily accepts being painted, oiled or stained.

  • Macrocarpa is a softwood notable for having minimal sapwood.

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HISTORY OF MAC

Macrocarpa came into New Zealand in the 1860s being popular as a shelterbelt.  Although some plantations were planted in early 1900 Lusitanica (Mexican Cypress) came in at a later date.

Macrocarpa has been used in house building around NZ since the early 1900s. 

​Cypress timbers have been used for centuries in the building trade.

St Peters' gates in Vatican City were built with 'old world' cypress and are still there today, 1000 years later.

Foresters have always recognised the heritage of cypress as a premium timber and many discerning home builders have used Macrocarpa for the last 100 years in NZ.

MacDirect recognised that much Macrocarpa supplied to the market was of inferior grade and quality, so in the early 1990's we became determined to supply the trade with a consistent, reliable and high quality supply of Mac. Today we only select and purchase high grade plantation logs.

Now Macrocarpa/cypress is recognised as having a growing and important part in New Zealand's building industry and we look forward to continuing to supply the building industry and owners who want a locally produced and stunning alternative. 

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WHAT IS MACDIRECT MAC

Today "Macrocarpa" has become the trade name for these species and their crosses in NZ. So when we say "Macrocarpa" or "MacDirect Mac" this can include the Cupressus listed below. 
 

  • Cupressus macrocarpa.   common name Macrocarpa or Mac

  • Cupressus lusitanica.   common name Lusitanica

These are known as true cypress and are the trees from which most NZ cypress timber come from.

Macrocarpa is a native of coastal southern California where it is known as Monterey Cypress, while Lusitanica or Mexican Cypress (White Cedar), comes from Mexico and further south.

While Lusitanica is lighter in colour than Macrocarpa when first processed, in a short while it is hard to distinguish between the two.

Lusitanica because of its higher resistance to bush canker and better sawmilling qualities is the main plantation grown cypress, particularly in the North Island.


Other Types of Cypress we supply from time to time:

  • Cupressocyparis leylandi. Common name Leyland Cypress

A cross between Cupressus macrocarpa and Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (Alaskan Cedar)  belonging to the Cupreaceae family.

  • Chamecyparis lawsoniana. Common name Lawson Cypress

A native of Oregan where it is known as Port Orford Cedar, also Oregan Cedar.

Known for its strength in particular, Lawson is a valued timber resource in the United States. New Zealand grown Lawson does have quite a large sap ring compared to Macrocarpa

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WHAT IS MACDIRECT MAC

Macrocarpa | Lusitanica

Today "Macrocarpa" has become the trade name for below species and their crosses in NZ. So when we say "Macrocarpa" or "MacDirect Mac" this can include the Cupressus listed below. 
 

  • Cupressus Macrocarpa.   Common name Macrocarpa or Mac

  • Cupressus Lusitanica.   Common name Lusitanica

These are known as true cypress and are the trees from which most NZ cypress timbers come from.

Macrocarpa is a native of coastal southern California where it is known as Monterey Cypress, while Lusitanica or Mexican Cypress (White Cedar), comes from Mexico and further south.

While Lusitanica is lighter in colour than Macrocarpa when first processed, in a short while it is hard to distinguish between the two.

Lusitanica because of its higher resistance to bush canker and better sawmilling qualities is the main plantation grown cypress, particularly in the North Island.


Other Types of Cypress we supply from time to time:

  • Cupressocyparis leylandi. Common name Leyland Cypress

A cross between Cupressus macrocarpa and Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (Alaskan Cedar)  belonging to the Cupreaceae family.

  • Chamecyparis lawsoniana. Common name Lawson Cypress

A native of Oregan where it is known as Port Orford Cedar, also Oregan Cedar.

Known for its strength in particular, Lawson is a valued timber resource in the United States. New Zealand grown Lawson does have quite a large sap ring compared to Macrocarpa

GRADES AND USES

At MacDirect we grade our timber into the following grades:

1. Tight Knot #1 - This is used for all building applications. May include sapwood. Used primarily for internal applications. Due to the low amount of sapwood in Mac, this is also suitable for external applications. Not code compliant for external applications. Includes knots over 50mm and spike knots over 25mm. Also some knots larger than 50% of the board. 

2. Tight Knot #1 Heart - This is graded to meet the New Zealand building code for Class 3 durability for cladding and external applications like decking and fascia and also #1 framing and #1 structural. MacDirect visually grade this timber to meet code and we also provide (on request) a producers statement. Timber typically includes small tight knots, but also includes knots upto 50mm and spike knots 25mm. 2mm checks are also common. Knots should not be more than 50% of the board. However a 5% inclusion of off grade is acceptable. 

3. Panel Grade #1 - This is designed solely for internal use including cover soffits, sarking, wall panelling etc. This timber meets code compliance for internal applications. Includes some bark encased knots and some feature knots.

4. Clears - This is our furniture and finishing grade timber. We also can grade clears for Heart for external use. Clears means no Knots

5. Timber By-Products - MacDirect also offer off grade timber (#2 and #3) that is ideal for landscaping, fencing. Please enquire. Not always available. 

Please note that images below are examples only and do not factor in a complete picture of knot sizes etc. Please see our gallery to see products in situ. 

TIGHT KNOT #1

TIGHT KNOT #1 - HEART

PANEL GRADE # 1

CLEARS

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DURABILITY AND HARDNESS

Where Macrocarpa/Cypress has been recorded as lasting many years even in in-ground situations. It must be recognized that like all naturally durable timbers there is large variability in durability.  Under Ensis field trials 50 x 50 stakes were shown to deteriorate after 10-15 years in the ground. Larger sections such as fence posts will last longer. 

Therefore this gives heart macrocarpa/Cypress a durability rating similar to H3.1 treated radiata pine according to the NZ building code (3602:2003). Macrocarpa/Cypress has been shown to be very durable where used for internal structures, and weatherboard/fascias externally. Where used externally structurally, Macrocarpa/Cypress should be able to be easily examined and replaced if necessary (Building Code 15 year life). Cypress/Mac timber us for internal purposes meets 50 year criteria under 3602:2003.

MacDirect sells considerable amounts of decking from heart grade. This is one of the areas where there is considerable variation in exposure stress.  It can be expected that some boards could have to be replaced within 8-10 years although we have had very positive feedback regarding the durability of decking sold. We recommend that ‘grooves’ are placed down to facilitate drying between joist and deck. In the past some have used Macrocarpa deck joists; this is not recommended and is not allowed under the building code.  MacDirect sells many pergolas both kitset and cut to order, for private homes and public park areas. Some of these are in-ground posts and are at owners discretion.

For more information on strength read this attached PDF of testing of Lusitanica. Produced by NZ Farm Forestors. 

DOES IT SHRINK?

 

All timber shrinks in the drying process, but our mac is very stable. In fact the science suggests it performs much better than Pine, Kauri, Rimu and even some cedars.

 

On average from Green to 12%, our mac will shrink 1.1mm Radial and 2.6mm Tangential. Our own test reveals that overall from Green to 12% is around 2-5mm. 

We supply dry timber at about 16-18%. When placed in highly exposed areas timber can dry to 8-10%, which means you could see additional shrinkage of 1-2mm.

To minimise this, we always recommend that the timber is acclimatised. As a natural product it will dry and absorb moisture based on weather conditions. So sit it in the area that it will eventually end up and do your best to replicate the conditions. We also recommend oiling the timber, which helps slow the drying process.

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WHAT CAN YOU USE MAC FOR?

Durability Standards - Acceptable use. Various exposure to weather

  1. Jackstuds, subfloor braces, bearers, wall plates, floor joists to the subfloor, blocking, subfloor wall studs, walings and battens, wall studs and nogs, diagonal boards.

  2. Interior flooring, suspended ground floors

  3. Sarking and framing

  4. Enclosed skillion roof framing

  5. Valley boards and boards supporting flashing or box gutters and flashings to roof penetrations and upstands to roof decks.

  6. Framing and other members with or beneath a parapet.

  7. Framing and other members within enclosed decks or balconies. 

  8. All roof trusses, Ceiling framing.

  9. Interior Flooring.

  10. Weatherboard

  11. Base battens

  12. Fascia, barge and coverboards

  13. Exterior joinery

  14. Timber reveals. 

  15. External stairs

  16. Stair treads, risers and handrails

  17. Handrails, balustrades verandah floors and unroof decking.

  18. Non-loadbearing interior wall framing

  19. Finishing timbers, skirtings, mouldings, architraves, paneling, sarking.

  20. Shelves

Read more in NZS3602:2003 for more information and details of use

What ca you use mac for
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