Lyptus is the trademarked name for a hybrid of two eucalyptus species, Eucalyptus grandis and Eucalyptus urophylla. The trees are grown on plantations in South America alongside reintroduced indigenous trees that preserve native ecosystems. Lyptus is manufactured by Aracruz Wood Products in Bahia, Brazil and distributed in North America by Weyerhaeuser.
Lindsay Sargis, owner and purchasing agent for Johnson Brothers Millwork in Idaho Falls, ID, has been selling Lyptus since July 2002. He sells Lyptus as unfinished and finished flooring and stair parts, butcher block tops, interior moulding and lumber. Sargis' market includes Jackson Hole, WY, Bozeman, MT, Sun Valley, ID, and Salt Lake City, UT. "Lyptus is getting noticed," he says, noting that the positives include ease of machining and finishing and ecological benefits.
Jack Campbell, vice president of sales and marketing for Custom Cupboards in Wichita, KS, buys Lyptus from Weyerhaeuser and uses it to manufacture cabinetry that is sold through dealer networks from New York to San Francisco. He calls Lyptus an intriguing product. "It's something new and different that's exciting to people in the industry. It's finish-friendly and you can create interesting color combinations with it."
Campbell's firm has sold several kitchens made from Lyptus. "Our dealers have accepted the new product. I think there's a certain segment of the buying public, which is very concerned with finding products that are 'green.' The environmental aspect of Lyptus counts with them. The trees are grown on plantations, mature in 14 to 18 years, and the second growth sprouts from the stump where the first growth was cut."
Hardwood Similarities Count, too
Weyerhaeuser reports in product literature that Lyptus has a hardness rating or modulus of rupture that is "greater than white oak, mahogany, red oak, hard maple or beech."
The lumber is said to have a density that ranges from that of genuine mahogany to hickory with surfacing qualities of genuine mahogany. Weyerhaeuser's product literature says, "The wood does not tear out along or across the grain as it is sawn or shaped. Very little after-shaping touch up sanding is required to achieve a smooth, semi-polished surface."
A spokesman for Weyerhaeuser compared drying Lyptus to drying white oak, both of which need to be air dried under controlled conditions for 6 to 9 months. The material is dried by the manufacturer to 6 to 8 percent moisture content.
While some compare the lumber to cherry in looks and hickory in density, others say Lyptus makes a good replacement for mahogany, and cherry.
Weyerhaeuser's product literature states that the naturally occurring hybrid of the two species was chosen "for the qualities of extremely fast growth and the ability to add clear, incremental and dense hardwood."
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