Saligna wood, properly known as Eucalyptus saligna, is, perhaps not surprisingly given its scientific name, an Australian wood. The trees from which the wood is harvested can be found growing naturally in a band along the seaboard from New South Wales into Queensland. E. saligna is commonly known as the Sydney Blue Gum. The tree can reach impressive heights of over 200 feet. E. saligna is now a common plantation wood in Australia and South Africa, grown and harvested for the lower end furniture, utility item, and flooring trade.
Saligna wood is reported to be dense and heavy, as well as fairly hard although I cannot locate a specific Janka hardness score. The wood is also noted as being of a coarse but even texture and reasonably easy to work. There does not appear to be a great deal known about this wood, at least not in the United States.
Aside from a brief comment that the wood is “reasonably easy to work” there is no readily available commentary about working with Saligna wood.
Saligna wood seems to be quite uncommon in the United States despite being a plantation wood in Australia and South Africa. Therefore, I am unable to locate a dealer that sells Saligna and cannot provide a price reference.
For those seeking Saligna wood, I would recommend consulting Woodfinder occasionally. Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising exotic wood dealers. In your search for wood, this can be an invaluable resource provided you use multiple search terms to capture all the possible listings. I can’t speak to the quality of any of the listed dealers, but Woodfinder does have the advantage of allowing searches to be performed based on location which might allow an interested buyer to visit a listed wood dealer in person to hand pick pieces at a comfortable price.
Saligna appears to be a utility wood and this probably explains why it is not widely sold in the United States as other domestic species fill these needs without the expense associated with the importation of lumber.
However, it is easy to locate utility items and furniture, especially outdoor furniture, made from Saligna. In addition, Saligna finds use in general construction, paneling, and boat building, especially in Australia where it is common. Some find it to be useful as a flooring material as well.
Saligna is not listed with either the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices or the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as being threatened or endangered, but that doesn’t mean that conservation and good forestry practices shouldn’t be of overall concern when working with or purchasing any species.
I cannot locate any references to anyone experiencing negative reactions associated with Saligna. However, although severe reactions to any wood are rare, some species of woods have been reported to cause problems ranging from mild to severe. Appropriate protective equipment is therefore recommended when working with any wood that the user is not certain won’t cause a problem, and even then excessive exposure to dust can cause respiratory problems regardless of species. Caution is especially warranted since exotic woods are not infrequently misidentified and while a previous sample of a given wood may not have caused problems, a different sample might.
Complete information about health hazards associated with a wide variety of exotic hardwoods is available from The Wood Database. Additional information about how to best use a dust collection system and personal protective equipment, such as respirators, can also be found through this excellent and comprehensive resource.
Fortunately, I have experienced no negative side effects when working with small pieces of Saligna wood.
My Personal Experiences
My experience of Saligna was limited to two small pen blank size pieces. As reported, I found the wood to be moderately hard with a VERY open porosity. The wood cut roughly, again as reported, and sanded poorly. There was a light scent of cedar discernible when freshly cut, which is not uncommon in Eucalyptus species woods. I detected little oil content. The pieces I had were of low color value, although some report that Saligna features dark honey coloration, and the wood was quite plain with no figure, again, common with Eucalyptus species woods.
Personally, Saligna didn’t impress me, especially when compared to the many other beautiful exotic woods available on the market today. I won’t be actively seeking additional pieces to work with in the future.