Australian Cypress - Callitris glauca - is a native conifer that grows mostly on inland slopes of New South Wales and Southern Queensland. The moderate to low rainfall in these areas creates the tough growing environment that causes the much-loved characteristics of Australian Cypress wood. It is harvested on a sustainable basis as part of the government run Australian Farm Forestry Program. Ours comes from Queensland.
The wood:Australian Cypress is predominantly golden. The sapwood is predominantly cream colored and yellow-gold, and the heartwood is brown. Its closed, tight grain is peppered with numerous large and small knots. The combination of colors, grain, and knots are its most prized characteristics. The highly figured, knotty Australian Cypress is preferred by most people. The so-called "knot free" Australian Cypress is actually a molding grade Australian Cypress. Although not the hardest wood in the world, it is valued for two unique properties: termite resistance and fire resistance.
Uses:The unique, combined attributes of durability, density, nail holding ability, and termite resistance of Australian Cypress have made it a favored wood for flooring, feature finishes, doors, and cabinetry. In Australia, it is also used for cladding. This use is slowly making an appearance in parts of East Asia.
That question about "Brittleness":The USA industry standard requires that Australian Cypress be dried down to 6%-8% moisture content. It is this required drying that causes a degree of brittleness. However, because it is also a dense wood, it is stable once it is installed. (In Australia, higher levels of moisture are considered acceptable, thereby allowing the wood to retain more plasticity.)