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Cabot's Exterior Project Guide.

Products and advice for all your exterior timber projects such as decking, outdoor furniture, fences, gates, doors, windows, trim and weatherboards.


Cabot's Interior Project Guide.

Products and advice for all your interior timber projects such as furniture, doors, windows, trim and flooring.


Knowing your Timber

Before choosing your stain, varnish or clear finish, it is important to know a little about the timber you will be treating. Each of the popular timbers here have some characteristics that could affect the final outcome of your finish and determine your choice of Cabot's products.

NOTE: Most hardwoods and some softwoods contain oils, resins and tannins. It is recommended that these timbers be washed with mineral turpentine (when using oil based products) or methylated spirits (when using water based products). This should be done prior to staining or finishing. Wipe off mineral turpentine or methylated spirits with a dry rag. Allow solvents to dry thoroughly.


An imported plantation timber mainly used for pergolas and structural framing. It is one of the hardest 'softwoods' and moderately easy to work. Popular because of its availability in long lengths, it has a high resin content which can work its way out and crystallise on the surface of the timber. To remove, leave to dry then scrape off crystals before coating.

Cypress Pine

Cypress Pine is commonly used for structures, poles, flooring, panelling and decking. It is a hard, heavy and fairly strong timber with a tendency to be slightly brittle. It can be worked to a very high polish and takes most finishes well after de-oiling.

Radiata Pine

A commonly available, easy to work, Australian plantation timber used widely for furniture, wall or ceiling lining boards, plywood, particle board and general construction. It is ideal for staining especially when using liming colours. Radiata Pine is susceptible to 'bluestain' which is a fungus that can enter the timber just after it is felled, manifesting itself as blue stain on the timber surface. Removal is not possible and the only way to hide these stains is by using a darker timber stain.

Treated Pine

This is normal Radiata Pine that has been pressure-treated to resist decay, termites and fungi. This treatment involves saturating the timber so it is essential to leave Treated Pine to dry properly before staining. It is widely used for decks, pergolas and fences.


Jarrah is heavy and tough with a slight, pleasant odour. It is reasonably easy to work, although care is needed when nailing to avoid splitting. Jarrah can be highly polished and accepts most finishes well. Use on flooring, panelling, joinery and furniture.

Western Red Cedar

An extremely durable though very soft timber commonly used on weatherboards, fascias, windows, doors and garden furniture. It is easy to work and takes readily to stains and coatings. The uncoated surface of this timber will weather (go grey) more dramatically than any other when used outside. To stop the premature failure of the timber surface and aid coating adhesion, Western Red Cedar should be cleaned and coated upon delivery with one coat of product.


Teak is a well known imported timber from the Asian region, used widely for both indoor and outdoor furniture. It ranges in colour from golden to dark-brown, and is rich in oils which help impart moderate durability and its characteristic waxy feel. To ensure good adhesion, de-oil the timber before coating.

Merbau (Kwila)

This extremely durable hardwood is resistant to termites and decay, and is most commonly used for timber decking. A rich-brown timber, it is susceptible to tannin bleed which appears as a red-brown colour as water runs off the timber. The best time to apply Cabot’s finishes is when timber starts to lose its red colour.

Brush Box

This hard, dense, light-brown timber is resistant to wear and commonly used in New South Wales and Queensland for interior flooring. Its natural waxiness can cause some adhesion problems with some strong solvent floor finishes, but otherwise it is a good timber for staining and coating.

Victorian Ash (Tasmanian Oak)

Victorian Ash is commonly used for interior applications such as flooring, kitchen cupboards, wall panelling and some furniture. It has a uniform light-beige to light-pink colour and readily accepts stains and coatings.