Silvertop Ash has been identified by the Building Commission in Victoria as one of seven hardwood timber species suitable for home construction in bushfire areas.

Also known as 'Coast Ash', Silvertop Ash is a large, moderately durable Australian hardwood tree found in the southern and central coast and tablelands of New South Wales, eastern Victoria and north eastern Tasmania. It is also called 'Ironbark' in Tasmania.

Some of the characteristics of the Silvertop Ash include ability to grow up to 45m in height; hard, deeply furrowed black to dark grey bark covering the trunk with contrasting smooth-barked branches above; light brown sapwood; moderately open texture, with growth rings sometimes visible and grain sometimes interlocked; and Class 2 durability above-ground with life expectancy of 15 to 40 years and Class 3 durability in-ground with life expectancy of 5 to 15 years.

Silvertop Ash is also rated hard (2 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools, and also machines well. It has been found to be suitable for home construction in bushfire areas provided it has a thickness greater than 18mm.

In addition to general construction, Silvertop Ash is also used for flooring, handles, joinery, fence posts, cases and chemical pulp. Suitable for steam bending, Silvertop Ash is useful for furniture, high-end joinery and creative crafting, and is also wood-chipped for paper production and shingles.

Supplying quality Australian hardwood timber products for a range of applications, North Eden Timber specialises in fire resistant hardwood cladding.

Image: Silvertop Ash readily accepts paint, stain and polish and is another species that provides good fire resistance.