John Fairweather Specialty Timber Solutions - Turning Trees into something special

  • Yard: 162 Harleston road, Sefton, North Canterbury. Directions »

  • All correspondence and small deliveries to the office at 180 Cavendish road, Casebrook, Christchurch, 8051.

  • Phone 021 2110705

...use New Zealand-grown hardwoods

We specialise in quality hardwood solid timber flooring. We take logs and mill them carefully to produce stress relieved timber, then dry and machine the timber into specialty products. This comprehensive process requires skill and specialised machinery.

John Fairweather


    • Bring your log or logs to me and I will mill them into whatever size timber you want.

    • My Wood-Mizer LT70 can cut slabs up to 700mm wide. The mill can handle logs up to 6m long and 1m in diameter.

    • This service costs from $200/hour

    • Recent jobs include macrocarpa benchtops, railway sleepers cut for flooring, and sundry feature logs for joinery work.

    • Bring your timber to me and I will machine it into your required profile.

    • The Logosol planer moulder can produce a variety of machined timber.

    • I have some profile knives in stock and can have a knife for any profile prepared.

The log specifications are:

    • Small end diameter >40cm

    • Log length 3m

    • Average diameter 45cm but can take up to 1m

    • No branches, some small branch stubs acceptable.

    • Freshly felled/crosscut.

Main timber species:

    • Eucalyptus

Machined timber:

    • Tongue and groove flooring

    • Parquet flooring

    • Skirting boards and mouldings.

Laminated timber:

    • Benchtops

    • Stair treads

    • Tables

Milled timber:

    • Outdoor above-ground use

    • Outdoor in-ground use (Ironbark)

    • Timber for fine furniture

    • Decking

    • Yard rails

    • Bridges.

...use New Zealand-grown hardwoods

John Fairweather Specialty Timber Solutions produces hardwood timber products from eucalyptus trees grown in Canterbury.

John Fairweather was introduced to forestry when he was a teenager in Dunedin and had to plant some pine trees for his father. As time went by he began to enjoy visiting the land and getting out among the trees. As the trees matured he took over their management and, following advice received from the Forestry Service, they were pruned and thinned to produce a good crop of logs. The question arose as to what species to plant for the next crop. At that time, in the 1980s, there was talk of the “wall of wood” coming on stream in future and the need to consider alternative species, so he decided to plant Eucalyptus regnans. These trees were growing very well in a nearby site and they promised to be a valuable alternative. So he replanted with regnans along with some macrocarpa and some Acacia melanoxylon.

From the mid 1980’s John Fairweather lived in Christchurch and wanted to have a forestry block close to hand to pursue his interest in forestry. So he bought 20 hectares near Sefton in North Canterbury and planted alternative species in an agroforestry regime. The chosen species this time were Acacia melanoxylon, some ground durable eucalypts, and Eucalyptus nitens and Eucalyptus regnans. After trying out the grazing he switched to all forestry and planted pines and macrocarpa in between the wide-spaced blackwood rows.

John Fairweather’s main work was as a social science researcher at Lincoln University. He attained the position of Professor of Rural Sociology. In the weekends he and his wife, Robyn, did the forestry work and nurtured the trees into good shape. While this was going on, John Fairweather realised that there could be a need to do some sawmilling in future so he built a hand-operated band saw mill. The beauty of this machine was that it taught him the basics of milling eucalypts. In 2010 a Wood-Mizer LT40 came up on Trade Me so John Fairweather decided to upgrade his mill. In 2015 he bought an LT70.

Original home built band mill

In 2012 John Fairweather decided to move from full-time academic work to full-time timber work. In part, this change was necessary because there is no well-established market for eucalyptus timber. The high-value alternative species need some additional inputs to convert the logs into timber. So now John Fairweather buys logs, mills them, dries the timber, and machines it into value-added products, typically flooring. The business has required building a machining shed, a solar kiln, a sawmill shelter and the purchase of necessary machinery to process the wood. As at 2015, most of the development work was completed and production of value-added products began in earnest.

Video of Eucalyptus timber production process