Notaras Timber - Rolling with the Punches

J Notaras and Sons, a family owned and highly regarded sawmilling business, is located in South Grafton on the North Coast of NSW, the heart of Australia’s hardwood industry.
60 years of continuous operation is quite an achievement for any business but, considering the rough and tumble of the timber industry, it is quite remarkable and testimony to the persistence of the Notaras family.
The recipe for survival and indeed growth in this industry is, according to Managing Director and family patriarch Spiro Notaris to remain flexible and at all times alert to new opportunities. “You must be prepared to change as circumstances dictate because nothing ever stays the same” says Spiro.
medium_Image Spiro Computer Bank, Nov 2014.jpgTrue to form, the Notaras family have invested heavily into a kiln drying process, controlled by a bank of computers attached to up to 16 probes inserted amonst the timber stack inside each kiln to measure critical humidity levels. Spiro’s team have found that a major difficulty experienced when drying timber is the tendency for the outer layers to dry at different rates to the core material, resulting in ruptures, splits and cracks. “We have found that this can be successfully controlled by slowly releasing steam into the kiln as the timber is drying to maintain the balance between the rate of evaporation of moisture from the surface of the drying timber. This might sound counter-intuitive but it works”, says Spiro
Since 2008 Spiro has collected samples of all batches of dried timber for later cross referencing and analysis as required. Image Spiro Notaras, North Coast timber doyen medium_Image Spiro November 2014.jpg
However not all trends have been embraced by Spiro. While the trend to ‘engineered wood floors’ has grown solidly particularly floating floors, Spiro has resisted this in favour of what he calls ‘real’ floors. “ I am a great believer in solid timber floors as they are more resistant to water problems and have a much longer life span” says Spiro. “In my experience the surface of all floors wear. The thin hardwood layer of an engineered floor can only be sanded once, or twice at the most. On the other hand a solid timber floor will last indefinitely as modern rolling technologies remove only the varnish layer leaving the full thickness of timber in place. “Expect a century of more of continuous hard use from a North Coast hardwood floor” highlights Spiro