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Merbau wood

merbau laminated wood

Merbau is a hardwood which is lot uses for many purposes in the woodworking industry. Merbau tree grows in the in the plain land, from the coast to the 50 m (160 ft) altitude land. The tree is found from Tanzania and Madagascar east through India and Queensland, Australia to the Pacific island of Samoa. It inhabits mangrove forests. Merbau timber is Intsia class. It has some species and traded with various names such as: merbau, taritih, merbo, kayu besi, mirabow, iron-wood, etc.
As country with extensive tropical forests, Indonesia is the sources of the merbau wood. The forests in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua are the origin of the merbau wood. The Intsia bijuga and Intsia palembanica are the most widely common species in Indonesia.
Merbau wood is hard and strong. The heartwood has varying color form reddish or yellowish brown to dark brown, while the sapwood has light yellow color.  It has a rough texture with straight direction pattern grain. The wood can be polished without coating to produce a smooth and shiny surface. This wood has low shrinkage; it is easy to be dried with less risk of cracking. The wood is also durable, high resistance to the fungi and wood-attacking insect.
Merbau timber is quite easy to be handled in woodworking. It can be drilled, sawed, planed, sanded and even polished with a satisfying result. It is less good for the turner and nailed. It is easily broken when nailed, and can cause black stains at the nail part, especially when it contaminated with water.

The wood properties can be seen in the table below: 
Species                                                                           I bijuga            I palembanica

Specific gravity                                                            0.63 to 1.04       0.52 to 0.97
Radial shrinkage (from the wet wood to 10% MC)     3.3%                0.6%
Tangential shrinkage                                                       0.6%                0.7%
Modulus of elasticity:                                                1070 kg / cm2     1126 kg/cm2
Hardness                                                                      800 kg/cm2         525 kg / cm 2

Chemical compositions:

- Cellulose 46. 9%
- Lignin 22.6%
- Pentose 17.1%
- Ash 0.9%
- Silica 0.2%

The uses of merbau wood

The merbau wood is widely used in the woodworking industry for various purposes. It is durable, strong and hard wood, it is lot of used for decking, fence, flooring and house frame. The wood is also used to make furniture, door, window and any other wood product 

Finishing for merbau wood.
Merbau wood has a reddish brown color that is unique and attractive. This wood has a rough grain texture with big pores and nice grain pattern. The finishing with transparent color is the most widely used. Its natural reddish brown base color has already produced nice appearance wood color. Lot of merbau wood products is even marketed in the unfinished conditions. With the proper method of polishing, the wood is able to produce a beautiful, smooth and shiny surface. The light color finish is quite difficult to be generated by this wood, since it may be contrary to its dark red-brown base color. Many types finishing can be applied to the wood according to the uses of the wood products.

The merbau timber contains a red sap that often appears and interfere the products. When the wood is wetted, the sap will come out stain the product and its environment. This sap will come out when the wood is wet or hit by water. To overcome this problem the wood should be dried until it reaches the proper moisture content and then it is maintained to be dry. The application of coating material is also helpful to keep the wood from the water. Use the proper finishing in accordance with the functions of the wood product. The outdoor finish such as: spar varnish or outdoor PU are most used for decking, fences. The UV coating is the most appropriate for merbau flooring parquet. While the interior finish such as NC, water based, AC or PU can be used for the interior wood product. 

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