Lauan trees appearance wood uses and lumber
Lauan is not a tree species but a loose wood term that is used for lumber from trees of the shorea genus. In total there are over 190 tree species labelled as lauan and all part of the dipterocarpaceae family. These trees grow in the tropical rainforests all throughout Asia and are famous for their hardwood properties. Meranti is another name that often is used for the same tree species. Like lauan it is not a tree name but a wood/lumber name divided into four categories dark red, red, yellow and white meranti all based on wood properties.
Lauan trees, leaves and fruits description
The tallest lauan trees can grow to heights up to 195 feet or 60 meters. The majority of the trees are classed as evergreen but some species are semi evergreen. Leaves of these tree species are leathery and oblong to elliptic shaped. Lauan leaves can reach lengths up to 12 inches or 32 cm and vary in colour from light to dark green and yellow. The term dipterocarp from the dipterocarpaceae family means two winged fruit. Not all fruits of lauan trees have two wings and often three to five instead of only two. The fruits are egg shaped with seeds inside. These seeds contain high levels of oil used for cattle feed or as a fuel source for cooking.
Lauan tree bark and trunk
Young tree species in general have smooth grey, green or reddish bark. When the trees get older the bark gets darker, rougher and sometimes deeply fissured. Lauan trees have high levels of aromatic resins. These resins are tapped by removing or carving the bark. They have many different uses such as caulking boats, varnishes, medical uses and more. Tree trunks from lauan classed trees vary in diameter. Older trees can have long and straight trunks with a diameter over 10 feet or 3 meters.
Lauan wood properties and durability
Fresh lauan heartwood is yellow to brown colored and gets darker when exposed to sunlight. The sapwood is paler then the heartwood. The wood has a moderately fine and coarse texture. The average dried weight of the wood depends on the tree type. At a moisture content of 12% it varies between 600 kg to 880 kg per cubic meter. The durability of lauan wood is classed as I to III high to moderate durability. It has high density, high bending strength and good shock resistance.
Lauan wood working tips and uses
Lauan is one of the most used and traded tropical hardwoods. It is difficult to work with hand tools because of its hardness and high density. Pre drilling is always advised when screws or nails are used. Lauan will absorb paint quick and multiple layers are often not sufficient. It is therefore recommended to use special oils that soak into the wood. This protects it from the elements and gives it nice colorations. Lauan can be glued well but due to its high density it is advised to use special heavy duty glue. Fresh lumber contains resin and therefore needs to dry well before handling. Lauan is used in a wide range of products like heavy construction but also as flooring, decking, furniture, toys, veneer, plywood, instruments and much more.