Red meranti trees appearance and lumber
Red meranti 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 shorea tree species and all part of the dipterocarpaceae family. These trees grow in the tropical rainforests all throughout Asia and are famous for their hardwood properties. Red meranti is a classification term based on wood properties like color, hardness, density and weight. Trees like shorea leprosula and shorea ovalis produce top quality red meranti!
Red meranti trees, leaves and fruits description
The tallest meranti 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. Red meranti leaves can reach lengths up to 12 inches or 32 cm and vary in color from light to dark green and yellow.
The term dipterocarp from the dipterocarpaceae family means two winged fruit. It is a bit misleading because not all meranti trees have two winged fruits. The fruits of some tree species have up to five wings. They are all egg shaped with seeds inside.
These seeds contain high levels of oil used for cattle feed or as a fuel source for cooking.
Red meranti 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. Meranti 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 vary in diameter. Older trees can have long and straight trunks with a diameter over 10 feet or 3 meters.
Red meranti wood properties and durability
Fresh red meranti heartwood is pale brown to dark red colored and darkens when exposed to sunlight. The sapwood is paler then the heartwood. The wood has a straight or interlocked grain and moderate coarse texture. Red meranti is not as heavy as dark red meranti. The average dried weight of the wood at a moisture content of 12% is 670 kg per cubic meter. The durability of red meranti is classed as III moderate durability.
Red meranti wood working tips and uses
Red meranti 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.
Red meranti 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. Red meranti can be glued well but due to its high density it is advised to use special heavy duty glue.
Fresh lumber contains resin and needs to dry well before handling. Don't panic if you spot small pin holes in the meranti. Those are results of the wood wasps and the capricorn beetles when the tree was alive.
Red meranti is used in a wide range of products like
- heavy construction
- high quality cabinery
- and more!