White meranti trees appearance and lumber
White 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. White meranti is a classification term based on wood properties like color, hardness, density and weight. Trees like shorea assamica and shorea bracteolata produce top quality white meranti!
White 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. White 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.
White 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.
White meranti wood properties and durability
Fresh white meranti heartwood is white to pale brown colored and darkens to golden yellow when exposed to sunlight. Sapwood is even paler then the heartwood! The wood has a straight or interlocked grain and moderate coarse texture. White meranti is moderate heavy almost the same as red meranti. The average dried weight of the wood at a moisture content of 12% is 680 kg per cubic meter. The durability of white meranti is classed as III moderate durability.
White meranti wood working tips and uses
White 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.
White 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. White 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.
White meranti is used in a wide range of products like
- and more!