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Meranti

 

INTRODUCTION

The Standard Malaysian Name for the dark red and lightweight timber of the genus Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae). Vernacular names used include meranti (Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak) with various epithets, seraya (Sabah) with various epithets, nemesu (Peninsular Malaysia), nemusu (Peninsular Malaysia), seraya (Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah), obar suluk (Sabah) and also various local names too numerous to list here. Major species producing this timber include S. acuminata (partly), S. argentifolia, S. curtisii, S. ovata, S. monticola, S. pauciflora, S. platyclados and S. slootenii. The sapwood is pink with a grey tinge and is not clearly defined from the heartwood, which is medium red to deep red to deep red-brown.  


DENSITY

The timber is a Light Hardwood with a density of 415-885 kg/m3 air dry.


NATURAL DURABILITY

The standard graveyard tests on untreated specimens carried out by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) have classified dark red meranti as moderately durable with an average service life ranging from about 2.0 years (S. singkawang) to 3.9 years (S. platyclados). For the species S. curtisii, S. pauciflora, S. platyclados and S. acuminata, the heartwood is classified as moderately durable (with an average service life of 2-5 years). Similar tests on S. pauciflora at Princess Risborough (U.K.) have indicated that the timber is moderately durable with a service life of 10-15 years (under temperate conditions). The sapwood of dark red meranti is susceptible to dry-wood termite attacks, which may eventually spread to the heartwood. However, an initial invasion of the heartwood is less likely to occur. Untreated timber of S. curtisii was only slightly attacked by marine borers after eight months submergence at Port Klang (Thomas, 1933). Preliminary work done by Oliver & Woods (1957, 1959) have tentatively classified dark red meranti as resistant to such attacks.


PRESERVATIVE TREATMENT

The timber is difficult to treat with preservatives. Generally, it was found that all forms of meranti (including dark red meranti) absorb less preservative than kempas and keruing when subjected to identical treatments.  


TEXTURE

Texture is moderately coarse and even, with interlocked grain. 


STRENGTH PROPERTIES

The timber falls into Strength Group C (Engku, 1988b) or SG 5 (MS 544:Part 2:2001).


Strength Properties of Dark Red Meranti

Species

Test Condition

Modulus of Elasticity(MPa)

Modulus of Rupture(MPa)

Compression parallel to grain (MPa)

Compression perpendicular to grain (MPa)

Shear strength (MPa)

S. acuminata

Green

10,500

54

27.4

2.41

6.3

Air dry

-

-

-

-

-

S. curtisii

Green

12,800

69

36.3

3.86

7.2

Air dry

13,900

90

45.4

5.03

8.0

S. pauciflora

Green

12,700

71

37.7

3.45

7.5

Air dry

-

-

-

-

-

S. platyclados

Green

11,300

58

30.0

2.69

6.3

Air dry

12,100

77

39.6

4.14

8.7

S. singkawang

Green

10,100

55

31.8

3.03

7.6

Air dry

11,200

74

38.8

2.97

8.3

  
MACHINING PROPERTIES

It is easy to saw and work and produces a smooth planed surface.


Machining Properties Dark Red Meranti

Species

Test Condition

Sawing

Planing

Boring

Turning

Re-sawing

Cross Cutting

Ease of planing

Quality of finish

Ease of boring

Quality of finish

Ease of turning

Quality of finish

S. acuminata (part only; the darker coloured varieties)

Green

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

easy

moderately smooth

S. curtisii

Green

easy

easy

easy

smooth to slightly smooth

easy

smooth

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

moderately smooth

easy

smooth

-

-

S. pauciflora

Green

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

S. platyclados

Green

very easy

easy

easy

smooth

moderately easy

smooth

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

smooth

moderately easy

smooth

easy

smooth

S. singkawang

Green

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

rough

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

slightly rough

easy

smooth


NAILING PROPERTY

The nailing property is rated as good.


AIR DRYING

The seasoning properties of some species tested are summarised below:

Species

Time to air dry (months)

Remarks

13 mm thick boards

38 mm thick boards

S. curtisii

2

3

Fairly fast drying; free from seasoning defects.

S. pauciflora

2.5

4

Fairly fast drying; free from seasoning defects.

S. platyclados

2

4

Fairly fast drying; free from seasoning defects.

S. singkawang

3

5

Fairly slow drying rate; free from seasoning defects.

 

 

KILN-DRYING

Kiln Schedule F is recommended. The timber dries rapidly without any degrade.


Kiln Schedule F 

Moisture Content (%)

Temperature (Dry Bulb)

Temperature (Wet Bulb)

Relative Humidity (%) (approx.)

F

C

F

C

Green

120

48.5

111

44.0

75

60

120

48.5

109

43.0

70

40

125

51.5

109

43.5

60

30

130

54.5

109

43.0

50

25

140

60.0

115

46.0

45

20

155

68.0

124

51.0

40

10

170

76.5

136

58.0

40


 

SHRINKAGE

The shrinkage of some species tested is summarised below:

Species

Shrinkage (%) (Green to air dry)

Remarks

Radial

Tangential

S. curtisii

2

4.1

High shrinkage

S. pauciflora

1.7

2.9

High shrinkage

S. platyclados

2.1

4.4

High shrinkage

S. singkawang

1.1

3.4

Fairly high shrinkage, especially in the tangential direction.

  

MOVEMENT IN SERVICE

The movement of seasoned timber is classified under Type I and Type II.


DEFECTS

All timbers in the meranti group are liable to be attacked by shot-hole and pin-hole beetles, but the attack is usually not serious in species of dark red meranti. Although most of these attacks take place in the living trees, any delay in extraction after felling may also lead to serious damage. Spongy heart is a common defect in the red meranti group. Timber with this defect is exceptionally brittle and may result in compression failure and the corresponding reduction in strength properties. In a study of logs of dark red meranti and light red meranti from Perak state, about 30 logs of seraya (S. curtisii), over 40 logs of nemesu (S. pauciflora) and more than 100 logs of light red meranti were found to contain varying degree of spongy heart. This presence of spongy heart was less severe and also less spread in dark red meranti than in light red meranti . But large sized logs of dark red meranti (both seraya and nemesu) tend to rot away at the centre leaving a hollow core with active termite attack on the fringes (Mohd. Alwy, 1961). One prominent feature of dark red meranti is the presence of exceptionally numerous and conspicuous lines of resin canals, which may be objectional to some user. Small resin pockets are present but they are seldom numerous. One case was noted in which abnormally large horizontal resin canals in S. ovata marred the appearance of the sawn timber.


USES

The timber is suitable for joinery, furniture, high class interior finishing, flooring, decking, panelling, partitioning, mouldings, skirtings, fancy doors, door and window frames and sills, staircase (angle blocks, rough bracket and tread), plywood, railway sleepers, posts, beams, joists, rafters, pallets (expendable type), vehicle bodies (framework, floor boards and planking), ship and boat building (keels, keelsons, framework and general planking), cooling tower (non structural members) and other light constructional works.

 




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