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Species – Merbau

Species Information - Merbau

Species Information

Merbau – or Intsia bijuga – is a species of flowering tree that is part of the pea family (Fabaceae) native to the Indo-Pacific. It grows to as tall as 160 feet with a tall and highly buttressed trunk, and is found within mangrove forests.

While the leaves of this tree are often used in traditional medicines, the tree’s timber is what’s most sought after in the world. Merbau is extremely durable and termite-resistant. These qualities make it ideal for flooring purposes.

However, the wood can also be used to extract die. Merbau has been known to contain a gold fleck throughout the grain, which is coveted by many.

Merbau has undergone extensive logging, making it an endangered species in many places in Southeast Asia. In fact, in some regions the tree is nearly extinct. However, extensive amounts can still be made available, as was evident with the 2008 Summer Olympics in China in a venue built specifically for the games.

Featuring a high degree of durability and strength, Merbau is often used in engineering, construction and marine applications.

Merbau has been the victim of illegal logging, according to Greenpeace. New Zealand (which refers to the timber as Kwila), have made attempts to stop it from being imported.

Ipil is the official tree of the United States territory Guam.

Scientific Names

The scientific name for Merbau is Intsia bijuga.

Origin

The growth of Merbau ranges from Tanzania and Madagascar through India, Australia, and Samoa.

Crossover Names

The Intsia bijuga tree is known as Ipil, Lumpha, Kwila, Vesi and Tat-talun. In the Philippines it’s also known as Taal. It’s also spelled, often, as “Merbeau.”

Janka Rating

Merbau has a Janka hardness rating of 1,925.

Merbau Janka Scale Rating 1,925

*The Janka rating measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. Click Here for more info.

Appearance

Merbau appears slightly orange-brown when freshly cut. But as the wood ages, the color turns to a reddish-brown. This is in stark contrast to the white or pale-yellow color of the Merbau sapwood. As such, Merbau is known to have a significant variation between floorboards. You may also find small yellow mineral deposits found throughout the wood, which makes it easier to discern Merbau from imposters or lookalikes. The grain of Merbau is interlocked with a coarse texture and a moderate, natural luster.

Workability

Merbau glues and finishes well, although it can be difficult to saw due to gumming and dulling of teeth. It emits a unique smell when being sawed or sanded, which can cause irritation and sneezing. Because of its versatility, Merbau is used for larger-scale projects often, as well as for common outdoor settings and joinery and fitting purposes.

CLICK HERE to view all of our Merbau hardwood flooring.

Click below for a detailed discription of the different species of hardwood.

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