Light-red and dark-red meranti ranges in color from pale pink to pinkish-brown and medium to reddish-brown respectively. The Meranti has a straight grain with few variations. The sapwood will normally be a lighter shade of red than the heart wood. The meranti usually turns to a golden brown with age and continued exposure to sun light.
The Meranti is a tropical rainforest species found in luxuriant abundance throughout South East Asia and many other parts of the world. The Meranti thrives in well-drained, porous soils at low altitudes. Under ideal climatic conditions, a meranti tree can reach 200' in height with a trunk diameter of at least 6'.
Characteristics of Meranti
● The wood has a medium to coarse fibrous texture with open pores. The dark red meranti’s coarse structure makes it difficult for surface treatment to attain a sealed surface coat. Meranti is actually quite durable when used outdoors.
●The wood also contains pigmented substances which are water-soluble.● The light red meranti is a softwood and not very resistant to insects and termite attacks and has little resistance to decay and rot. The wood is structurally stable and is quite resistant to twisting or warping.
● The sapwood is susceptible to preservatives but not so the heartwood using current commercial processes, thus surface treatment is not easily done. The timber can be stained, polished or painted but the open grain requires surfaces filling before the wood can be finished. Sanding is all that's needed before finishing. After milling and sanding, the wood readily accepts stain and subsequent top coats.
● The wood is very workable because of its straight grain composition and thus takes well to machinery use i.e. planners and surfacers. So it easily machines, cuts, mills and sands. However, if blunt planning tools are used, the surface of the wood may splinter. The wood takes well to gluing too.
Applications of Meranti
The Meranti is a choice wood selected by boat builders, cabinet makers, furniture makers, door and window producers. Builders and crafters from Malaysia to its neighbouring countries view this wood on its following benefits: ● its affordability due in part to its numerous subspecies, its ability to grow and proliferate and its availability.
● its richness in colour and beautiful grains
● it machines well
● it has a greater yield
● it has a lower waste ratio
● it is moderately durable
Meranti is a wood of commercial significance on a world-wide basis. This is because the Meranti is able to produce long, straight pieces of lumber because of its characteristic straight-grain consistency which are highly regarded for its commercial value. The Meranti is noted for a variety of applications either interior or exterior.
The wood in its lumber form is best used for making boats, millwork, furniture, cabinets, window frames, door, trims, molding, flooring, ceilings and light structural framing.
As veneer, the wood is manufactured into plywood, cabinets, hollow-core doors and plywood panelling. Light red meranti is best used for decorative applications including mouldings, paneling, plywood, turnery, flooring, joinery, furniture and carvings as well.