Section of Dark Red Meranti
Section of Light Red Meranti
Typical buttress of a Meranti tree.
Tree crown of a Shorea multiflora
Lauan, Meranti, Seraya, Pacific
Maple, Philippine Mahogany
Pacific Maple is the common trading name for a number of S.E.Asian hardwoods marketed in Australia. Sometimes
just called Maple, the individual species names are also used when
The species are;Lauan,Meranti
seems more determined by the area of supply than any botanical difference
with the timber being called Meranti when coming
from Malaysia, Seraya from Indonesia
and Lauan from the Philippines.
This grouping of what
could be called light to medium hardwoods grow in a wide range of terrains
from just above sea level to moderately high mountainous areas and are
fairly large trees reaching average heights between 50 to 60 metres.
Meranti is by far the dominant species in
this Shorea timber grouping but all have similar
timber of these species are usually divided into two groups ie Light Red and Dark Red, and is more based on wood
density than on heartwood colour.
Light Red of the species
are the more common , with the timber relatively
easy to work. Heartwood is pale pink to mid red-brown, while the Sapwood is
usually yellow, pink or grey and easily distinguished. Texture is course
but even. Grain interlocked which may give a stripped or ribbon affect to
the radial surface.
Dark Red, as the name
implies is usually darker, being medium red to deep redbrown
with the Sapwood not as easily identified, but it is the much higher
density and uniformity of colour that sets it aside.
Philippine Mahogany is the
other major trading name used for the Shorea
species when sourced from the Philippines and normally applies to the Lauan
grouping, again using the differentiation of Light Red, Dark Red and White
with similar Timber Properties applying; however they tend to be at the
higher end of the average density ratings.
The sapwood of all the Shorea spp. are lyctid borer susceptible
and should be correctly treated during the manufacturing process. It is an
offence in New South Wales and Queensland to have
available for sale any finishing timber which is not suitably treated and
therefore rendering the timber safe from attack.
All the timber, with one
exception, works well particularly with hand tools however some adjustment
to machine knives and saw blades may be necessary due to the variation in
density and grain patterns when processing large or mixed volumes because
of the slight differences in the individual species. The one exception is
White Meranti, Shorea bracteolata, which contains an appreciable amount of
silica. The silica does vary depending on the area of supply but usually
causes major problems when sawing by quickly dulling the cutting edges and
special knife blades would be needed when planning to obtain a satisfactory
Most of the timber species
finish well, although some exhibit a furry or woolly finish because of the
interlocked grain which will usually be overcome with sanding. The wood
glues well and takes nails and screws, although some localised
tearing of the grain can occur when being cross cut and predrilling
is recommended near the ends to avoid splitting.
spp are used for most internal applications
particularly for domestic finishing timber such as skirtings,
architraves, door jambs, wall panelling and
general joinery. The higher density material, usually the Dark Red, has
long been prized for staircase building, entrance doors and furniture and
sometimes for window frames and sashes although this latter practice is now
not recommended because of the low durability rating.
With a full range of sizes
and many profiles widely available, the Meranti/
Pacific Maple/ Philippine Mahogany grouping of species are the most recognised and used finishing timbers throughout Australia.
Light Red 500kg/m3 dry
Dark Red 680kg/m3 dry
Light Red SD7 dry
Dark RedSD6 dry
Light Red 2.6kN dry
Dark Red 3.5kN dry