There are so many different wood types, hard wood , soft wood, sustainable wood, tropical wood. Today we will look at some of these examples and explore the world of Malaysia Wood…
Malaysian wood is still very popular today. When this wood comes from far off shores, it is easy to forget about the environmental impact that this deforestation will have on the natural environment.
You may see the latest Malaysian wooden stool or kitchen cabinet from Malaysia. Before you buy – you should really consider – Is this sustainable? Among other things.
Malaysia is home to some of the most diverse habitats in the world for a number of increasingly endangered animals. Over 80% of Malaysia’s largest Rainforest has been cleared from logging. Due to this; these forests are thought to be extinct by 2020. So next time you are planning to buy a new bedroom set from Malaysia, I suggest making sure that you are buying sustainable products.
Malaysian Rubber Wood
Malaysian Rubber wood is a lightly coloured , medium density tropical hardwood. It is the wood from rubber trees, used to make rubber. Because of this nature, this wood is often deemed to be more sustainable than other tropical hardwoods, as the plantations of rubber trees – once used to harvest rubber already exist and have already served a useful purpose. Rubber Wood density is around 500kg/m^3. This means it is moderately heavy.
Rubber Wood Furniture Disadvantages
Rubber wood has a denseness in its grain that makes it not adhere to more intricate furniture making practices. That being said, it is fine for lower grade products, and more rustic looking furniture items. Think Malaysian Wood Doors, or Malaysian Wood Furniture.
It is also prone to warping and twisting when it is in the drying stage. After this the wood does harden significantly.
It is also not sustainable. The main issue is that Rubberwood is not the problem – where to grow the trees is. These tree farms are made by clearing the rainforest, and there lies the problem. Displacing a lot of animals, and destroying ecosystems of many other flora and fauna.
Rubberwood can also be transformed to plywood, which can be made into many different items, or simply used as a building material. Many people do not agree with hardwood being used for menial products such as rubber wood chips playgrounds, and mulch. This depends on the product – but sometimes the wood that is transformed into chips is the extra and spare material, meaning it is environmentally friendly.
You may see Bedside tables or modern vintage effect French furniture made from Malaysia Oak, or rubber wood ply. These look great and the lightness of the grain can lighten up a space.
You may have heard this term flying around lately. Malaysian Oak is also known as Rubberwood. This was partially a marketing tactic, but also because it is a hardwood and very strong. Malaysian Oak Dining tables are very popular worldwide, as its light colour and appealing grain mean it is a perfect table for meal times.
This is also an Alias of Rubber wood. The latin name being ‘Hevea Brasiliensis’. Hevea wood hardness is widely known as semi-durable. Also known as Para Wood. The resin of this tree is known as Rubber.
Rubber wood vs Solid Wood
Although Rubber wood is a hardwood, it is considered as a more medium level hardwood than some other woods. A rubber tree is said to reach maturity at around 13 years old.
Pure Hard woods – such as Oak , ash or beech reach maturity at a minimum of 100 years old. So this rate of growth means Rubber wood is almost 100% more sustainable than a regular hardwood.
Rubber Wood vs Teak Wood
Malaysian Oak and Teak are fairly similar materials – both have a similar density and interesting grain. The main difference is that Teak wood is one of the world’s most endangered wood species. For this reason, it is not eco friendly, or sustainable in any way due to the logging practices and destructive nature of these illegal processes used to harvest it.
For this reason, Rubber Wood should be your go to, if you are deciding between these woods, as they are very similar in appearance, strength and hardness.
To be even more eco friendly , you should opt for bamboo, a much faster growing wood, durable and strong, and environmentally friendly.
Is Rubberwood Toxic?
Rubber Wood is not toxic, but if you have rubber or latex allergies, you may want to avoid it. This is the naturally occurring resin and sap that comes from the Para tree.
Can You Stain Rubber Wood?
Yes – this process will be the same as staining any other hard wood. It may require more than one coat, but Rubber Wood is easy to stain. A great way to bring out that natural grain too!
How To Stain Rubber Wood?
You will need:
- A breathing Mask
- Wood stain
- Make sure you shake the wood stain before you open
- Stir the stain so it has all mixed together, this is important so it doesn’t go on the wood clumpy
- Paint the wood wirth the stain. Make sure you are using a thin layer and it is not too thick.
- You may need to wait for it to dry and reapply another coat
Rubber Wood vs Pine
Rubber wood vs Pinewood is a question often asked. Some people want their furniture to look a certain way and think tropical hardwood is the only way to achieve this. Both woods are light in colour, pine being slightly lighter. There are many types of pine; Scots pine is a popular tree, known for its hardness and density. ‘Pinus Strobus’ is known as a soft wood. It also has the benefit of growing very fast – some trees growing up to 8 feet per year.
Rubber Wood vs Oak
Oak is a hardwood and it takes 100 years to fully mature. It is a lot more dense than Rubber Wood and can be intricately carved unlike its competitor. Rubber Wood is probably more sustainable than Oak, as some has been used for previous reasons, and some would class it as a by-product.
Oak has a beautiful orange like tone, and natural grain. Rubber wood is more light, and has a natural grain that is less delicate, more like teak.
Rubber Wood Price
Rubber wood is a decent price, it is on the market at around $60 per cubic feet. The cost price is similar to White ash. Some other tropical hardwoods are a lot more expensive because of their rarity, and scarceness.
Essentially, Blackwood is Ebony. This beautiful black wood is seldom available to buyers, as it is listed as incredibly vulnerable/prone to endangerment because of illegal logging. When it is available, this wood is very expensive, comparable to Ebony in cost. This is a pure hardwood; Is is two times heavier than Malaysian Oak for example. This is not at all sustainable or an eco friendly wood.
Malay Style Interior Design
The interior design is also heavily influenced by the natural materials that are found in the natural environment. To find out more, it helps to explore traditional malaysian architecture, history and future. We will look at interior design, and furniture found in malaysia.
Rooted In Tradition
Malaysian architecture history is rooted in change, conflict and tradition. In its largest city (Kuala Lumpur) you will find examples of classic islamic design, colonialism and traditional asian features. The architecture generally includes using the space, with indoors and outdoors melding together to create a flowing experience.
Traditional Malay Interior Design
Traditional homes are often built on stilt foundations, to keep them elevated from the forest floor where there could be snakes or tigers. Because of its geographical situation, some parts of malaysia can be prone to flooding, so this is also an easy way to protect from the more immediate elements.
They generally also have a gabled roof to help with air and ventilation, and partitioned rooms.
Malay homes are generally decorated or painted to look more ornate. You may notice a communal living area and a set bedroom space. This partitioning system makes it more functional than a fully open plan house.
Malay House Interior
Malaysian interior design is just like any other across the globe. Especially Kuala Lumpur, this is a very fast growing city, and has some impressive views. You may want to follow some Malaysian interior design blogs to see what the latest trends are. Container Houses are also becoming popular in Malaysia.
These houses are traditionally not made with any metal screws or nails, and generally fit in place through pre-cut elements. This essentially makes it a Malaysian prefab house. The materials most generally used are bamboo, wood and reeds for the roof. This is an example of modular construction Malaysia.
Bamboo is a more sustainable wood, only taking 3-5 years from planting to harvest. This makes it an excellent building material for these types of project.
I hope I have shed some light on Malaysian wood types and the history of these materials. Make sure you do your research before you buy to make sure you are getting a sustainable, responsibly logged product. Really, in this age, we should be thinking about recycling, up-cycling and buying more used furniture, rather than having everything new. There are also cost benefits to this, as well as lessening your carbon footprint.