What is Meranti Wood and What is it Used For?

meranti wood

Have you ever heard of meranti wood? Even if you haven’t heard of it, you have probably seen it without knowing exactly what it was. It is immensely abundant, often imported from Southeast Asia into the United States. It’s also known under several different names, the most common being Philippine mahogany. That’s right, when you see items that are made from mahogany, it very well could be meranti wood that was actually used. Some individuals use the terms interchangeably. If you want to know more about meranti wood and how it is used, keep reading.

Unique Traits

There are a lot of things about meranti wood that make it unique. For starters, it looks much different after it has been harvested and allowed to age in sunlight than it looks when it is first harvested. To a certain degree, this can be true for a lot of different kinds of wood. However, it is far more prevalent with this particular type of wood than it is with most others. Typically, it starts out being a very pale color, almost bland in its appearance. When it is first harvested, it may be a very pale yellow or even a gray color. However, the more that it is allowed to age in harsh sunlight, the more it turns a deep red color. Meranti wood that has been aged in sunlight for a significant amount of time almost looks like it has been stained with a red stain. It is one of the things that makes this particular type of wood so appealing to many individuals. In addition, it is considered to be a hard wood, but not so much so that it is impossible to work with. In fact, it falls almost squarely between oak and pine on the hardness scale. That means that it’s durable enough to stand up to a great deal of punishment, yet not so hard that it is difficult to work with for carpentry projects and the like. That makes it a wood that is highly sought after by many carpenters because it is easy to work with. As previously mentioned, it is also readily available. This is a word that is available in abundance and is typically shipped out to virtually every part of the globe in order to meet carpentry demands.

Easy to Work With

Carpenters that are doing specialized projects have a tendency to love meranti wood, largely because it is known for being incredibly easy to work with. Typically produced in long, straight pieces, it can easily be cut, turned and machined without doing damage to equipment or forcing carpenters to spend hours on end in the shop trying to get it just right. That is due in large part to the fact that it is not quite as hard as oak. In short, it’s a lot easier to work with than a so it’s more appealing to most contractors who need to do specialized work when it comes to their woodworking projects. The fact that it is typically shipped without a lot of faults in the wood also make it more appealing, as more of the wood can be used for the project as opposed to needing to filter out a lot of bad spots before work on the project itself can even begin.

It Doesn’t Warp Easily

Most people who routinely work with wood will tell you that one of the most frustrating things is being forced to deal with types of wood that warps easily or obtain mites. After all, it’s virtually impossible to build furniture or do any other type of carpentry project with wood that is so warped that it can scarcely even be used. Unfortunately, some types of wood have a tendency to do exactly that. Fortunately that is not the case with meranti wood. In fact, it is known for remaining straight, even under conditions that would cause most other types of wood to warp significantly. It’s also known for having a nice straight grain in the wood, making it a good option for furniture building. That said, it does need a rather significant amount of preparation after a project has been built using meranti wood. It is virtually impossible to use it successfully without preparing the surface by carefully sanding it and then finishing it with either paint or varnish.

Potential Drawbacks

As previously mentioned, meranti wood is typically used for woodworking projects such as Furniture building. Typically, it works well. However, this is not a wood that stands up to the test of time unless it has been properly finished. In fact, unfinished meranti wood has a tendency to decay rather rapidly, far more rapidly than many other types of wood. As a result, it virtually always has to be varnished or finished with a couple of coats of paint, as previously mentioned. That’s fine for most individuals, but there are those rare few people who want natural wood that isn’t varnished incorporated into their homes. Meranti wood is not a good option for these types of projects, as it simply will not stand up to the test of time. In addition, it is not the least bit resistant to any type of insects. Therefore, it is not ideal to use this type of wood in a climate where there are a lot of insects such as wood ants or termites. If meranti wood is used in these types of climates, it is crucial that measures be taken to mitigate the impact of these types of pests on the wood. Otherwise, a great deal of damage can be done very quickly.

At the end of the day, meranti wood can be used for a lot of different projects. In fact, many individuals incorporate it into home building where specific designs need to be cut into the wood in order to provide accent pieces. However, it’s not ideal to use it for any type of load-bearing columns or anything else because it doesn’t provide the strength necessary for such things, especially in situations where it could potentially be compromised by the presence of insects or severe weather. Aside from those issues, it is a versatile type of wood that can be used for furniture and other woodworking projects.

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