Merbau Hardwood


Merbau (Intsia bijuga and I. palembanica) is a beautiful tropical hardwood with a wide range of uses. The heartwood is yellowish to orange-brown when freshly cut, but darkens to a deep red-brown as it matures. The grain can be straight, wavy or interlocked, and may form a ribbon figure on radial surfaces. Merbau has a moderately coarse but even texture, with an oily feel, and often a glossy surface. The sapwood is clearly demarcated from the heartwood and is whitish-grey to yellowish-brown. Vessel cavities may contain yellow deposits that can dye cloth.

Merbau is a highly versatile timber, suitable for a wide range of applications, from furniture and joinery to boatbuilding and much more. If you can source it from sustainable and legal sources, you can use Merbau as a beautiful, durable addition to your project.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Hintzy, Mirabow, Ipil, Kubok, Zolt, Lumpho, Kwila, Vesi,

Durability Notes:
Merbau wood is a durable timber.

The drying and seasoning of Merbau is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Merbau - seasons well with little impact on the grade and quality of the wood. Sealing is recommended to prevent end checking. Movement in service is small. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Merbau is tolerably heavy and hard, with medium stiffness, bending strength, bending strength and resistance to shock loads. The wood has tolerable steam-bending properties but high crushing strength. Merbau works well with hand tools but has a severe blunting effect. It, turns, drills, mortices, glues, stains, varnishes and paints well. Merbau needs pre-drilling for nailing and screwing.

Typical Uses:
Flooring, Decking, Furniture, Fences, Window Framing, Boat Building, Carpentry, Joinery.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about Merbau Wood

Is Merbau a hardwood or a softwood? Merbau is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Merbau hardwood or softwood? - Merbau is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Merbau family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Merbau? Merbau can be described as brown, dark brown, dark red, red

Is Merbau good for outdoor use? or is Merbau good for exterior use? Merbau is most suited for exterior/external use. Merbau can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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