Merbau Wood is a type of high-quality hardwood produced from trees belonging to the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) tribe. In fact, because of the hardness level, this tree has the nickname ironwood in the Maluku and West Papua regions.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Indonesia, such as Papua New Guinea, Merbau trees are known as kwila. Then in international or English, it has the names Mirabow, Moluccan ironwood, Malacca teak, and so on.
Merbau is a tree that grows to a medium to large size, reaching 50 meters, with a free trunk of approximately 20 meters.
This tree has tall and thick buttressed roots. The colour of the Merbau is light grey and pale brown, smooth and accompanied by small lenticel nodules, and forms round scales when peeled off.
The Merbau tree has two pairs of leaflets, except for the tip leaves, which only have a pair of leaflets. Merbau leaves are slanted asymmetrically oval. These leaves are obtuse at the ends and rounded at the base. The leaf surface is bare and smooth, and the main veins have long hairs on the underside.
Merbau flowers are gathered in corals at the terminal and end up to 10 cm long with fine hairs. White flower crown which will turn red when mature. Moreover, the stamens are red and purple.
Merbau trees (Intsia bijuga), called ipil, mostly grow in coastal areas, precisely behind the mangrove forest growing zone.
Origin, Distribution & Habitat Merbau Wood
Merbau trees grow and spread in many places. The habitat of this tree starts from Tanzania and Madagascar, southern India and Myanmar, Malaysia and Malaysia, and then northern Australia and Polynesia.
In Indonesia, Merbau can be found on the islands of Sumatra (North Sumatra, Aceh, Riau, Palembang, Lampung, Jambi), the islands of Kalimantan (South Kalimantan and West Kalimantan, the islands of Sulawesi, Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, Papua and the islands of Java.
Merbau is a tree suitable for growing in wet tropical forests in the lowland vegetation zone with sandy and rocky soil in areas near the coast or brackish forest.
The wood from the Merbau tree is known as hardwood and has excellent durability. In terms of the durability of wood, Merbau is included in classes 1 and 2. Therefore, Merbau is ensured to be a good and quality raw material for furniture or furniture products.
Because of its strong resistance, wood-destroying insects such as termites are not attracted to Merbau. Of course, this advantage provides benefits. Namely, Merbau wood is suitable for sills and window materials. However, it has difficulties in carrying out the production process.
The following are the characteristics of Merbau :
- The colour of the wood on the terrace is grey-brown or yellow-brown to bright red-brown and even tends to be black. Meanwhile, the colour of the sapwood is pale yellow to light yellow.
- Merbau has a rough texture and a smooth surface when touched.
- The grain direction of Merbau is in the same direction as the grain is straight.
- Included in the class of very hard wood.
- Merbau wood has a high level of durability that is resistant to dry wood fungus and termites. Therefore, in the durable wood class,
- Merbau is included in classes 1 and 2 and strong classes 1 and 2.
- Merbau wood has a low shrinkage rate and low cracking power. So, if drying is done, the level of wood damage is very small.
- The process of working with Merbau wood is a high level of difficulty. Even so, this wood is still popular for construction and interior materials.
From the properties and characteristics of Merbau wood, conclusions can be drawn about the advantages and disadvantages of Merbau wood. In the field of civil engineering, this wood has the advantage of being strong and durable for construction use, resistant to attack by wood insects, and good stability of wood.
However, Merbau wood has weaknesses, namely the relatively expensive price and the processing process, which is difficult because of its high hardness. The difficulty in question is that when nailing Merbau wood, the nails are often bent; when planning wood using crabs, the crabs have to be sharpened frequently. It is common for saw blades to break when cutting Merbau wood.
Benefits of Merbau Wood
Construction beams, railroad sleepers, pillars and bearings for houses and bridges often use Merbau . Not without reason, because this wood has excellent durability, strength and appearance.