Keruing or also known as Brownwood and becomes more and more popular as utilization material for indoors and outdoors. Many people are looking for affordable solutions which are durable, and the Keruing gains more and more fans every day. We have done a research about the quality and features of the wood and want to share with you what we have found out. There are several things you should know about Keruing, where it comes from, how it looks like, and what it is used for.
Where Does It Come From?
There are approximately 30 species of Dipterocarpus in South-East Asia. Still, the timber wood is usually described as coming from one species even if the different species influence color, weight, and some other qualities. The exporting countries are usually not aware or do not pay attention o the exact species. Keruing is most dominant in the Indo-Malayan region. They grow in different climate and soil conditions. The trees are usually tall or medium. The wood is classified as very strong and hard which makes it very popular and usable.
It can be compared to teak in terms of strength but is far more resistant to shock loads (e.g. 40%) and more rigid.
What is Keruing?
Keruing is classified as hardwood, and it comes from South East Asia. It can be used for both, internal and external purposes. It is known under a variety of names, so do not be confused when you come across names like Panau, Dau Eng, Dipterocarpus spp., Dipterocarpus cornutus, etc. Basically, its alternative names usually include the term Dipterocarpus (coming from Greek), which represents a flowering plant and the third largest and divers type among Dipterocarpaceae. They are known for timber and wood products.
Keruing refers to timber made from 70 species of the Dipterocarpus genus. The wood is usually collected in forests which are regulated and subject to regeneration processes. The species can generate deep-pink, purple-red, orange-pink, and read-brown (the most common) heartwood. The older the wood gets, the darker it becomes. The texture is always uniform though it can range from rough to fine wood.
Is Keruing Becoming Extinct?
It is yet not 100% clear if the Dipterocarpus falls under the category of endangered species because it has been over-exploited over the years. Some say that it is an endangered species, but it does not appear in the CITES Appendices. The CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an agreement signed among governments on an international level to keep endangered species in check. Their main goal is to supervise that international trade does not threaten the survival of wildlife and plants. Timber ranks very high among the supervised products and goods. Countries and states join CITES on a voluntary basis and it is binding to some extent, but still it is not a national law and serves more as a general framework to be respected.
Purpose and Use
Keruing wood does not require detailed maintenance and is therefore very suitable for outdoor furniture. Since the wood is solid and moderately durable, it can last a long time and withstand different weathers and climates. It is also used in construction. Often it is used for indoor flooring, panel and framework constructions, moldings, and others. Railway ties, crossties, and wooden cross-arms are also often made of the preservative-treated wood.
Keruing is often used in construction for decking, crossties, etc., instead of the very expensive oak. It is an affordable and high-quality material for multiple purposes. One of Keruing’s advantages includes that it is ready for application and never needs curing like other woods. It does not leach, but it has oleoresins which will appear on the surface during the drying process or when exposed to sun or heat. It is commonly used as plywood in numerous households.
If you would like to try out Keruing Plywood, you have to pay attention to the species. There are different of them. The quality of the material depends heavily on the species it has been produced of.
The material is easily operated by hands or machinery tools. So, you will not have a problem with cutting it or making something out of it. The only disadvantage when working with it is that your cutters will not be sharp as before. The wood has a significant amount of silica which dulls the sharp edges of tools. As we already mentioned that it releases oleoresins during drying, that might stay on the operating tools and clog them, and it affects wood finishing.
Even if Keruing is known for large-scale exports, it is not very common in North America, except in the form of lumber or flooring planks.
Nevertheless, Keruing is very popular for its variability in color, weight, uniformity and is easy to work with. The main distribution points are India, Cambodia, Burma, Sri Lanka, the Andamans, South Vietnam, and the Philippines.
The Drying Process
This wood dries slowly. Moreover, uniform drying is hard to achieve, especially in thick stock. If it is exposed to heat and high temperatures, it causes problems with the resin exudation, and it has to be handled with care. It also shrinks when drying. It is extremely popular as a flooring material and is recommended to be stored outside. The risk of distortion is very high during the drying process, but there is no risk of collapse.
When it comes to sawing, there is a certain risk of blunting effect. It should be sawed with saws with stellite-tipped teeth, and the wood is not suitable for peeling, only cutting. If you want to insert nails or screws, you have to pre-bore the holes. It can be glued with no complications but with attention due to the amount of resin present.
Resistance and Features
According to analysis and assessment of the overall performance of the wood, the following has been determined:
It is resistant to fungi to some degree and classifies as moderately durable. It is also durable to insects borers, while its resistance to termites is susceptible. Permeability (the tolerance to let liquids and gases pass through) is very poor, whereas its stability is somewhere between poor and moderate. The saturation point for fibers reaches 35%. The texture varies from straight to interlocked, whereby it usually appears as a homogenous surface varying from yellowish to reddish brown.
We already said that the primary function is flooring. Others include stairs, vehicle or container flooring (heavy carpentry), exterior panelling (bridges, but only the parts with no contact with water or ground), interior joinery (panelling), ship building (decks and panels), veneer for the front or back of plywood ( crates, boxes, etc.).
Keruing is not very expensive, and that is one of the reasons why it is very popular with many export countries. The prices vary from $20 per piece to $150/$300 per cubic meter. The price depends on the provider, structure, quality and size. There is usually a minimum order, e.g. minimum order of 20 or 50 cubic meters because smaller orders are not accepted. This is probably due to its affordability and lower price range, so the providers need to get their share as well. It can be ordered by piece or cubic meter. Online orders are very common, and many Asian manufacturers offer direct transport to your country. This means that you do not have to look for an export company, but you can make a direct order (and probably get it cheaper) from its country of origin.
This article gives a very detailed description on Keruing Plywood and its origin, processing, features, quality and delivery. Many people love the quality and durability of the hardwood material, and they are more than satisfied to use it for flooring or their staircase. We have also seen that it is popular in construction and shipbuilding. All of this indicates that the material is worth trying considering the positive feedback and pricing. Of course, the plywood has its downsides as well, but they can be easily handled by preserving the wood from damaging effects.