Ara

INTRODUCTION

The common Malaysian name for the timber of Ficus spp. (Moraceae). Vernacular names applied include arah (Sabah) and kayu ara (Sabah). Major species include F. callosa, F. fistulosa, F. lamponga, F. magnoliifolia, F. microcarpa, F. racemosa, F. sundaica, F. superba, F. tinctoria, F. variegata, F. vasculosa, F. virens and F. viridicarpa. The sapwood is not differentiated from the heartwood, which is light yellow-brown or in various shades of yellow to pink-grey.

Also known as Fig (India); Ara, Bunut, Karet and Kundang (Indonesia); Deua kiang, Mai deaua kham and Mai do (Laos); Nyaung (Myanmar); Papua New Guinea fig (Papua New Guinea); Balete (Philippines); Sai (Thailand); and Chi da and Sung (Vietnam).


DENSITY

The timber is soft and light and it is classified as a Light Hardwood with a density of 350-640 kg/m3 air dry.


NATURAL DURABILITY

The timber is non-durable.


PRESERVATIVE TREATMENT

The timber is extremely easy to treat.


TEXTURE

Texture is slightly coarse and uneven due to the presence of abundant parenchyma. Grain is interlocked.


STRENGTH PROPERTIES

The timber falls into Strength Group D (Burgess, 1958) or SG 7 (MS 544:Part 2:2001).


MACHINING PROPERTIES

It is easy to moderately easy to resaw and easy to cross-cut. Planing is easy and the surface produced is smooth to moderately smooth.


AIR DRYING

The timber seasons fairly rapidly, with a moderate amount of twisting and a slight amount of cupping and bowing as the main sources of degrade. The timber is also very prone to sapstain fungal attack. 13 mm thick boards take approximately 2.5 months to air dry, while 38 mm thick boards take 3 months.


SHRINKAGE

Shrinkage is rather low, with radial shrinkage averaging 1% and tangential shrinkage averaging 2.2%.


MOVEMENT IN SERVICE

The movement of seasoned timber is classified under Type II.


USES

The timber is suitable for plywood, disposable chopsticks, packing boxes and crates, wooden sandals, panelling, mouldings and ornamental items.


REFERENCES

  1. Burgess, H.J. 1958. Strength Grouping of Malaysian Timbers. Malayan Forest Service Trade Leaflet No. 25. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 15 pp.
  2. Menon, P.K.B. 1986. Uses of Some Malaysian Timbers. Revised by Lim, S.C. Timber Trade Leaflet No. 31. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 48 pp.
  3. MS 544:Part 2:2001. Code of Practice for the Structural Use of Timber: Permissible Stress Design of Solid Timber.
  4. Wong, T.M. 1982. A Dictionary of Malaysian Timbers. Revised by Lim, S.C. & Chung R.C.K. Malayan Forest Records No. 30. Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 201 pp.