Chempaka

INTRODUCTION

The Standard Malaysian Name as well as the ASEAN Standard Name for the timber of the family Magnoliaceae. Vernacular names applied include chempaka with various epithets in almost all parts of the country, e.g. chempaka bulu (Sabah), chempaka hutan (Peninsular Malaysia), kepayang ambok (Sabah), ketapang ambok (Sabah) and very often medang (Peninsular Malaysia) with various epithets in error, e.g. medang limo (Peninsular Malaysia). Major species include Magnolia bintuluensis, M. candolli var. obovata, M. champaca, M. elegans, M. montana, M. scortechinii and M. tsiampacca subsp. mollis. The sapwood is white to light yellow and is moderately distinct from the heartwood, which is light brown with a green tinge.

Also known as Oulia champa and Sefan (India); Champ, Kempaka and Utap-utap (Indonesia); Champa (Laos); Sagawa (Myanmar); Champaka and Sandit (Philippines); Bapu and Sapu (Sri Lanka); Champa (Thailand); and Gioi and Su (Vietnam).


DENSITY

The timber is moderately soft and light to moderately heavy with a density of 300-705 kg/m3 air dry.


NATURAL DURABILITY

The timber is moderately durable.


TEXTURE

Texture is moderately fine and even, with straight grain.


MACHINING PROPERTIES

The timber is reported to work easily and produces a smooth finish.


AIR DRYING

It seasons fairly slowly, without any serious defects except for some insect attacks. 13 mm thick boards take approximately 2 months to air dry, while 38 mm thick boards take 4 months.


SHRINKAGE

Shrinkage is fairly low, with radial shrinkage averaging 1.2% and tangential shrinkage averaging 1.4%.


MOVEMENT IN SERVICE

The movement of seasoned timber is classified under Type III.


USES

The timber is suitable for light construction, interior finishing, joinery, cabinet making, panelling and partitioning, furniture, flooring, pallets (expendable type) and staircase (angle blocks, balusters, balustrades, riser, tread, bullnose, round ends and winder, rough brackets and apron lining).  


REFERENCES

  1. 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.
  2. 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.