Light Red Meranti


INTRODUCTION

The Standard Malaysian Name for the pink-red and lightweight timber of the genus Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae). Vernacular names used include majau (Sabah), meranti (Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak) with various epithets, seraya batu (Sabah) with various epithets, red seraya (Sabah) and various other local names too numerous to list here. Major species include S. acuminata (partly), S. dasyphylla, S. hemsleyana, S. johorensis, S. lepidota, S. leprosula, S. ovalis, S. palembanica, S. parvifolia, S. platycarpa (partly) and S. teysmanniana. The sapwood is lighter in colour, usually greyish and distinct from the heartwood, which is light pink to light red or light brown.

Also known as Light Red Meranti (Brunei); Meranti merah, Meranti merah muda, Seraya merah (Indonesia); Almon, Light red lauan, Light Red Philippine Mahogany, Mayapis, Tangile and Urung (Philippines); Saya and Saya-khao (Thailand).


DENSITY

This is a Light Hardwood with a density of 385-755 kg/m3 air dry.


NATURAL DURABILITY

Light red meranti (LRM) is not durable when used in contact with the ground or in exposed conditions. The heartwood is resistant to fungal attacks but not resistant to termite attacks. However, the sapwood of the timber is liable to attack by drywood termites which may subsequently spread to the heartwood. Almost all the species of LRM are resistant to powder-post beetle attacks (Menon, 1957). The standard graveyard tests conducted at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) have indicated that the average service life of this timber is less than two years and is therefore classified as not durable (Jackson, 1965; Dahlan & Tam, in press). However, this classification applies to the less durable species like S. ovalis, S. leprosula and S. teysmanniana. For S. acuminata, S. parvifolia and S. hemsleyana, the average service life is more than two years and are classified as moderately durable. Similar tests done at Princess Risborough (U.K.) showed that it is moderately durable with a service life of 15-25 years when in contact with the ground (Anon., 1975). It was reported by Burgess (1966) that the timber is highly susceptible to attack by marine borers.  


PRESERVATIVE TREATMENT

The LRM is generally resistant to preservative impregnation.

TEXTURE

Texture is coarse but even, with interlocked grain.


STRENGTH PROPERTIES

The timber falls into Strength Group C (Engku, 1988b) or SG 6 (MS 544:Part 2:2001).


Strength Properties of LRM 

Species

Test Condition

Modulus of Elasticity (MPa)

Modulus of Rupture (MPa)

Compression parallel to grain (MPa)

Compression perpendicular to grain (MPa)

Shear strength (MPa)

S. acuminata

Green

10,500

54

27.4

2.41

6.3

S. hemsleyana

Green

13,200

68

37.0

-

7.7

Air dry

13,400

77

42.7

-

11.0

S.
leprosula

Green

11,400

53

29.0

2.39

6.4

Air dry

13,600

75

41.4

2.51

6.8

S.
parvifolia

Green

9,300

50

25.6

2.00

5.9

Air dry

10,200

63

34.5

2.41

6.5


MACHINING PROPERTIES

It is easy to saw and work and gives a smooth planed surface.


Machining Properties of LRM
 

Species

Test Condition

Sawing

Planing

Boring

Turning

Re-sawing

Cross Cutting

Ease of planing

Quality of finish

Ease of boring

Quality of finish

Ease of turning

Quality of finish

S. acuminata

Green

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

easy

moderately smooth

S. hemsleyana

Green

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

rough

easy

smooth

S. leprosula

Green

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

moderately smooth

easy

moderately smooth

S. parvifolia

Green

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

rough

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

rough

easy

moderately smooth

S.
teysmanniana

Green

easy

easy

easy

moderately smooth

easy

smooth

-

-

Air dry

easy

easy

easy

smooth

easy

smooth

easy

smooth


NAILING PROPERTY

The nailing property of most species tested is good, except for S. hemsleyana, which is rated as poor.


AIR DRYING

The seasoning properties of some species tested are summarised below:

Species

Time to air dry (months)

Remarks

13 mm thick boards

25 mm thick boards

38 mm thick boards

S. hemsleyana

2.5

-

5

Moderately slow drying; free from all seasoning defects.

S. leprosula

2

3.5

4

Fairly fast drying; free from seasoning defects.

S. parvifolia

2

3.5

4

Fairly fast drying; free from seasoning defects.

S. teysmanniana

-

4.5

-

Moderately slow drying; slight bowing and twist.


KILN-DRYING

Kiln Schedule F is recommended. The timber dries rapidly without degrade. 25 mm thick boards take about 6 days to kiln-dry from 50 to 10% moisture content, while 50 mm thick boards will require about 20 days.


Kiln Schedule F

Moisture Content (%)

Temperature (Dry Bulb)

Temperature (Wet Bulb)

Relative Humidity (%) (approx.)

F

C

F

C

Green

120

48.5

111

44.0

75

60

120

48.5

109

43.0

70

40

125

51.5

109

43.0

60

30

130

54.5

109

43.0

50

25

140

60.0

115

46.0

45

20

155

68.0

124

51.0

40

10

170

76.5

136

58.0

40


SHRINKAGE

The shrinkage of some species tested are summarised below: 

Species

      Shrinkage (%)     (Green to air dry)

Remarks

Radial

Tangential

S. hemsleyana

1.9

5.4

High shrinkage, especially in the tangential direction.

S. leprosula

2.1

5

High shrinkage, especially in the tangential direction.

S. parvifolia

1.5

4.8

High shrinkage, especially in the tangential direction.

S. teysmanniana

1.6

7.4

Very high tangential shrinkage.


DEFECTS

The presence of brittle heart is more severe and wide spread in LRM than in dark red meranti. The defect is often accompanied by advanced stages of rot resulting in hollow cores in old and over-matured trees. It can be readily identified on the sawn end of the affected part, which is rough and irregular in outline. The frequent transverse fracture of the fibre on the sawn surface is further evidence of its presence. LRM timbers are liable to attack by 'shot-hole' and 'pin-hole' beetles and in some cases it can be quite severe.


USES

The timber is very popular as a general utility timber, being suitable for furniture, interior finishing, panelling, partitioning, mouldings, skirtings, decorative works, joinery, shop and office fittings, staircase (angle blocks, rough brackets, baluster, balustrade, handrail and sprandrel framing), flooring, decking, posts, beams, joists, rafters, door and window frames and sills, pallets (expendable type), tool handles (non-impact), vehicle bodies (planking), ship and boat building (general planking), ornamental items, cooling tower (non-structural members), plywood and light construction works.


REFERENCES

  1. Anon. 1975. The Natural Durability Classification of Timber. Tech. Note No. 40, Princess Risborough Lab., U.K.
  2. Burgess, P. F. 1966. Timbers of Sabah. Sabah For. Rec. No. 6.
  3. Choo, K. T. & Lim, S. C. 1983. Malaysian Timbers - Light Red Meranti. Malaysian Forest Service Trade Leaflet No. 75. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 11 pp.
  4. Engku Abdul Rahman Chik. 1998b. Basic and Grade Stresses for Strength Groups of Malaysian Timbers. Malayan Forest ServiceTrade Leaflet No. 38. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 13 pp.
  5. Jackson, W. F. 1965. The Durability of Malayan Timbers. Mal. For. Ser. Trade Leaflet No. 28.
  6. Menon, K. D. 1957. Susceptibility of Commercial Species of Malayan Timbers to Powder-post Beetle Attack. Mal. For. Ser. Trade Leaflet No. 27.
  7. 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.
  8. Mohd. Dahlan Jantan & Tam, M. K. Natural Durability of Some Malaysian Timbers by Stake Tests. In press.
  9. MS 544:Part 2:2001. Code of Practice for the Structural Use of Timber: Permissible Stress Design of Solid Timber.
  10. 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.