Mertas


INTRODUCTION

The Standard Malaysian Name as well as the ASEAN Standard Name for the timber of Ctenolophon parvifolius (Ctenolophonaceae). The sapwood is not differentiated from the heartwood, which is brown to purple-red-brown. Vernacular names applied include besi-besi (Sabah) and litoh (Sarawak). The tree is sometimes known as kelat, a mistake arising from the close resemblance of the leaves to those of Syzygium spp.

Also known as Kalek bung cung, Kayu bawang, Lasah, Madjuit and Ukut (Indonesia); Ctenolophon (Papua New Guinea); and Sudiang (Philippines).


DENSITY

The timber is hard and heavy with a density of 800-930 kg/m3 air dry. The timber is classified under Medium Hardwood in Malaysia.


NATURAL DURABILITY

The timber is moderately durable.


TEXTURE

Texture is moderately fine and even, with interlocked and sometimes wavy grain.


STRENGTH PROPERTIES

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


MACHINING PROPERTIES

It is difficult to work, especially in the radial direction where picking-up of grain frequently occurs.


NAILING PROPERTY

The nailing property is rated as poor.


AIR DRYING

The timber seasons fairly rapidly without serious degrade. 13 mm thick boards take 1.5 months to air dry, while 38 mm thick boards take 4 months. End-checking is a common defect, especially in thicker specimens.


SHRINKAGE

Shrinkage is fairly high, with radial shrinkage averaging 2% and tangential shrinkage averaging 3.3%.


USES

The timber is suitable for medium to heavy construction, posts, beams, joists, rafters, marine construction, flooring (heavy traffic), railway sleepers, telegraphic and power transmission posts and cross arms, fender supports, vehicle bodies (framework and floor boards), tool handles (impact), pallets (permanent and heavy duty type), piling, door and window frames and sills, columns (heavy duty) and staircase (carriage, newel, riser, stringer, tread, bullnose, round end and winder).


REFERENCES

  1. Engku Abdul Rahman Chik. 1998b. Basic and Grade Stresses for Strength Groups of Malaysian Timbers. Malayan Forest Service Trade Leaflet No. 38. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 13 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.