10 Common Types of Woods in Indonesia
There are terms sandang (clothes), pangan (foods and beverages), and papan (a place to live; house, furnitures, etc). As we know that clothes, foods, and beverages are considered as primary needs in human’s life however house, building, or furniture is the secondary need. In order to have a good living, human needs a shelter or place which can protect them from heat or rain.
Good woods material is needed to establish house, building, making products, furniture, and even crafts. Indonesia itself is a paradise for you who need good quality woods with a global scale. Here are some of the original woods from Indonesia which attracts foreigners as well.
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1. Jati / Teak Tree
This teak tree often used as a benchmark to measure other woods’ quality. This wood has a brown color and dark-brown color for its veins, those veins have space from one another. Actually teak wood is not originally from Indonesia, it ia brought by Dutch to Indonesia during 1800s.
Luckily teak woods tree grew well in Java island (from West to East Java) which has a hot temperature. Central Java is a perfect place to plant and produce a high-quality teak wood because that region has a high temperature and calcareous soil, which is very supportive for teak tree to grow up well.
Teak wood is famous for its strength and density and it affects this wood’s durability. Teak tree contains teak oil and it becomes a factor which makes teak wood has termite resistance characteristics. Meanwhile the small pores on teak wood makes it can be finished smoothly and its density is a favorite thing for those who like carvings. Other function of teak wood is: this wood can produce a rusty product, very suitable to make classy materials, furniture, or carvings.
2. Meranti Woods
This wood is often called as Kalimantan wood as well because it comes from Kalimantan province, actually it could grow in every region in Indonesia but it grows well in Kalimantan the most. Meranti is mostly used to make sills, furniture, and panels. The wood stalk can grow up to 70 meters and its diameter can reach until 4 meters or more.
The latin word is Mahoni Philipina, you may find it in a reddish brown color without grain/vein.
Besides as building or furniture materials, meranti wood is functioned to make pulp for paper meanwhile its fruit is functioned as a cosmetic’s ingredient. The hardness level is range from 580-70 kilograms/meter. Based on its characteristics, Meranti wood is most suitable to make building or house, making materials, or any furniture which use paint for its finishing process.
3. Merbau Woods
This wood is originated from from Maluku and Papua, considered as a hard wood and has a nickname as Iron Wood. Its superior quality has made merbau woods to be an excellent local and export item for so long. The color of this wood is dark brown or dark red brown with an almost straight fiber direction. Merbau wood can grow up until 50 meters and its diameter can reach 2 meters.
Due to its hardness and durability, Merbau wood is functioned to make floor materials, a building’s pole, a truck back part, until a bridge-making materials. The price itself is very competitive with teak wood. Surprisingly, merbau woods resistance can be applied as a marine construction materials. With those characteristics, merbau wood is very suitable for building and construction materials.
4. Sengon Woods
Sengon or Albasia is basically a tropical wood, you can find it easily in the form of raft or board. Albasia wood is included in the list of soft wood due to its characteristic. The characteristic of this wood is hard to be finished, furry, has large pores, and can be broke easily.
The nature of its fragility makes this wood can not be used directly to make product’s materials. Nevertheless there are high demand for this wood from year to year, which directly proves that the producers are realized how beneficial sengon wood is.
The main product of sengon wood such as triplex, blockboard, ice cream stick, pencil, matches, and paper’s raw materials. Sengon wooden blocks or board are mostly used as temporary building’s buffer, packing or shipping pallets for goods, and a temporary building materials. It has soft textures, has no grain or veins and has big pores.
5. Cendana Woods
The uniqueness of this tree is probably belong to the scent, this wood is fragrant. Cendana wood is mostly used as raw materials to make dupa or incense and som handicraft poducts. Cendana is actually not common because it is not tall and even called as parasite. Cendana only grow up to 15 meters with 30 centimeters diameter, it is not categorized as a high tree group.
Not only that, cendana is very hard to be cultivated and really take a long time to be harvested. However there are a high demand in the market towards this wood and it greatly influences its price to be expensive even in kilograms. You can find white cendana in NTT (East Nusa Tenggara), a place where cendana become a long-standing main export commodity.
6. Ulin Woods
This wood comes from Kalimantan and it can be used as a ship building material. Ulin wood can grow up until 50 meters and it has around 1 meter diameter. Ulin wood is durable to temperature change, moisture, has water durability, and not easily eaten by termite. Ulin wood is known as a heavy and hard wood.
For the functions, ulin wood is beneficial in construction field. This wood has been used as a building material to make stage house (rumah panggung) for Indonesian local people, to make jewelry, or even sculptures.
- Eboni Woods : The color is a combination of black and brown color with a contrast vein or grain on the wood itself. This kind of wood is highly attracted Japanese, Europe, and United States attention. Large amount of this wood’s export has resulted eboni wood’s scarcity nowadays therefore this wood is categorized as a protected wood by WCN (World Conservative Union).
- Trembesi Woods : Trembesi tree can absorb up to 28.5 tons of CO2 gas meanwhile trembesi wood is beneficial to create furniture, carvings, and sculpture. The vein of the wood itself is very attractive. However this wood is less durable because it produces wood oil which makes it less resistance termite compared to teak wood.
- Bangkirak Woods : Bangkirak or Yelow Balau wood is mostly found in Kalimantan. It grows up until 40 meters and has diameter for about 120 centimeters. This wood is suitable for decking, outdoor furniture, and other construction purposes but is is not recommended to be used in a high-stability construction.
- Kamper Woods : This wood is fragrant, suitable to preserve the corpse and not favored by pests. Camphor wood is considered as a durable wood, has reddish brown color, and almost similar with mahoni woods.
There are various of qualified woods in Indonesia which supported by its climate and its fertile soil. Those are the blessing from the ancient for Indonesian people therefore land exploitation needs to be stopped immediately. The local government has been protecting the remaining woods through several regulations.
As a good human being, it will be appreciated if the Indonesian help the government to protect the remaining woods so they will be well-distributed. Read about the current forest situation in Indonesia here Deforestation in Indonesia