What is rubber wood? The inexpensive, light wood that comes from rubber trees, which produce the raw material used to make natural rubber (latex), is known as rubber wood. Rubber wood, also known as “parawood,” is a tree that grows in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. Latex extraction starts when the tree reaches maturity, which takes about 9 years.
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Is Rubber Wood Actually Wood?
Beginning in the middle of the 1980s, rubber wood appears as a substitute resource for the timber industry and other wood-based products, and it has since grown to be one of the most well-liked for this sector.
Contrary to its name, rubber wood is actually a real hardwood that is moderately hard, has a medium texture, and has a density and weight similar to those of maple or ash.
Additionally rubber wood is known as (Hevea brasiliensis) parawood or Malaysian oak, despite his difference appearance and properties than oak or teak.
The rubberwood is a popular option for home furnishings retailers because it is readily available in a wide range of colors, gorgeous grains, and finishes.
Rubber wood isn’t particularly durable by nature, but after being treated with preservatives, it becomes excellent for both indoor and outdoor use.
Furniture (desks, chairs), cabinets, interior millwork, and kitchen accessories (cutting boards, knife blocks) are some of the most frequent uses for rubber wood.
It is possible to make table tops, trays, and chair seats out of even tiny pieces of rubber wood by gluing them together to form panels.
Describe The Appearance Of Rubber Wood
When rubber wood is first sawn, it is a light blonde to medium color, but after exposure to light and the kiln drying process, it darkens and acquires pinkish and medium brown streaks.
Sapwood and heartwood share a similar appearance, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. The vertical vessels give the grain a rough appearance and add a touch of personality to the wood.
Is Rubberwood Of High Quality?
One of the finest woods for making furniture is rubberwood. Making commercial cabinetry, trays, carvings, and other items from it is a great choice because of its strength and flexibility. Due to the fact that this tree is also used to harvest rubber, it is now grown commercially in Asia and Africa. Rubberwood is hard compared to soft maple. It is straw in color with brown streaks. Heartwood and sapwood don’t differ significantly in color. The texture and grain of rubber wood are rough. Although this wood has been chemically treated to give it a stable appearance, it still cannot be used in an outdoor environment. Although the surface may be rough due to the massive pore size, this wood works well inside.
This wood gives the furniture solid support and holds screws and nails firmly in place. Sometimes it is difficult to use saws and blades because this tree secretes latex. As it holds neat designs and can bring out all the fine details, rubberwood is a popular material for carving. To smooth out the rough surface before painting, this wood will require a lot of priming and filling. Because of its numerous pores, rubberwood can mimic other types of wood. Both by hand and by machine, this wood can be easily carved into furniture. It should not be kept close to water sources as it may absorb moisture and shrink.
Rubberwood is kiln friendly, making it simple to handle during the drying process in the kiln. The wood is exposed to a temperature of 100°C during this process. Thailand produced 134.84 thousand cubic meters of rubberwood in 2019.
Pros Of Using Rubberwood For Furniture
When the tree reaches full maturity, we need to cut it down to create a plentiful supply of this wood because rubber is present everywhere. Like any other commodity, price is always directly influenced by supply. Other benefits that make it a popular option for woodworks are as follows:
Rubberwood is one of the least expensive woods that you can use for furniture, as you may have guessed by now. In almost everything we use, rubber is a common component that can only be obtained from trees. Growers remove it to make room for new trees after 30 years. Because of this, rubberwood is widely available, making it one of the best sources for affordable furniture.
Unfortunately, this low price also carries a low quality stigma. Rubberwood was created by reusing something that we were going to throw away, which is the only reason it is less expensive. It’s a furniture option that’s both economical and environmentally friendly.
Does Not Require Too Much Caring
Rubberwood is very resilient and less expensive than other types of wood that we use for woodworking. It doesn’t need special maintenance, which is another reason why many people prefer to use it. Rubberwood doesn’t require the constant treatment and cleaning that some of the wood we use for furniture does in order to remain fresh and presentable.
A straightforward soap and water solution applied once a year will take care of rubberwood. It should be thoroughly cleaned, then dried with a clean cloth. If you use wax to keep it shiny, be sure to take it off every so often because it makes it easier for furniture to gather household debris.
Does Not Scratch Easily
The maple family includes the hardwood species rubberwood. It is moderately strong and resists scratches thanks to its Janka hardness rating of 995. Its hardness is comparable to that of ash, maple, teak, and walnut, making it one of the least expensive and most scratch-resistant woods that we frequently use for furniture.
You would have to spend at least three times more if you were to compare the cost of the same pieces—one made of rubberwood and the other from a different wood with the same density.
Has Good Durability
Rubberwood is not flexible, despite what many people think. The characteristics of the latex it produces are what lead to this misunderstanding. In actuality, it’s a strong wood that works for any type of furniture. Its dense grain makes it a very stable building material.
Its hardness is similar to that of teak and walnut, as was previously mentioned. However, the environment in which it grows is another element that makes it more resilient. Tropical humid climates are where rubber trees naturally resist fungi and bacteria growth. Rubberwood does not require special maintenance, unlike other woods that do.
Cons Of Using Rubberwood For Furniture
Rubberwood is far from the best wood you can use for furniture, despite the many benefits it offers. Before using it, you may want to think about the significant drawbacks. One of these is the price of importing it from other nations, particularly from South East Asia and South America.
The following are some additional drawbacks of rubberwood that you should be aware of.
A Heavily Treated Wood
You can’t use raw rubberwood and anticipate receiving all the benefits. In fact, if you use it for furniture without the proper care and seasoning, it might not be as durable. So, despite being an environmentally friendly alternative, it still requires extensive processing before it can be used as hardwood. It would be best to look for another hardwood if you want to build furniture that requires fewer chemicals and less seasoning procedures.
Fragile To Chemical Cleaners
Although rubberwood naturally resists stains, there will be a time when you need to remove some stains from it. When it occurs, you cannot anticipate it to be compatible with chemical cleaners.
After seasoning, rubberwood becomes extremely chemically sensitive. Its surface can be permanently harmed by using only common cleaning detergents. Cleaning rubberwood is a one-and-done affair that requires soap, water, and a soft cloth.
The lack of personality in rubberwood is one of the main reasons why people dislike it. Although it’s sturdy and inexpensive, you might not want to use it to create expensive furniture. A characteristic of wood that rubberwood lacks is the ability to display the patterns of the wood.
The idea that rubberwood is of low quality was fueled by this additional factor. Apart from the name, it’s uncommon for anyone to see a beautiful piece of rubberwood furniture.
Susceptible To Damages
It’s still far from the best material you can use for furniture, despite its moderate hardness. Rubberwood is extremely vulnerable to damage from impacts. When placed in hot, dry climates or exposed to direct sunlight, it is also vulnerable to damage and discoloration.
Rubberwood furniture will eventually develop dents, and you’ll need to be skilled enough to know how to treat them with heat and steam. While cleaning it is simple, maintaining its condition takes more time and attention, especially when it comes to repairing dents brought on by impacts.
What Materials Are Used To Make Rubberwood Furniture?
- Native to the Amazon rainforest, rubber trees can usually be found at low elevations.
- Additional names for the rubber tree include rubberwood and rubber fig. In wetlands, these trees can reach heights of 100 feet.
- Because of their robust and flexible roots, it is not recommended that these trees be grown close to homes and sidewalks.
- This tree has a cylindrical, inflated trunk that widens toward the base.
- Although it is native to the rainforest, this tree can withstand extremely dry conditions.
- The overall health of the tree is not harmed by the process of extracting latex from it.
- Mesoamericans made rubber balls out of the latex and were the first to notice rubber trees. Back then, latex was also applied to clothing as a waterproof coating.
- The rubber tree has spiral-shaped leaves but no petals in its flowers. As the temperature drops, the leaves usually start to fall.
- When a rubber tree reaches six years of age, latex extraction can begin. Eliminating the silver bark causes a deep cut to be created in the trunk.
- All of a rubber tree’s life, it produces latex. The sum fluctuates from time to time.
- Because they are continually tapped for latex, the trees in the plantation only grow to a height of 25 feet.
- The leaves of rubber trees typically range in color from cream to yellow and have a strong odor.
- Since the male and female flowers grow on the same tree, the rubberwood tree self-fertilizes.
- The tree’s fruit explodes and disperses its seed over a 30-meter area.
- Rubberwood industry consumption in 2013 was 900 ktoe of petroleum products.
The Durability Of Rubberwood Furniture
Rubberwood has become increasingly popular for use in commercial furniture. The strongest hardwood is considered to be rubber wood in the majority of Asian nations. Rubber wood is popular with families and businesses because it is environmentally friendly. As the wood is produced from a renewable source it does not hamper the ecosystem. Here are a few adoring benefits of rubberwood furniture.
After a long day at work, rubberwood is soothing to the touch and can be very calming to walk on. It is perfect for living rooms, playrooms, and bedrooms thanks to this feature. To prevent any damage, make sure to keep the wooden furniture in a cool, dry place.
Solid, adaptable, and long-lasting is parawood. The tree undergoes a chemical treatment process before being used for lumber, which makes it tough and gives it a stable exterior covering. It can last up to twenty years with proper care.
To maintain its natural sheen, rubberwood doesn’t require any fancy sprays or creams. The most economical timber is said to be this type of wood. It can shrink a little bit if exposed to water sources, but it is moisture-sensitive.
Fire And Burn Resistant
Only a small source of heat, such as the butt of a cigarette, will cause rubberwood to burn. It is protected from mold, bacteria, and fungi by antimicrobial properties. Even though it burns, harmful greenhouse gases are not released.
Great Shock Absorber
For its ability to absorb shock, rubberwood is used in gyms. It offers excellent cushioning, which reduces the risk of injury during demanding workout sessions. Because it relieves joint stress and relaxes muscles, parawood flooring is excellent for elderly people.
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How Should I Care For My Rubberwood Furniture?
Rubberwood is a flexible wood that works well for creating fine furniture. But because rubber wood furniture is expensive and can last a long time in good condition with proper care, it is crucial to know how to maintain it.
Cleaning- Cleaning furniture made of other types of wood and rubberwood are similar. Dusting wooden furniture should become a daily ritual to remove dust. Once a year, clean the rubberwood furniture with a water and soap solution. A dry cotton cloth should be used to clean the area and to dry the wood. Apply a light layer of wax to give your rubberwood furniture a quick shine. Use a wax stripping soap to get rid of the accumulated dust if you frequently wax your rubberwood furniture.
Fixing Dents- Because rubberwood is a moderately hard material, surface dents are quite noticeable. By dabbing additional fillings, deep ones can also be filled. Cover the area with a towel and press a hot iron on top for a minute to fill in a small ding. After being heated, rubberwood expands and easily removes the dent.
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So, do you have a whole review about what is rubber wood?
The tree that makes latex also yields the rubberwood used in furniture. They may also go by the names Hevea brasiliensis, Asian hardwood, rubber trees, parawood, or parawood. These trees, which are native to Brazil, are frequently found on productive plantations in Asia. After about nine years, the trees are fully grown. Beginning at that time, latex is extracted continuously until latex production slows down, which typically occurs when the tree is 25 to 30 years old.
The tree is harvested for other uses, such as furniture, after it is no longer useful for making latex. Instead of exporting the raw wood, the nations that harvest the wood usually construct the furniture before selling it abroad. In addition to being used as a solid wood, rubberwood is also made into veneer, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard.