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Wood identification

Wood identification

In the Philippines, as well as elsewhere in their range, Shorea trees might be called red or white lauan, tangile, almon, as well as the descriptive "dark-red meranti" or "light-red meranti." But it is meranti (Shorea spp.) that makes up the greatest proportion of timber that's sold as Philippine mahogany. (Note: In botanical science, the letters spp. after the genus name means that several species in that genus share similar appearance and characteristics, e.g. Shorea spp.) Meranti traditionally grows in well-drained soils at low altitudes. In ideal conditions, a meranti tree can reach a 200' height and a trunk diameter of 6'. A lumberman's dream, it will also be branch free for 90'. The bases of some trees feature the vanelike supports called buttresses. Light-red and dark-red meranti produce medium-to-coarse textured wood that ranges in color from pale pink to brown and reddish-brown. The grain may be slightly interlocked. At about 36 pounds per cubic foot air-dry, meranti is heavier than Honduras mahogany. However, it is not nearly as hard nor as strong, and lacks the durability and stability of a true mahogany. And you may find brittleness in some boards.

Continued on page 3:  Uses in woodworking


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