Botanical Name: Dipterocarpus spp
Color: The heartwood of Asian mahogany is usually a reddish brown, although some variations are expected because of the many varieties. These variations can range from a deep pink to a purplish red. The sapwood of the Asian mahogany is lighter and may have grey or yellow tint.
Grain: The grain of Asian mahogany is usually straight but may have a slight wave.
Variations within Species and Grades: With more than seventy varieties of Asian mahogany, there are some variations but not that are overly noticeable after processing.
Hardness/Janka: With more than seventy varieties of Asian mahogany, there are some variations but not that are overly noticeable after processing.
Sawing/Machining: With more than seventy varieties of Asian mahogany, there are some variations but not that are overly noticeable after processing.
Sanding: Pieces with a high density of resin can be more difficult to sand.
Nailing: No known problems with nailing.
Finishing: Asian mahogany that has a lot of resin is very difficult to finish, timber with less resin is much easier to finish.
Availability: Somewhat limited availability.
Credit: University of Tasmania
Asian Mahogany, or Keruing, is made up of about 70 species of the Dipterocarpus genus. These large hardwoods can grow to heights of 230 feet. The various species are found throughout the eastern hemisphere in areas such as the Philippines, Pakistan, India, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Asian mahogany trees can reach heights of up to 200 feet when fully mature with diameters of up to six feet.
Asian mahogany is common throughout Malaysia which is why the common name of the wood, Keruing, is of Malaysian origin. It is found mostly in lowland forest but may also be found in some hilltop forests.
Asian mahogany is relatively durable but should only be used in flooring that will be inside and away from the elements.
It can be difficult to machine Asian mahogany due to the high resin content of some pieces of lumber. Keeping all cutting edges sharpened can help make it a bit more manageable. Additionally, it can be difficult to season and dry.
Where to use
The moderate durability makes Asian mahogany a good choice for flooring. As with other hardwood options, it is important that the flooring is not placed in an area that will be exposed to excessive moisture or standing water.
Care and Maintenance
Proper care and maintenance will ensure a long life for this beautiful hardwood flooring. Runners or rugs should be placed in areas that will receive high foot traffic such as entryways and hallways. Pads need to be placed beneath the legs of furniture to prevent gouges. Routine sweeping or vacuuming, on a hardwood setting, can remove sand and grit that might otherwise scour the finish of the flooring making it more susceptible to wear.
Keruing, or Asian mahogany, is still widely available throughout the areas in which it naturally occurs. Because of this it is not listed as endangered or even threatened. However, nations in which this tree grows have been urged to encourage conservation as the timber becomes more popular.