Know All About What is Rubberwood, and Its Uses?
Did you go shopping for hardwood and encountered Rubberwood? Wondering what is Rubberwood and what is Rubber wood used for? I am here to help you out. If you think that Rubberwood is some elastic wood hybrid, then you are wrong! Rubberwood is a light-colored medium-density tropical hardwood. The wood produced is low in cost, light in weight. Pará rubber trees serve for latex for years, and when their useful life ends, you harvest it to make rubberwood products. These Rubberwood can grow up to 40 meters in plains while around 100 feet in the wild. Trees have a lifespan of 100 years and majorly grows in South America, Africa, and Asia. Walk down the article to know if rubberwood is suitable for your furniture and other details.
What is Solid Rubberwood, and Why is it So Popular?
Are you wondering why you should prefer rubberwood instead of regular wood? Well! Despite the name “Rubberwood,” it is moderately hard and solid. Rubberwood is a dense grain that you can easily control in the kiln drying process (primary wood drying process for rubberwood and drying temperature is approximately 100°C).
It has gained so much popularity because of its impressive features. For example, real hardwood is moderately hard with medium texture and has unmatched density, weight similar to that of maple or ash. Moreover, you can find a wide variety of colors, beautiful grains, and finishes in the Rubberwood. Other features of the Rubberwood include:
- You can easily use a saw on it, and hence it is machined to a smooth, attractive surface.
- Rubberwood has enough strength, and you can work on it with both hand and machine tools. For example, you can process it with saw milling, peeling, and drilling. Moreover, it also works well with adhesion and painting to produce a reasonably smooth surface.
Essential Tip: Even if rubberwood is moderately hard and has low durability, it finds vast application in the wood industry. All you need is to coat it with some preservatives, and it will become a very good material both for outdoor and indoor use.
What is Rubberwood Used For?
Starting in the mid-1980s, rubberwood emerged as an efficient resource for the timber industry and other wood-based products with the development of chemical treatments. Rubberwood is susceptible to fungal attacks- that was the main reason for its limited use before the 1980s. However, with the growth of the chemical industry, Rubberwood proved efficient. These chemicals protect the wood against fungal and insect attacks. Rubberwood proves more economical and was also advertised as an environmentally friendly wood.
Today, Rubberwood is one of the most popular woods. Different wood industries use it as it suits well for a large array of woodworking projects. It has very little shrinkage that makes it one of the stable products for constructing different materials. You can easily work on it. There is a huge use of Rubberwood in the making of kitchen accessories like cutting boards, knife blocks, table tops, trays. Moreover, cabinetry and interior millwork also prefer to use Rubberwood in comparison to other wood.
Rubberwood comes in varying degrees of quality and takes grains uniformly. You need to glue small pieces of rubberwood together to create panels. These panels end up in longer pieces and have better strength of the joint.
Applications In Detail
Curious to know more about what is rubberwood furniture along with other rubberwood applications, here is a read:
Rubberwood production of a range of outdoor furniture that is not only resistant to mold, but also water retention. Rubberwood furniture is anti-termite. The furniture is also capable of 3D engraving or printing on wood. The list of rubberwood furniture includes houses, offices, and interior design products. You will also find hall chairs and cinema chairs made up of Rubberwood. Moreover, you can make tables with fine-art handicrafts from it. All of this is durable enough to suffice all your needs.
In addition to the furniture industry, there is also great application of Rubberwood in the molding and joinery industry for example parquet and strip flooring. A beautiful staircase and wooden floors are built out of it. Moreover, You can use Rubberwood in conjunction with other better-known hardwoods. This is extensively useful in the manufacture of door and window frames, durable shelves, and much more.
You can use cement-bonded particleboard from Rubberwood in the construction sector. It features many benefits, for example, good insulation and great durability. Moreover, it will be immune to fire, weather, and fungi to prove an excellent choice for the users.
Key Tip: Furniture built out of Rubberwood mustn’t be kept outdoors while it is raining. Excessive moisture because of the rain will cause the wood to warp.
What is Rubberwood Made of?
Rubberwood has got its name because you get this wood from the trees that produce the sap which is processed to produce rubber. After several years the yields of the trees become uneconomical and trees are felled. When trees priorly serve a valid and useful function, you use the leftover timber for the production of furniture and hence is sustainable timber. Moreover, trees are replanted regularly.
Rubberwood is classed as hardwood and comes from the maple family. It comes from the Pará rubber tree, usually trees grown in rubber plantations. Also called parawood or Malaysian oak, it grows in the Amazon forest in Brazil. The latex extraction begins after the tree reaches maturity that is approximately 9 years and continues until 30 years. After 30 years, the rubberwood no longer produces latex. It is now that you harvest the trees for the furniture industry
Rubberwood has a light blonde when it is raw. However, when you treat it with a kiln drying process, it turns darker with medium brown streaks. It also shows pinkish tints. Also, vertically vessels provide the grain a rough appearance making it unique and flawlessly attractive. It can hold neat designs, can bring out all the fine details, and can mimic other woods because of its large pores. In the end, you need to coat the wood with antifungal and insect chemicals to increase its durability.
How Much Rubberwood Will Cost You and if Is It Worthwhile?
You often consider the budget while starting on some project. Rubberwood is an appealing option for cost-conscious consumers and makes a bargain hunter’s best friend. Purchase a brand new set of furniture at ⅓ to ⅕ the price of a more “standard” type of wood. This is just a fraction of the typical cost of what other hardwood may cost.
Wondering if it’s worthwhile to substitute the hardwood with the Rubberwood? The article covers a bullet list of the Pros and Cons of Rubberwood. Check on the list to make a decision. Choose the wood that suits best to all your needs.
Pros of Rubberwood
Here is the list of the benefits to use Rubberwood instead of other hardwood for the project.
- It is highly sustainable and eco-friendly. This is because it’s plantation-grown. The main goal of rubberwood is latex production and you harvest it only when it fulfills its main job.
- Contrary to most Western beliefs, It’s quite durable with a strength of about 9500 psi. It offers stiffness of around 1.3 million psi, and a hardness of about 500 pounds. All of this provides a stable profile for all of its uses as long as the materials are seasoned properly.
- It is cost-effective and often thought of as a byproduct. It reduces the overall cost of the project without compromising on the strength of durability. The log price for Rubberwood only makes 5 to 6 percent of what the saw timber price is and is a great alternative to MDF or particleboard.
- Despite its name, Rubberwood is very stable. With less shrinkage and cracking kept to a minimum, it is ideal to build furniture.
- It features different colors and takes stains well. From awesome blonde shades to medium tan color, you have a wide variety to pick from. You can also paint the wood using an acrylic primer. Make an undercoat followed by the two coats of gloss finish.
- You can finish Rubberwood to smooth surfaces, thus you change its appearance to suit your tastes and its setting.
- You will find the wood harder than American Cherry but softer than teak. It gives you about 15 to 25 years of furniture wear, which I guess is more than sufficient for you.
- Rubber tree wood is relatively easy to work with. It takes nails and screws well.
- It is more resistant to fire and you will get less burn damage compared to other solid wood furniture. Moreover, even if it starts burning, you don’t need to worry about the fumes. This is because the wood is non-toxic.
- Rubberwood is low maintenance and needs no fancy sprays or ointment to keep up its natural sheen.
Cons of Rubberwood
It is important to know the cons of Rubberwood like its advantages to make the right decision if you should buy it. Wanna take a look at its disadvantages, here is a list.
- Rubberwood is perishable with a strong tendency to decay and hence undergo a lot of harsh chemical treatments. It can resist fungal staining and insect attacks only after the use of the chemicals.
- It is the lumber of the wood that produces latex and hence may trigger reactions to those who have latex allergies. There have been people who have allergies to latex while working on the wood. Skin reactions may appear after you use rubberwood furniture for a long time. To avoid an anaphylaxis reaction, you don’t have to touch Rubberwood at all.
- Rubberwood is slippery and you are prone to slips if you accidentally spilled water on it. Moreover, grease works adversely on rubber wood flooring. Wipe grease as soon as possible to protect children and also the elderly.
- Rubberwood with moderate hardness is prone to dents and some impacts on the wood can potentially create dents. You need to add more finishes so that you can repair the issue.
- You can’t leave the furniture made up of Rubberwood in a location where temperatures are excessively hot or dry
- While drying, rubberwood warps and twists. You will turn it into something that is quite durable and sturdy only after it’s seasoned.
- Rubberwood furniture or products isn’t a great choice for outdoor use as are very moisture-absorbent. Rubberwood deteriorates more quickly when you place it outdoors, especially in the rainy season.
- You need to keep your rubberwood furniture in a less humid environment.
- It is small in size in comparison to other timber boards. It features approximately 1.8 m length and 50 mm thickness which relatively indicates a smaller size.
- There is a stain issue. After you expose it to different types of chemicals in the seasoning process, the rubberwood will get a fragile outlook. Moreover, if you use regular household detergents and other cleaning products to clean the rubberwood products, it leaves a stain. In some cases, a detergent can also leave permanent damage to the parawood. For cleaning, you must clean the wood with only soap and warm water. Make sure that you quickly dry the rubberwood flooring after cleaning it.
- You must wipe water or alcohol spills quickly. This is important to prevent the finish from any damage.
- It is cheaper in comparison to hardwood. However, there are even cheaper products in the markets like locally-grown oak or pine. They are usually cheap, especially for DIY furniture makers. This is because there are not any import or tariff costs related to the locally-grown wood.
What is Rubberwood Material and Fun Facts About It?
Rubberwood is not manufactured or engineered, rather it comes from the trees like any other natural wood. Wood manufacturers use pressurized preservation techniques to prevent the degradation of lumber. This makes it great for commercial use.
Secondly, the rubberwood surface is rough until processed. Moreover, the presence of latex inside this wood makes it great at holding furniture nails and screws. To dive deep into why Rubberwood is so popular amongst furniture makers, here is a list of fun facts that describe Rubberwood very well.
- Rubberwood trees usually grow in low altitudes. These are Amazon rainforest natives.
- These trees find great habitats in wetlands. They flourish there well and can grow up to a height of 100 feet.
- Rubberwood trees are also popular as the rubberwood tree or rubber fig tree.
- They look like oak wood.
- These trees have strong and stretchy roots. Hence, you will not find them near houses and sidewalks.
- Rubberwood tree adorns a cylindrical trunk. It is inflated towards the base.
- Though the tree finds its native habitat in the rainforest, it can withstand extreme dry weather conditions.
- The tree has an agricultural value and you can extract the latex out of the tree before using it for wood. It does not harm the tree’s overall wellbeing.
- It was first noticed by mesoamerican people. Before, it was used to make rubber balls from its latex. This latex was used as a waterproof coating for apparel.
- The rubberwood trees also have flowers. However, the rubber tree flowers don’t contain any petals and the leaves are spiral-shaped. These leaves are generally of cream or yellow color and fall when the temperature drops.
- To extract latex from a rubber tree, all you need is to make a deep cut in the trunk of the tree after eliminating the silver bark.
- Although the amount of latex produced by the tree differs from time to time, they produce it for a lifetime.
- If constantly tapped for latex, the rubberwood trees only grow up to 25 ft.
- The rubberwood tree leaves have a pungent odor.
- You will find male and female flowers in the same rubberwood tree. The reproduction is via self-fertilization.
- The fruit produced by the rubberwood tree erupts and releases the seed in a 30m radius (60m diameter).
How To Clean Rubberwood?
You might be wondering that if the Rubberwood is susceptible to moisture and can shrink a bit if exposed to water sources, then how should you clean it. Well! I have covered the method of cleaning the Rubberwood too in this article. Follow the following steps to clean the rubberwood furniture or flooring.
- Start by dusting your wooden furniture or flooring to get rid of dust particles.
- Make a solution of water and soap to clean rubberwood products. However, don’t clean the rubberwood products occasionally.
- Wipe it dry after using the solution. You also have a choice to apply a thin coat of wax to give your rubberwood furniture a quick shine. Moreover, you can also use wax stripping soap to get rid of the accumulated dust.
How To Fix Dents in the Rubberwood?
Since Rubberwood is moderately hard, it is susceptible to surface dents. Here is a trick to fix the dents.
- If there are deep dents in the rubberwood surface, fill it by dabbing some fillings.
- For small dents, cover the area of the Rubberwood with a towel and place a hot iron on the top for a minute. This fixes the dent as the Rubberwood swells up after applying heat. This lightens up the dent easily and makes it unnoticeable.
Rubberwood is a lumber of the tree that gives the rubber sap and makes a good pick for furniture. This is true especially if you’re looking for a wood that is more affordable than traditional picks and fits right into the budget. It offers slight roughness that makes Rubberwood look extra rugged and looks very pretty in its own right. It suits best the places where you want to use the Medium Density Fiberboard as the real wood alternative for MDF.
I hope you like this blog and keep coming to Homedesignnow for more interesting tips and ideas on home improvement and decoration.