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    Botanical Name: Insia Bijuga
    Preferred Common Name:     Merbau
    Other Names: Kwila, Ipil, Vesi, Johnstone River Teak or Scrub Mahogany
    Species Type: Hardwood


    In its natural setting the merbau species can grow up to 40 metres in height, with a trunk of 0.6 metres in diameter. The bushy tree will often form a spreading canopy. Once cut, the heartwood will initially appear as yellowish-brown or orange-brown before deepening to a pale to dark reddish brown. This contrasts with the merbau sapwood, which appears white, pale yellow or buff. The wood grain is variable but usually interlocked or wavy, which produces a ribbon figure on the radial surface. The timber has a coarse but even texture. It has a characteristic oily odour when cut.


    Merbau spans a variety of uses in the fields of engineering, construction, marine and furnishings, both for the indoors and outside. It has been utilised for infrastructure projects including cross arms, bridge building, piles, sleepers, posts, wharves and mining timbers. In the construction context merbau is used in framing, decking, treads and other general needs. Many boats, particularly the decks, are made of merbau, as are a variety of vats, musical instruments and tool handles. As a furniture material merbau is prominent in outdoor settings and barbeque trolleys, as well as being valued for turning, paneling, joinery, shop fitting, cabinet making, parquet flooring, carving, veneer, counter and bench tops.


    Sawn, Veneer


    Merbau takes well to paint, stain and polish, however the finish can sometimes be affected by gum bleed-through or oily patches. Its vessels also contain a yellow substance that stains textiles and concrete. It turns well and is relatively easy to work with hand tools, though it can be variable when it comes to machining. It will generally cut cleanly but there may be some blunting or gumming effect on the cutting edges. Merbau tends to split unless pre-bored, but holds fastenings well.


    QLD, Asia, SE Asia, Oceania


    NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, QLD, WA, NT, NZ, Asia, SE Asia, Oceania


    Merbau grows naturally in South East Asia, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea and is imported to Australia from these countries. Merbau grows in Australia in a specific region by the Johnstone River and in the Daintree area of Far North Queensland. It is often referred to as Johnstone River teak or scrub mahogany.


    Native Forest, Plantation