Color/Appearance: Typically a dark reddish or purplish brown; commonly with white resin streaks present.
Grain/Texture: Grain can be straight or interlocked. With a coarse texture and low natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; large to very large pores in no specific arrangement, few to very few; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; tyloses occasionally present; parenchyma vasicentric, winged, and banded with embedded resin canals; narrow to medium rays, spacing normal.
Rot Resistance: Reported as moderately-durable to non-durable in regard to decay resistance, but is susceptible to insect attack.
Workability: Typically easy to work, though any interlocked grain can present problems during planing, and Dark Red Meranti is reported to have very poor steam-bending properties. Some species may have a slight blunting effect on tools due to small levels of silica present in the wood. Glues, stains, and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Meranti in the Shorea genushas been reported to cause eye, throat, and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Meranti is widely harvested and available worldwide. It should be moderately priced despite the fact that it is imported.
Sustainability: Meranti is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but many species in the Shorea genus are on the IUCN Red List. The majority of Shorea species are listed as being critically endangered due to a population reduction of over 80% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation. Sustainable/certified sources of Meranti are also available.
Common Uses: Plywood, interior furniture, general construction, concrete forms, veneer, and boatbuilding.
Comments: Dark Red Meranti is sometimes referred to as Red Lauan, wood in the Shorea genus is very commonly used in southeast Asia, and there is an abundance of variety between the difference species: each with different working properties, appearances, and mechanical strength values. Main groupings for Shorea spp. are: Light Red Meranti, Dark Red Meranti, White Meranti, Yellow Meranti, and Balau. The strength and mechanical values listed at the top of this page represent the average of a handful of species within the corresponding group. Also called Philippine Mahogany, Meranti bears no relation to what is considered to be “true” mahogany in the Swietenia and Khaya genera.
- Balau (Shorea spp.)
- Light Red Meranti (Shorea spp.)
- White Meranti (Shorea spp.)
- Yellow Meranti (Shorea spp.)
- Philippine Mahogany
- Mahogany Mixups: the Lowdown
- Restricted and Endangered Wood Species