Reclaimed parquet flooring:
Apitong (Dipterocarpus spp)
Apitong is from South-East Asia, principally Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma. It belongs to the genus dipterocarpus. There are numerous species within this group, all traded under the name Apitong, as well as others such as Keruing and Lancewood. There are other trade and local names, often depending on the exact origin of the lumber.
This is a robust and very hard-wearing flooring timber which is medium to heavy in weight. The colour ranges quite widely due to the range of species included under this trade name. Generally however you find pinkish to dark brown and sandy-red tones, some grey and ginger yellow too. It has a pleasant, almost spicy odour when cut.
The grain is medium to coarse, generally even in character. There can however be some variation which adds to the interest of the wood. The surface of the timber can be sanded to a fine finish using a 240 grit sandpaper. This is after first using the lower sand-paper grades. This creates a good finish on a what is a relatively coarse timber.
Apitong is a really good value wood, traditionally used in parquet form from the 1920s. Initially produced in a large block with an acme fixing. A standard size was made during the 1930s. During the post-war period a block with a tongue and groove fixing was manufactured. Often used in heavily-trafficked areas such as schools and warehousing. It seems to have fallen out of favour in recent decades, despite being an excellent hard wearing timber.
Although not listed in the CITES Appendices, many species of Dipterocarpus are on the IUCN Red List. There has been a tree population decline in natural range, therefore some species are listed as critically endangered. This reduction of over 80% in the past three generations, is due to exploitation