Reclaimed parquet flooring:
Merbau (Intsia palembanica)
Merbau is a lowland rainforest tree which produces one of the most valuable timbers of South East Asia. The other names it’s known by are Borneo Teak, Ipi, Mirabow and Kajubesi. This species grows throughout the areas of south-east Asia and Australia. That is in Burma, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand and Australia.
This species is on the IUCN Red List, listed as vulnerable caused by a decline in its natural range, as well as by exploitation. Merbau has been exploited so intensively for the lumber that few sizeable natural forests remain. By contrast very few new plantations have been planted to counter this declining situation.
Merbau has a wide creamy white sapwood and the heartwood is an orange-brown colour when freshly sanded, The colour ages to a darker reddish-brown although the tone can be variable. There are also small yellow mineral deposits which display throughout the wood and can be conspicuous on the surface. The timber finishes to a glossy brown colour with beautiful graining. The quarter-sawn surfaces can have an attractive figure.
This is a dense and heavy hardwood, very stable, durable and highly resistant to preservative treatment. Before nailing it will require pre-drilling, and it has a tendency to blunt saws. Using a hard-wax oil, it can be polished to a lovely high gloss . It is a very popular wood type but is also hard to find.