Back to Blog

Discovering Meranti Wood: Characteristics and Common Uses

Timber Knowledge Tips & Guides
18 July 2023 min read

Discovering Meranti Wood: Characteristics and Common Uses

Countless types of wood are available, each with unique features and characteristics. But one type of wood you should know about is Meranti.

From construction projects to the intricacies of guitar-making, Meranti effortlessly fits into diverse roles. The wood's multifaceted profile as a durable, beautiful, and workable material makes it versatile for various applications. 

In this article, we’ll explore the world of Meranti wood, learning about its characteristics, common uses, and why it’s such a popular choice for furniture.


What is Meranti Wood?

Meranti is a hardwood from various tree species in the Dipterocarpaceae family, found in Southeast Asia. It’s known for its consistent colour and is a popular choice for construction, furniture making, and boat building.

Ultimately, Meranti is sought after because it grows quickly, which means it can be harvested sustainably. The mature trees often reach heights of up to 70 meters, allowing large sections of wood to be harvested, making it an ideal choice for large-scale projects. 


Characteristics of Meranti Wood

Meranti is a sturdy, dense hardwood that features an interlocking grain pattern. It’s available in various colours, including pink, white, and reddish-brown. The wood is also very workable, easily sawn, drilled, sanded, and shaped.

One of the unique characteristics of Meranti is its ability to resist humidity and moisture, leading to its popularity in the construction of boats, docks, and outdoor structures.

However, it should be noted that while Meranti does exhibit a reasonable degree of natural resistance to moisture, it’s not impervious to it. Like any wood, prolonged exposure to moisture and adverse weather conditions can degrade Meranti over time if it's not adequately treated or maintained.


Common Uses for Meranti Wood

Meranti is incredibly versatile, with many uses in the woodworking world. Below are a few of the most common:

  1. Construction: Meranti is a popular choice for constructing doors, windows, trim, and other decorative features of buildings. Because of its durability and resistance to humidity, it’s ideal for outdoor use in humid or damp climates.

  2. Furniture Making: Meranti’s density, workability, and consistent colour make it an excellent choice for furniture making. It’s often used to make cabinets, tables, and chairs but can also be used for decorative features.

  3. Boat Building: Meranti is widely used in boat building thanks to its moisture resistance and durability. It’s often used to construct boat decks, hulls, and trim.

  4. Flooring: The wood is also a popular choice for flooring because of its durability and consistent colour. It’s often used in high-traffic areas of homes and commercial buildings.

  5. Guitar-Making: Meranti is a sought-after choice for guitar-making because of its workability and tonal characteristics. For example, it’s often used in electric and acoustic guitars.


Deeper into Meranti's Properties

Resistance to Termites

While Meranti, like many types of hardwood, has a certain level of natural resistance to some pests, it's not completely immune. Some species of termites and other wood-boring insects can still infest and damage Meranti. The wood's resistance can also vary depending on the specific type of Meranti and where it's grown.

It's also important to note that, like all woods, Meranti's resistance to pests can be enhanced with specific treatments. However, untreated Meranti should only be considered partially resistant to termites and other wood-boring insects.


Colour and Grain

When we think of Meranti's consistency in colour, it should also be noted that this wood boasts a naturally lustrous appearance. This glossiness brings out the richness in its colour, making it aesthetically pleasing. 

Moreover, Meranti's interlocking grain pattern contributes to its toughness and results in an attractive, wavy texture on finished surfaces, making it a delight for craftsmen and those who appreciate artisanal woodwork.


Exploring its Workability

Meranti's workability is a benefit to woodworkers, both amateur and professional. Its straight grain and medium texture contribute to its ease of work, whether you're cutting, shaping, or finishing. Also, Meranti's ability to hold nails and screws well without splitting enhances its utility in construction work, from framing to finishing. 

Further, the wood takes stains and finishes well, allowing woodworkers to customise the final product's look easily. 

So, whether you're aiming for a natural finish that showcases Meranti's beautiful grain or a more refined look achieved with stains and sealers, ultimately, working with Meranti is a rewarding experience.


Expanding on its Uses

While the previously mentioned uses of Meranti wood—construction, furniture making, boat building, flooring, and guitar-making—are common, its applications are not limited to these alone. 

Meranti's strength and resistance to humidity make it an excellent choice for garden furniture, decks, and pergolas. Its resistance to moisture makes it ideal for sauna and poolside constructions. And its superior strength-to-weight ratio also sees it being utilised in making aircraft interiors.

For craftspeople, Meranti's natural beauty and workability make it a preferred choice for carving and sculptural works. Its resistance to warping also makes it suitable for crafting picture and mirror frames.


Meranti vs Ash Wood

When deciding between Meranti and ash wood for furniture, several factors come into play, including cost, aesthetics, and durability. 

Ash wood, known for its light colour, typically ranges from near white to a light golden or reddish-brown, while Meranti can vary from white and pink to reddish-brown. This colour variation gives you more options with Meranti to match different decors. However, ash's lighter colour can be more versatile in accepting various stains and finishes. 

In terms of durability, both kinds of wood are tough and long-lasting, but ash has an edge regarding strength and shock resistance, which could be important for furniture pieces subject to heavy use. 


Woodshop Direct’s Wood Solutions

Whether you're a seasoned craftsman, a DIY enthusiast, or a homeowner searching for the perfect wood, take a closer look at Meranti. Its ability to resist humidity and moisture makes it popular for boat building and construction in damp climates. And its consistent colour and workability have also made it a sought-after choice for furniture-making and guitar-making.

Experience the difference Meranti wood products can make to your projects with Woodshop Direct today.