The rubber tree produces rubberwood, one of the more durable woods available for building furniture. It also produces latex that is used to make all rubber-based products.
Rubber tree is the common name for the tropical tree Hevea brasiliensis. More than 36 million acres of rubber trees, with approximately 90 trees per acre, grow on plantations in the tropics and subtropics of Southeast Asia and western Africa. The tree has soft wood, high limbs and a large area of bark. It grows to 75 or more feet and can reach a diameter of three feet.
Rubberwood for Wood Products
Because of the dense grain of rubberwood, it does not shrink very much during the kiln drying process. For this reason, it is a useful wood product for making furniture and hardwood flooring. Because of its large size, a single tree can provide a significant amount of lumber for products. It is durable and resistant to mould and bacteria, making it ideal for furniture and flooring. It is also compatible with most adhesives.
The rubber tree replaced the rubber plant in the early 20th century as the main source of rubber. The liquid latex that comes from the tree contains approximately 30 per cent rubber. This rubber can then be coagulated and processed to make rubber products.
A rubber tree produces latex for approximately 26 to 30 years, at which time the tree is cut down and a new one is planted. The wood is not used for furniture making until it has completed its life of latex production, unlike other trees that are cut for the purpose of producing furniture. Rubberwood furniture is considered environmentally friendly, because the wood otherwise would go to waste after the tree completed its latex production cycle.
Rubberwood has a beautiful grain that is ideal for making quality furniture. The wood ranges from a pale cream to yellowish brown and is easy to stain, making it a very versatile wood product.
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