By and large, wood is not only one of the first materials used by man for furniture, without a doubt, it also remains one of the classiest. However, just using any type of wood for your floor or furniture simply won’t do! This is one reason why you need to know little things like the different types of tropical wood out there.
The benefit of this knowledge is that it’ll guide your hand and ensure that whatever material you do end up using serves you long and well.
Some of the different types of tropical wood we’ll be discussing today include teak wood, walnut wood, sal wood, Sheesham wood, meranti wood, mahogany wood, oak wood, and maple wood.
Here, we’ll be looking at tropical wood in greater detail. From here, you’ll be able to more easily determine the next material for your home’s floor or furniture.
A Brief Breakdown of Tropical Wood
The use of tropical woods as furniture in homes is not a recent development by any means. What’s more, largely due to the versatile nature of these materials, they were also used for a wide variety of purposes in the home.
For the longest time, tropical woods have been used to make everything from log cabins to even arts and crafts. What’s more, certain types of this wood family have also been known to be used as firewood as well.
So, for the most part, it is safe to say that these woods have been a part of our culture and heritage for the longest time. So, before going into greater detail on the various types of tropical wood out there, let’s take a moment to explore the various characteristics of tropical woods that make them such a valuable resource.
Major Features of Tropical Woods
Moving forward, you should note that every single tropical wood species carries numerous characteristics which make it unique and distinct from the other trees in that category. However, because these trees need to be more or less in the same conditions for them to grow, there are certain attributes that they all share, by default.
Some of these characteristics include;
The Rate and Pattern of Growth
Thanks in large part to the rather unique climatic attributes of the geographic locations where most tropical trees are found, these trees tend to reach rather tall heights.
On average, a tropical tree will reach several meters in height at full maturity. What’s more, several breeds of this type of wood have been known to grow even taller than this with a remarkable level of frequency.
In addition to being quite tall, these trees are also known to be very thick and possess considerable girth. Lastly, they often undergo the most vigorous growth and have a reasonably long lifespan.
Tropical Wood Growing Region
Another common trait that all tropical wood trees share is the type of space that they can grow in. As you’ve just learned, these types of trees are especially predisposed to massive growth. So, as you’d imagine, not every region and climate can support such high demands and requirements.
Because of this, you are only likely to see these types of trees growing in specific regions and climes. As such, while the particular climate readings might differ slightly, tropical woods will only ever grow well in regions that are warm and wet all through the year.
This is because the trees rely heavily on a constant and consistent supply of the nutrients that come with the rain and hot temperature to sustain their growth. It’s the steady supply of said nourishments that leads to the luxurious vegetation observed on these trees.
Time of Leaf-Shedding
Another thing that is peculiar to just tropical wood trees is the time and manner in which they shed their leaves. On average, most tree types have a fixed time of the year and season at which they shed their leaves.
The shedding time of those trees is predominately guided by a change in the seasons which consequently leads to a flux in the quantity and quality of nutrients available to the trees.
However, the case is different when it comes to tropical trees. This is because, as was earlier mentioned, the climate that such wood grows in is predominantly hot and wet all year round.
As a result, because there’s no change in season, these trees don’t undergo the process of leaf-shedding as it is commonly observed in most other wood types.
The Types of Tropical Wood to Know
There are a host of tropical wood trees out there. And, naturally, these serve different purposes, thanks in large part to the unique individual traits that they may possess.
Having established this, we will now be looking into the specifics of some of the most popular wood types in this category to find out more about just what it is that they have to offer you and your space.
When you are armed with this information, it’ll become infinitely easier for you to make the right pick when you’re finally ready to get that new floor in or add an interesting piece of furniture to your space.
Without further ado, here we go!
1. Teak Wood
Scientific Name – Tectona grandis
Growing Regions – The tropical and subtropical regions of southern and southeastern Asia and Africa
Growing Dimensions – Over 40 meters tall and 1.5 m to 2.0 m trunk diameter
These are one of the majestic and amazing trees you’ll find among tropical woods today. When new and freshly-cut, it assumes this superb, honey-brown color that only adds to its overall beauty and aesthetic appeal.
This particular wood type also contains a natural component (teak oil) that serves as a protectant for the wood. What this means for you is that once used for furniture, it becomes immune to the effects of the weather.
That’s one of the major reasons why this type of wood is considered more than ideal for use as patio furniture, windows, lawn chairs, floors and even swimming pool edges. However, it’s also great for indoor use as well.
2. Walnut Wood
Scientific Name – Juglans spp
Growing Regions – North America and Oregon
Growing Dimensions – Over 18 m and 1.5 m to 2.0 m trunk diameter
Also known as Claro walnut wood, this particular tropical wood has a lot to offer. Unlike many of its counterparts, this particular tree doesn’t have as many leaves naturally. Rather, it directs much of its nutrients into ensuring it has a silky texture.
It is a naturally strong type of wood but at the same time remains remarkably easy to work with. What this means is that should you choose to go with this type of wood for your furniture, indoor or outdoor, there’s no limit to what you can use it to do!
All through it all, you can rest assured that it’ll always retain its original luster and shine too!
3. Sal Wood
Scientific Name – Shorea robusta
Growing Regions – South Himalaya, Bengal, Odisha, and the Shivalik Hills in Haryana
Growing Dimensions – Over 30 m and 2.0 m to 2.5 m trunk diameter
This type of wood is arguably one of the best materials that you can use for indoor and outdoor furniture. Thanks to several unique attributes that it possesses, it’s easily capable of bringing a lot of fresh things to your space.
To start with, it has a special, light appearance that you can leverage to brighten up your space. Another great thing about this type of tropical wood is that it is incredibly durable so you can rest assured that you will have it in excellent condition for a long time to come.
However, due to how precious the material is, you may have to pay a pretty penny to get it. Also, due to how hard the wood can be, you’ll need to make sure you get the services of a skilled craftsman if you want to get the best out of it.
4. Sheesham Wood
Scientific Name – Dalbergia sissoo
Growing Regions – North Indian region
Growing Dimensions – Over 30 m and 1.5 m trunk diameter
Predominantly found in north India, it takes over two decades for this tropical wood to grow to full maturity. Well regarded as one of the finest and most high-quality timber products in the world, this type of wood is reserved for individuals who want furniture that oozes a measure of confidence, character, and class.
One of the things we consider to be a truly attractive feature of this type of wood is that it can be easily carved to get even sharp edges. This trait alone means that there is virtually no item you can’t craft it into. The amazing level of latitude you get with this product makes it more than worth whatever you have to pay to get it.
5. Meranti Wood
Scientific Name – Shorea spp
Growing Regions – Southeast Asia
Growing Dimensions – Over 35 m and 1.0 to 2.0 m trunk diameter
Also known as Red Lauan by many, this tropical wood is another popular member of the Shorea genus family. It typically has a purplish-brown or dark red color after being cut.
It also produces a unique form of resin which makes it one of the more durable types of tropical wood out there. However, while it may be mostly impervious to the actions of the elements and, up to a point, that of time, it is especially susceptible to insect attacks.
Beyond this though, this wood is one of the most perfect materials you could use for making indoor furniture and sprucing up your home.
6. Mahogany Wood
Scientific Name – Khaya spp
Growing Regions – West Africa, Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Florida
Growing Dimensions – Over 40 m and 3.0 to 4.0 m trunk diameter
Mahogany wood is one of those tree types that needs very little introduction. Unlike many of the trees on this list, it doesn’t grow in clusters. This is only one of many variables that add to its charm and appeal.
This type of wood isn’t only great for making indoor and outdoor furniture, but it’s also been known to be employed in the boat building industry and has even been used to make musical instruments, thanks to its sound-enhancing properties.
7. Oak Wood
Scientific Name – Quercus robur
Growing Regions – Tennessee, Kentucky, Canada, and North America
Growing Dimensions – Over 30 m and 1.0 to 1.5 m trunk diameter
This is another very popular wood type. And, while it does have a considerable number of subspecies, it bears mentioning that most of these trees are exemplary when it comes to using them for furniture.
These types of wood tend to possess a kind of texture that’s malleable enough that it can be shaped into the desired object. At the same time, they have a strength about them that ensures they serve you well for decades. They make truly exemplary furniture pieces.
8. Maple Wood
Scientific Name – Acer spp
Growing Regions – Northern Africa, Canada, North America, and Europe
Growing Dimensions – Over 40 m and 1.0 to 2.0 m trunk diameter
With over 132 species and subspecies to choose from, there’s very little doubt that this type of tropical wood has a considerable load of offerings at its disposal.
The unique blend of characteristics found in several of these wood types means that they can be readily used for everything from maxing furniture and cabinets to utensils and even musical instruments as well!
Another perk of this wood type worth mentioning is that they are remarkably durable as well so you won’t regret getting these.
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As far as selection materials for furniture and construction go, we can confidently say that it doesn’t get much better than with tropical woods. Their wide array of versatile uses means that you can readily rely on them to serve various purposes. So, now that you know some of the best wood types out there and what you can do with them, the only thing left to do is make your choice and turn your home into a more beautiful space!