If you have recently been furniture shopping, you have more than likely stumbled across the term ‘rubberwood’ and you may now be curious as to what it is and whether or not it makes good furniture. We have provided you with all of the answers in our guide below.
What is rubberwood?
Rubberwood is a light-colored type of tropical hardwood that is sourced from Para rubber trees that typically grow in Africa, Asia, and South America. It is durable and considered to be much more environmentally friendly than several other types of hardwood.
The tree species that it is obtained from produces a sap latex which is used to create rubber, hence why this wood is named ‘’rubberwood’’.
As implied by the term ‘’rubber’’, this wood is a little flexible, but not as flexible as you may expect it to be. It is a real hardwood that is known for its strength and toughness. It is also of a similar density to Maplewood or ashwood. Often, rubberwood is referred to as parawood.
Rubberwood is becoming increasingly popular and is commonly used in the construction of furniture. This is because it accepts paints and stains so you can color it as desired. It is also recognized for its grains and finish.
This wood possesses several characteristics which can make it a little problematic to work with. First and foremost,rubberwood requires a chemical treatment that prevents it from decaying and succumbing to fungal staining.
It will also need to be heavily primed and sanded to get rid of its naturally rough surface. Once a rubberwood tree has been felled it will quickly begin to degrade. Because of this, it will need to be cut straight away.
When working with this wood, you will also need to be cautious about the equipment that is used. The latex tends to clog saws, so issues may be encountered when trying to establish clean cuts. On the flip side of this, the latex can help to secure screws and nails.
Furthermore, as rubberwood dries, it is prone to warping. For this reason, it must be properly dried before it is used for any of your projects.
What is the quality of rubberwood like and why should you use it?
Rubberwood is used in an assortment of woodworking projects and is often used to make furniture and there are several reasons for this. The quality can differ depending on the cut of the wood.
Easy to use
This variety of wood retains designs very well and emulates many fine details which some people may look for in their furniture. Using a machine, the original rough surface can be sanded down until it is smooth and it will then take paint very well.
A viable alternative to fiberwood
Rubberwood is deemed to be a great alternative to fiberwood and is often sought after by professionals in the woodworking industry.
As we have touched upon, rubberwood is thought to be more sustainable and eco-friendly than many other varieties of hardwood. Rubberwood trees produce latex in their first 30 years of existence.
It is only when this yield becomes low that these trees are cut down and new ones are planted. Once they are felled, the timber is then used to produce furniture rather than being burnt.
Easy to clean and maintain
Caring for and maintaining rubberwood isn’t an overly complex task. Simply clean it in the same way that you would clean any other type of wood. To get rid of the dust you can clean it using a dry mop or cloth.
You can then give it a deeper clean once a year using a mild soap combined with water. Ensure that the water is dried and not left to sit on the surface as this can cause it to become damaged.
Rubberwood is known for its durability. It’s slightly flexible, robust, and can survive many years if cared for properly. Before the trees are used for wood they endure a process where they are chemically treated and this enhances the toughness.
Aside from this, rubberwood is also fairly resistant to shrinking. Whilst it is not recommended for outdoor use as excessive moisture can cause it to rot, it will not shrink considerably if it is only exposed to a minimal amount.
Naturally, rubberwood is a good shock absorber, hence why it is commonly used in gyms. It has cushioning qualities which reduce the risk of injury and it also eases stress on joints.
Resistant to burning and staining
This type of wood is both burn and stain-resistant. As it is naturally stain-resistant it is an ideal choice for furniture that is going to be introduced to a busy home.
Should you notice any stains on the surface of the furniture you will be able to remove them fairly easily. A combination of mild soap and water will lift the stain. Similarly, rubberwood is also resistant to burning.
Whilst it will become slightly discolored it will refrain from emitting toxic fumes or harmful gases. It also possesses antimicrobial properties that are going to protect it from bacteria and mold growth.
For this reason, if anyone in your home smokes, the rubberwood isn’t going to become severely damaged.
The cost of rubberwood is another reason why it is popularly used for furniture. Because it is believed to be a byproduct, it often retails at a lower price than other types of wood. Although it may be cheaper, it remains to be a good quality material for furniture.
Is rubberwood a good choice for furniture?
Whilst there are many benefits associated with using rubberwood, there are also a few drawbacks to be aware of.
Although it is fairly strong and durable, in comparison to other types of wood, it is more susceptible to damage. As such, it is important to be careful when placing your furniture.
Try not to put it in areas that are excessively hot or dry because such temperatures can lead to a change in the wood’s appearance.
Rubberwood is also very absorbent. Whilst it is an ideal option for indoor use, it isn’t going to fare as well when used outdoors. This is because a collection of moisture can cause it to deteriorate quickly.
When exposed to sunlight, the color of rubberwood can start to discolor and fade, starting to look more yellow than its natural light brown color.
It is also worth noting that rubberwood furniture isn’t the best choice for individuals that have a latex allergy. Some people with mild allergies may not experience a bad reaction after coming into contact with rubberwood, but those with a severe allergy are more likely to.
Rubberwood is widely used within the woodworking industry. It appears to look similar to wood and is used in the production of furniture. It is cost-effective making it an ideal option for those looking for good quality furniture on a budget.
It also has a slightly unique design and can be stained or painted the color of your choice. Although there are some disadvantages associated with this type of wood, there are many impressive benefits.