Merbau (Intsia bijuga)

Merbau (Intsia spp.)

View More Images Below

Common Name(s): Merbau, Kwila, Ipil

Scientific Name: Intsia spp. (I. bijuga, I. palembanica)

Distribution: From East Africa to Southeast Asia and Australia; 
(primarily New Guinea)

Tree Size: 130-200 ft (40-60 m) tall, 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 51 lbs/ft3 (815 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .68, .82

Janka Hardness: 1,840 lbf (7,620 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 21,060 lbf/in2 (145.2 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,310,000 lbf/in2 (15.93 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 10,650 lbf/in2 (73.4 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 2.9%, Tangential: 4.8%, Volumetric: 8.0%, T/R Ratio: 1.7

Color/Appearance: Has an orangish-brown color when freshly cut, which ages to a darker reddish-brown. Color between boards can be highly variable. There are also small yellow mineral deposits found throughout the wood, making it easier to separate from other lookalikes. (These yellow deposits are water-soluble and can cause staining.)

Grain/Texture: Grain is straight to interlocked. Texture is coarse, with a moderate natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; large to very large pores, very few; solitary and radial multiples; mineral deposits occasionally present, including conspicuous yellow deposits; narrow rays, normal spacing; parenchyma banded (marginal), paratracheal parenchyma vasicentric, aliform (winged or lozenge), and confluent.

Rot Resistance: Merbau is reported to be very durable, and resists both rotting and insect attack.

Workability: Glues and finishes well, though it can be difficult to saw due to gumming and dulling of teeth.

Odor: Has a unique smell when being sawed or sanded: which can also cause irritation and sneezing.

Allergies/Toxicity: Merbau has been associated with mild allergic reactions: most common is skin irritation and a runny nose. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Offered sporadically, lumber is usually sold in ample widths and lengths when available. Prices should be moderate for an imported hardwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.

Common Uses: Flooring, furniture, musical instruments, turned objects, and other specialty wood items.

Comments: This wood has excellent strength characteristics, along with excellent stability, making it ideally suited for use as wood flooring and other applications where strength is important.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:


Merbau (Intsia bijuga)

Merbau (sanded)

Merbau (sealed)

Merbau (sealed)

Merbau (endgrain)

Merbau (endgrain)

Merbau (endgrain 10x)

Merbau (endgrain 10x)

Merbau (turned)

Merbau and Padauk (turned)



  1. Essarr March 21, 2018 at 7:46 am - Reply

    Goes by the name ‘Vengai’ in Tamil Nadu and South India. Used for roofing beams mostly. Raw wood runs reddish stain when wet during rains.

  2. Feliks Ampung September 29, 2017 at 12:50 am - Reply

    I am Feliks Ampung from Semarang Indonesia. I am working in Teak Garden Furniture Company.
    I am glad finding this site.
    Thanks a lot
    Feliks Ampung

  3. David Peters September 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    I lived in PNG when I was in high school and I used to make clocks and desk organizers from this wood. It is beautiful with a Satin Polyurethane finish. Wish I could get some of this today.

  4. Vladimir Le February 17, 2017 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    i need import timber from PNG to Vietnam

    • Rodney Yowat July 16, 2017 at 6:57 am - Reply

      Please email us your interest. We are suppliers of sawn kwila timber.
      Email us on yowatjr@ or

    • Jastria Rahmat October 10, 2017 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      still interested? i can supply containers of merbau from PNG at the best quality & price. FOB only and graders are welcomed. contact me to ijash1000{a.t.] (Fast response within a day)

  5. Wins Alcantara January 28, 2016 at 10:31 pm - Reply


    • Scient March 14, 2016 at 5:58 am - Reply

      In philippines they call it “Taal” if you are referreing to ipil-ipil then you are wrong, look for the scientific name.

Leave A Comment