Ramin (Gonystylus spp.)
Ramin (Gonystylus spp.)

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Common Name(s): Ramin

Scientific Name: Gonystylus spp.

Distribution: Southeast Asia

Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 41 lbs/ft3 (655 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .52, .66

Janka Hardness: 1,210 lbf (5,400 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 18,180 lbf/in2 (120.9 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,255,000 lbf/in2 (15.55 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 9,580 lbf/in2 (66.0 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 4.6%, Tangential: 8.9%, Volumetric: 13.6%, T/R Ratio: 1.9

Color/Appearance: Tends to be a almost white to pale yellow, sometimes grayish. Sapwood and heartwood not differentiated. Prone to spalting and blue fungal staining (as in the case of the pictured sample).

Grain/Texture: Grain is straight or slightly interlocked, and usually without any notable figure or character. Texture is medium to fine, with a low surface luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium to very large pores in no specific arrangement, few; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; heartwood mineral/gum deposits (amber-colored) occasionally present; narrow rays may be faintly visible without lens, fairly close spacing; parenchyma winged.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable to perishable regarding decay resistance, and also susceptible to insect attacks.

Workability: Overall good working characteristics with both hand and machine tools. However, Ramin does have a tendency to splinter during cross-cutting operations. Glues, turns, and finishes well.

Odor: Has a strongly unpleasant scent while green, which mostly subsides once fully seasoned.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Ramin has been reported to cause eye and skin irritation, as well as other side effects such as asthma-like symptoms and increased tendency for splinters to get infected. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Ramin has been over-exploited in the past, and is now listed on CITES Appendix II as an endangered species (this includes the entire Gonystylus genus). Although a strong and useful wood, many suitable domestic alternatives are much more readily available. Trade of Ramin is likely to remain restricted to its natural range within southeast Asia.

Sustainability: This wood species is in CITES Appendix II, and 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: Furniture, cabinetry, veneer, plywood, flooring, utility lumber, dowels, tool handles, and other turned objects.

Comments: Ramin has good working properties and outstanding strength-to-weight characteristics.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures:

Ramin (Gonystylus spp.)
Ramin (sanded)
Ramin (sealed)
Ramin (sealed)
Ramin (endgrain)
Ramin (endgrain)
Ramin (endgrain 10x)
Ramin (endgrain 10x)
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Nick

Bald cypress has better rot resistance but isn’t as hard or strong as ramin. Yellow shorea (lauan, philippine mahogany) looks similar and is probably better than ramin in decay resistance. Slow growth, darker color cypress is generally better than fast growth, having more of the oils that resist decay. Another Eastern wood that beats cypress for boat building qualities is black locust (robinia psuedoacacia), an underused species that’s better than teak in some ways (strength, glue taking, for example). It was the preferred wood for treenails in colonial times. Trees were not big enough for generally shipbuilding, but they will… Read more »

Art

I have a small sailing dinghy that used this wood for the floor boards when it was built back in the early 60s. Most of the boards are in good shape except for one that has split. My local mill thinks that Cypress could be a good substitute. What do you think?