Common Name(s): Yellow Meranti, Lauan, Philippine Mahogany
Scientific Name: Shorea spp.
Distribution: Southeast Asia
Tree Size: 130-200 ft (40-60 m) tall, 5-6 ft (1.5-2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 35 lbs/ft3 (565 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .44, .56
Janka Hardness: 700 lbf (3,120 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 11,720 lbf/in2 (80.8 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,548,000 lbf/in2 (10.68 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 6,450 lbf/in2 (44.5 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 3.3%, Tangential: 7.7%, Volumetric: 10.5%, T/R Ratio: 2.3
Color/Appearance: Typically a yellow to yellow-brown, which tends to darken with age.
Grain/Texture: Has a coarse texture with medium to large pores. Grain is sometimes interlocked.
Rot Resistance: Reported as non-durable in regard to decay resistance, and is also susceptible to insect attack.
Workability: Typically easy to work, though any interlocked grain can present problems during planing. Some species may have a slight blunting effect on tools due to small levels of silica present in the wood. Glues, stains, and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Meranti in the Shorea genus has been reported to cause eye, throat, and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Meranti is widely harvested and widely available worldwide. It should be moderately priced despite the fact that it is imported, though some specific species of Yellow Meranti are reported to be endangered.
Sustainability: Meranti is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but many species in the Shorea genus are on the IUCN Red List. The majority of Shorea species are listed as being critically endangered due to a population reduction of over 80% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.
Common Uses: Plywood, interior furniture, and general construction lumber.
Comments: Sometimes referred to as Lauan, wood in the Shorea genus is very commonly used in southeast Asia, and there is an abundance of variety between the difference species: each with different working properties, appearances, and mechanical strength values.
The five main groupings for Meranti (Lauan) are: Light Red Meranti, Dark Red Meranti, White Meranti, Yellow Meranti, and Balau. The strength and mechanical values listed at the top of this page represent the average of a handful of species within the corresponding group.
Also called Philippine Mahogany, Meranti bears no relation to what is considered to be “true” mahogany in the Swietenia and Khaya genera.
- Balau (Shorea spp.)
- Dark Red Meranti (Shorea spp.)
- Light Red Meranti (Shorea spp.)
- White Meranti (Shorea spp.)
Scans/Pictures: There are currently no pictures of this woods species available for viewing. If you’d like to contribute wood samples to be scanned, (even small pieces of veneer can be sent), please use the contact form.
Hi, this image shows an 18mm hardwood plywood sheet which is commonly sold here in the UK as ‘far eatern plywood’, the FSC label states that it is from China. It does not state what species it is. Could this be Yellow Meranti / Lauan?
Definitely a possibility as the grain doesn’t look like birch or pine, the other common plywood species.