When you look for furniture and other wooden items, you’re probably going to come by a wood called parawood. But what is parawood, exactly? What does it use and where is it from?
There are so many sorts of wood used for furniture and other wooden items. Each have their own characteristics and knowing them makes you appreciate their beauty even more. One of the types of wood you will most likely encounter when furniture hunting is parawood.
I. What is Parawood?
Parawood is more popular than you think. You probably have a bunch of parawood in your house and you just didn’t know because of its many names.
Parawood, also known as rubberwood, is wood from a rubber tree. This type of tree is native to Brazil, but its cultivated in tropical regions like parts of Asia. Parawood has many other names: plantation hardwood, Malaysian oak, white teak, and Hevea.
The primary harvest of a rubber tree is the milky liquid it produces. The sap is what natural latex or natural rubber uses. However, after about 30 years, the latex yield will stop or slow down. That when you can harvest the rubber tree for its wood and new ones are planted.
II. Characteristics of Parawood
The tree itself can grow as tall as 75 feet and have a diameter as wide as 3 feet. That said, it can produce large amounts of lumber, but only after it has latex productions slow down or stop.
The furniture industry favors parawood for its color, which is a natural pale yellow. The lightness allows for custom color to match preferences. However, it can tend to be dull and might need polishing.
Parawood has open grains much like the grains of mahogany, which can be controlled by kiln drying. It also has little shrinkage, gaining the favor of furniture manufacturers because it makes the wood more stable for furniture.
One of the disadvantages of parawood is that it is highly perishable and it has low natural resistance to rot and decay. The wood, which is high in starch content, makes it susceptible to insect attacks and fungal staining.
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Fortunately, the wood can undergo chemical treatment to prevent such things from happening. With proper maintenance, parawood can last for 20 years or more.
Parawood is also not ideal for outdoor use. Rain and other weather conditions can alter the protective chemicals and hasten rotting and decay. Overexposure to wetness can also warp the wood.
III. Uses of Parawood
As mentioned earlier, it has the favor of many furniture manufacturers. It is commonly used in cabinets, drawers, flooring, wood carvings, interior millwork, veneer and plywood, and more. Like other hardwood, parawood is available in different grades or quality.
- Some toys and children’s furniture also use parawood for its durability and strength. You can also find some kitchen tools made of parawood.
- The wood is a good shock absorber, making it common in gym floors. It helps provide good cushioning to avoid fall injuries for those working out.
- Parawood flooring is ideal for senior homes because it lowers the stress on joints and makes movements easier.
IV. How to care for Parawood
One of the advantages of parawood is that it is low maintenance. You can generally use the same cleaning methods for other types of wood.
- Ideally, you should wash it with a soapy solution once a year. Thoroughly dry it with a clean cloth to avoid moisture that can welcome fungus or hasten decay.
- You can brighten up the wood with furniture wax. But you should also occasionally strip off the wax because it collects dirt over time.
- Avoid displaying the wood in very dry or hot places. This can cause the finish and the surface of the wood to discolor.
- Avoid putting hot items such as cups, pots or pans, directly on the wood. It will create white rings on the surface. Although you can wipe or removed these stains, it’s still best to avoid them by using pot holders and coasters.
- Wipe off any spills of alcohol or hot water immediately to prevent damage to the finish.
Parawood is the secondary product of a rubber tree, which also goes many other names. You should only harvest the wood of a rubber tree when latex production stops or slows down. For this reason, parawood furniture and other items that use parawood, are considered to be environmentally friendly.
Did you find the information helpful? If you have questions regarding parawood, or if you have any information you’d like to share, use the comment section below.