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MersawaMersawa is the Malay name for a timber which occurs from Bangladesh to New Guinea and the Philippines. Some dozen or more species provide commercial timber, which comes mainly from western Malaysia, from Thailand (known as krabak) and the Philippines (known as palosapis).
Typically a tall tree with a long, straight stem, mersawa produces large and cylindrical logs.
Different species have woods which vary in character, but are typically pale-yellow, moderately coarse in texture and straight-grained. A plain wood lacking any decorative feature (unless it is accurately quarter-cut to give a ray fleck), mersawa varies in density from species to species. It is about the same weight as teak, but palosapis is somewhat heavier.
Sawn mersawa is difficult to dry and, because it contains silica, though in very small amounts, it is abrasive to saws and cutting tools. These two properties limit its use as sawn wood. However, it can be rotary-peeled to give a good veneer. It has some resistance to decay, but should not be exposed to fungus or termite attack. The wood is difficult to treat effectively, even by pressure methods.
Though sometimes sawn, e.g. for flooring, mersawa is now a popular timber for plywood production,to which it is more suited. Logs have been exported to Japan, but plywood is being made in increasing volume in SE Asia. The outer plies of white-faced Malaysian plywood are usually either of mersawa or white meranti.
Extract from 'The International book of WOOD' curtesy Michael Beazley Publishers Limited 1979.