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Question

Is Meranti the same as Maple? Door supplier advertising external door frames made of Meranti as Maple, calling it “Indonesian name for Maple” - is this correct? And is it suitable for external use?

Woodsolutions Answer +

It would be more correct to say that maple is an Australian name for meranti. In Indonesia meranti is generally known as meranti, although it also goes by other common names such as seraya and lauan. In Australia it is often marketed as Pacific maple, particularly in relation to plywood made from meranti. This has been the practice for many years, although meranti is no relation botanically to the 'true' maples that grow in North America and Europe. As to its suitability for external use, Australian Standard 5604, Timber - Natural durability ratings, places light-red meranti in Durability Class 4 when located outside above ground, where Class 1 is the highest durability and Class 4 the lowest. Class 4 Durability implies a probable service life of up to 7 years under full weather exposure, according to AS 5604. This will depend on severity of exposure, maintenance of protective coatings, likelihood of rain penetrating joints, etc. all of which may give meranti a longer or shorter life than 7 years. If your external door frames are protected from the weather by a porch or verandah then the service life of the timber is virtually unlimited. If the imber is fully exposed it may be possible to source preservative treated meranti. More details about meranti are on our website here: https://www.woodsolutions.com.au/wood-species/meranti-light-red.

Meranti
Question

My 13-15 yr old balcony has solid merbau columns that have galvanised bolts securing them to galvanised stirrups. I have severe degradation of the galvanising at mid way along the bolt shanks - some bolts have been reduced to approximately 80% diameter. I find there is still a liquid emanating from the centre of the columns when I drill new holes into them -even after possibly 15 yrs in situ - I live in the north of WA where we rarely have rain except in June or when cyclones bring it so I doubt if the liquid is water. I suspect the liquid is corroding the zinc - have you knowledge of this problem?

Woodsolutions Answer +

It seems unlikely that your merbau columns would contain enough natural moisture after 15 years for liquid to emanate when holes are drilled into the wood. We feel there must be some external source of moisture. Even if the columns were installed 'green' (unseasoned), moisture would have evaporated by now as the timber reached equilibrium with local climatic conditions. That is the basis of the air drying process where freshly cut timber is placed in covered stacks to season naturally. Perhaps your columns have taken up moisture from adjacent roof gutters or a garden watering system. Corrosion of the bolts is most likely due to the acidity of the wood, although acid attack is only serious in the presence of moisture. Merbau reportedly has a pH value of 4.3, ie. to the acidic side of neutral (pH 7). In moist wood acetic acid is produced which can corrode metal fasteners under prolonged exposure. Rusting metal in turn degrades adjacent wood, so the process needs to be controlled. If you are unable to find a source of moisture perhaps replacing the bolts with stainless steel would be advisable.

Acidity of wood
Question

I have a DIY question. i want to change the colour of my old Jarrah wood bookshelf, which is 2.8 m wide and 3.9m high. It has currently dark red tones and shades in it. I would like it to be a lighter shade. Is there a way I can strip off the colour? The other option I was thinking was to paint it white with a chalk paint. I have timber flooring which is a dark brown shade. The jarrah red toned bookshelf does not go with the decor. Please can you advise how i can change the colour at home.
 

Woodsolutions Answer +

The natural colour of jarrah is dark red and the colour goes right through the wood so it's not just a matter of stripping off the colour. It is possible to bleach wood so if you write 'bleaching wood' or similar wording in your browser you will see how to do it. However, your suggestion of painting it white would be a lot simpler!

Jarrah colour
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