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Recently felled rubber tree logs ready for processing

 

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Four year old rubber trees

 

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Timber

Timber 3 Timber 2 Timber 1
State of the art equipment in the mill. Pressure impregnation plant. Timber being processed.

Mahogany, teak, jarrah are all names that you'd usually associate with high quality furniture. Unfortunately, demand for these timbers has seen vast swathes of deciduous and tropical forest habitat destroyed. Items now made from these trees are incredibly expensive and ecologically unacceptable as the manner in which these trees are felled is not generally sustainable.

By comparison, Rubberwood (or “Para wood” as it is often known) is the most environmentally friendly timber used in today’s furniture industry. Its properties compare well with those of conventional hardwoods. As a member of the maple family, rubberwood has a dense grain character that is easily controlled in the kiln drying process. It is strong, flexible, has minimal shrinkage and is resistant to fungus, bacteria and mould. It is easy to work with, compatible with most industrial adhesives and has a beautiful grain suitable for quality furniture.

The wood, which is a pale cream to yellowish brown in color, is very accepting of different stains and finishes. The finish adaptability is rated at 94% of that of teak under standard conditions and comparable to beech for workability. Parawood can be substituted for several exotic timber species including ramin, meranti, sersaya, merbau, kapur, tangile and teak.


Strength Properties of Air Dried Parawood compared to Other Species


Species

Air –dry density
(kg/m3)

Static bending MOR (N/mm2)

Static bending MOE (N/mm2)

CPaG (N/mm2)

CPeG (N/mm2)

Side Hardness

Shearing strength parallel to grain (N/mm2)

Rubberwood

650

66

9,240

32.2

4.69

4,350

11.0

Dark Meranti

610

77

12,10

39.6

4.14

3,650

8.7

Light Meranti

575

75

13,600

41.4

2.51

2,940

6.8

Sepetir

690

92

13,600

46.3

5.93

5,210

13.6

Nyatoh

675

79

12,200

44.5

-

5,430

11.0

Ramin

675

88

15,900

48.8

-

4,580

8.5

Source Lee et al Hong Kong 1995

In the past, when the rubber trees on the Vizara estate reached the end of their economic life, they were felled and burned or chopped up for firewood. In 2006, the owners of Vizara undertook a feasibility study to determine whether the felled trees could be processed into quality export timber. The study concluded that the potential was there for the construction of a timber mill dedicated to the processing of this timber.

Accordingly, in 2006 Vizara Eco Timbers was formed and a significant investment was made to finance the construction of a modern timber mill which was subsequently opened by H.E. Bingu wa Mutharika, President of Malawi, in October, 2008.

The Vizara Eco Timbers mill has been equipped with the some of the most advanced machinery and equipment available. It includes a range of sawing and machining equipment, a pressure impregnation plant and state-of-the-art computer controlled kilns.

timber timber3