Botanical Name: Neobalanocarpusheimii
Species: Tropical Hardwood
Source: Peninsula Malaysia
Descriptions: Sapwood is well defined. When freshly sawn, the heartwood is light yellow-brown with a distinct greenish tinge, darkening on exposure to dark purple-brown or rust red. Grain is interlocked. Texture is fine and even.
Air-Dry-Density: Approx. 915 – 980 Kg/ m3
Defects: Small pin-holes, caused by ambrosia beetles boring into the living trees, are a common and characteristic defect of Chengal. These small holes are often numerous, but although unsightly, they are only in exceptional cases sufficiently numerous to impair the strength of the timber. These ambrosia beetles die when the timber is seasoned and thus the damage is restricted almost entirely to that which occurs in the green timber. With the exception of pin holes, the timber of chengal is free from knots and other defects characteristic of sawn timber.
Durability: The timber is classified as naturally durable and is normally very resistant to termite attack and fungal infestation. Untreated railway sleepers of size 238 mm x 125 mm x 1,950 mm laid under severe environmental conditions gave an average service life of 19 years.
Uses: The timber is suitable for all forms of heavy construction, railway sleepers, heavy duty furniture, benches, bridges, marine construction, boat building, flooring (heavy traffic), decking, fender supports, staircase balusters, carriages, handrails, risers, treads, columns (heavy duty), door and window frames, carving works and other uses where strength and durability are required. It is sometimes referred to as the “Malaysian Teak”. Despite its extreme strength and hardness, Chengal is highly flexible before it is fully cured, making it the ideal wood for plank bending (boatbuilding). It is also highly resistant to rot, fungi and mildew. In addition, Chengal has a relatively low shrinkage ratio, (only inferior to Teak) which makes it excellent for applications where it undergoes periodic changes in moisture. Chengal, like Teak, has the unusual properties of being both an excellent structural timber for framing, planking, etc.
Maintenance: Chengal decks should only be washed with salt water. This cleans the deck, and prevent it from drying out and the wood from shrinking. The salt helps it absorb and retain moisture, and prevents any mildew and algal growth.
Recommended to revarnish once in 2-3 years for surface maintenance.