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BALAU (Shorea laevis)

Trade Name


Scientific Name

Shorea laevis Ridley



Common Names

Balau; Pa-yom dong (Thailand); Bangkirai (Spain); Bangkirai (Italy); Bangkirai (Sweden); Sen (Vietnam); Phchek (Cambodia); Selangan batu (Sarawak); Bangkirai (France); Aek (Thailand); Bangkirai (Netherlands); Yakal (Philippines); Gisok (Philippines); Malaykal (Philippines); Sal (India); Thitya (Myanmar); Bangkirai (United Kingdom); Bangkirai (Germany); Chan (Thailand); Balau simantok (Malaysia); Selangan batu (Sabah); Damar laut (Malaysia); Pooti (Indonesia); Kedawang (Indonesia); Kumus (Indonesia); Selangan batu (Indonesia); Brunas (Indonesia); Benuas (Indonesia); Aggelam (Indonesia); Ca-chac (Vietnam); Bangkirai (Indonesia); Bangkirai (United States of America); Balau Kumus (Malaysia); Sengkawan darat (Malaysia); Kumus (Malaysia)

Scientific Name Synonyms

Shorea rogersiana Raizada & Smitinand; Shorea laevifolia (Parijs) Endert; Shorea ciliata Ridley

Description Of The Tree

Botanical Description

It is a very large tree up to 75 m tall. The bole is branchless for 18 to 27 m and up to 210 cm in diameter, with prominent buttresses of up to 6 m high.

Natural Habitat

It occurs in hilly areas at altitudes 200 to 1,000 m, often gregarious, growing on well drained soils.

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Wood Identification

Anatomic Description Of Wood

Wood diffuse porous. Tangential diameter of vessel lumina 200 micras or more (large). Tyloses common. Vestured pits. Vessels per mm2 5 to 20. Vessel-ray pits reticulate and/or foraminate. Simple perforation plates. Intervessel pits small, 7 micras or less. Axial parenchyma in marginal or in seemingly marginal bands. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty and/or vasicentric. Axial parenchyma aliform. Axial parenchyma bands more than 3 cells wide. 4 to 10 rays per mm (medium). Body ray cells procumbent with mostly 2 to 4 rows of upright and/or square marginal cells (Kribs-II). Body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright and/or square marginal cells (Kribs-III).

  • Wood Macro Photo Tangential Plane
  • Wood Micro Photo Of Transversal Section


Cites Status


General Wood Description


It has no distinct odor, but it has a slightly bitter taste.


The sapwood is sharply demarcated from the yellow-brown heartwood, darkening with age.

COLOR INDEX (1=Black, 7=Light yellow,white)



The grain is mostly interlocked.


Fine texture is reported in this species.

Natural Durability

It is resistant to fungi attack.

Natural durability index (1= Very high durability, 7=Vey low durability)


Silica Content

Silica Content: It contains 0.1 to 0.4 % of silica. Silica Value: 0

Resistance To Impregnation

The sapwood is permeable, but the heartwood is extremely resistant to preservative treatment, even if incised.

Wood Physical Properties

Basic Density or Specific Gravity (O.D. weight/vol. green) (g/cm³)


Air-dry Density (Weight and volume at 12%MC) (g/cm³)


Total shrinkage Tangential (Saturated to 0%MC) (%)


Total shrinkage Radial (Saturated to 0%MC) (%)


Drying Defects

Ease of Drying: Drying is rather slow and sometimes difficult to perform. Drying Defects: Risks of checks and distortions. Kiln Schedules: Schedule proposed as a reference by comparison with well known species taking into account to the general technological behavior of this species.

Recommended Dry Kiln Schedule

UK-G; JP-7; US-T8-B3

Dimensional stability ratio (Total Tangential Shrinkage %/Total Radial Shrinkage %)


Wood Chemical Properties

Wood Mechanical Properties

Bending Strength (MOR),12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Stiffness (MOE) 12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Compression parallel to fiber 12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Compression perpendicular to fiber 12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Shear strength radial 12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Janka hardness (side) 12%MC (kgf)




Considering its density it is moderately easy to cut.

Rotary Veneer Cutting

Although lamination is possible, it is unsuitable for the production of veneer and plywood.

Sliced Veneer

Although lamination is possible, it is unsuitable for the production of veneer and plywood.


It is easy if special sharp cutters are used, but severe difficulties are reported if interlocked grain is present.


The planing of air-dried timber is considered fair to difficult. Picking up is fairly common in the radial faces, a reduced cutting angle of 15 degrees is recommended.


In green condition, it is easy to bore, but boring of air-dried timber is slightly difficult.


Pre-boring is required for nailing.


It is reported to be easy to glue.


It has a good finishing.


End Uses Summary

EXTERIOR GENERAL, bridges, poles, stakes posts, crossties, HOUSING GENERAL, flooring, FURNITURE AND CABINETS, PLYWOOD AND VENEER, SPORTS, TOOLS, tool handles, agricultural tools, CONTAINERS, cooperage, truck bodies, truck flooring, NAVAL CONSTRUCTION, port pillar, port storage

Exterior General
  • 1 - Tabela de resultados de ensaios fisicos e mecanicos
  • 2 - 25 madeiras da amazonia de valor comercial, caracterizacao, macroscopica, usos comuns e indices qualificativos
  • 3 - Estudo dendrologico e determinacao das caracteristicas fisicas e mecanicas do genipapo (Genipa americana)
Stake Posts
  • 5 - Propriedades fisicas e mecanicas da madeira e do contraplacado de Pinus elliottii
  • 8 - Maderas latinoamericas. III, Podocarpus standleyi ,Podocarpus oleifolius, Drims granadensis, Magnolia poasana y Didymopanax pittieri
General Housing
  • 10 - Silica in Timbers
  • 14 - Handbook of Hardwoods
Furniture Cabinets
  • 21 - Tropical timbers of the world. Part III-Southeast Asian and Oceanian Species.
Panels, Veneers
  • 25 - Directory of Timber Trade Malaysia
  • 38 - Annual Review and Assessment of the World Timber Situation 1998-ITTO
  • 42 - Utilización Industrial de Nuevas Especies Forestales en el Perú.
Tool Handles
  • 43 - Maderas de Bolivia (Características y Usos de 55 Maderas Tropicales)
Agricultural Tools
  • 44 - Atlas of Peruvian Woods
  • 50 - Properties of imported tropical woods
  • 51 - Recopilacion de propiedades mecanicas de maderas creciendo en Chile
Truck Body
  • 53 - Timbers of the New World
Truck Flooring
  • 54 - Bulletin of the Government Forest Experiment Station N.157: Identification of Tropical Woods
  • 55 - Tropical Timber Atlas of Latin America
Port Pillar
  • 61 - Manual de Diseño para Maderas del Grupo Andino
Port Storage
  • 62 - Estudio Tecnológico de Maderas del Perú (Zona Pucallpa) Vol I

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