Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wood Carving of Malaysia

Malaysia being a tropical country is blessed with many forests that have enabled the timber industry to thrive. Woodcarving of various forms and patterns is one of the classical Malaysian art that is still growing today. In general, the type of wood that are used in wood carvings are Chengal, Merbau, Ngatoh and Jelutong. These woods are found in the forest of Malaysia. As this resources began to diminish due to the world wide demand for timber, efforts have been put in to re-plant trees that had been felled.

The woodcarvings pattern of chairs, tables, racks and other household product are the most populer to malaysian as a decorative a items.

Chengal wood came from the tree with botanical name Neobalanocarpus Heimii. The tree grows best on undulating land with light sandy soils though it can be found in various terrains of Malaysia. The wood is light yellow brown with a distinct greenish tinge when freshly sawn but became dark purple-brown or rust red on exposure. Its grain is in locked with a fine and even texture. As the wood is hard and durable, it is used for the construction of boats, bridges, lorry body work, marine construction and also in carving work.
Merbau wood came from the tree with botanical name Intsia Bijuga. The tree grows in the lowland tropical rainforest near the mangrove swamps, rivers or floodplains. Merbau is a very durable and termite-resistant wood which makes it a highly sought after material for flooring
and other usage. The wood is also used to extract a dye. The bark and leaves are used in traditional medicine.

Nyatoh wood came from the family of Sapotaceae. The tree can grow up to 100 feet or more with a trunk diameters up to 3 feet. The heartwood varies from pale pink to red brown. The sapwood is lighter in colour. It has a sour smell when freshly milled. In general, Nyatoh wood has a low resistance to termite attack. It is used in the making of furniture, plywood and in general utility wood.

Jelutong wood came from the tree with botanical name Dyera Costulata. It grows well in low-elevation tropical evergreen forest. The tree can grow up to 200 feet with diameters up to 6 feet. Its timber is used in the making of furniture, wood carving and other wood work. The roots are used as a cork substitute and its latex was an important source of chewing gum in the nineties. The tree is grown commercially for timber.

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