A Quick Guide To Rubber Wood Vs Pine Wood [For Furniture]

Contrary to popular opinion, rubber wood is far from rubbery in texture. Instead, this solid hardwood can be used to make everything from decadent cabinetry to decorative cutting boards.

It is surprisingly tough too. And it can handle scratches and scrapes with relative ease.

But the same cannot be said for Pine wood.

Pine wood is a popular construction white wood that’s both affordable and stable. Yet, it is a fairly soft timber that doesn’t handle everyday wear and tear anywhere near as well as Rubberwood.

Related Post: Is Whitewood Really Any Good For Framing?

But is this enough of a reason to choose Rubberwood, over Pine wood, for your next wooden furniture project?

Well, in this post, we reveal whether Rubberwood’s solid enough to be used as furniture. We also compare the strength of Pine wood against Rubberwood — and explain what this means for the durability of either one.

And keep reading to discover why Rubberwood may not be suitable for kitchen furniture…

rubber wood vs pine wood

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Is There Any Difference Between Solid Wood And Rubber Wood?

There isn’t any difference, because Rubberwood lumber is in fact very solid. Only the material (i.e. rubber) — created from the latex extracted from Rubberwood trees — is actually flexible.

Otherwise, Rubberwood is good enough for making solid interior furniture, and durable enough to handle everyday wear and tear. It is not, however, the most high quality wood you can use.

The large open pores of this hardwood mean that the surface of Rubberwood furniture feels rough — even after finishing.

But, having said all that, Rubberwood does hold screws and nails surprisingly well.

Is Rubberwood A Hardwood Or A Softwood? It is officially classed as a hardwood.

If That’s The Case, Then Why Is Rubberwood So Cheap?

It’s because this tree is mainly harvested for its latex, not its timber.

Rubberwood lumber isn’t prized or sought after. Certainly not in the way that the trees latex substance is.

On top of that, there are more durable (and rot-resistant) tropical hardwoods you can choose from.

Related Post: A Quick Beginners Guide To Rubber Wood Vs Teak Wood [For Furniture]

Top 5 Woodworking Projects That Sell
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But Is Rubber Wood Furniture Higher Quality Than Pine?

Rubberwood furniture is better quality based on its durability alone.

There are other aspects that you can compare, (such as price and/or the surface quality of the lumber). However, if you want your furniture to last, then Rubberwood is by far the better choice timber.

This is because Rubberwood is stronger than Pine. And its strength advantage means that Rubberwood can better shrug off scrapes and dents.

You see, one way we measure the strength of wood is by looking at it’s Janka rating. The Janka rating measures how much compressional stress it takes to crush a piece of wood (based on its wood species).

The higher the Janka rating, the greater the compressional strength. And the greater the compressional strength, the better wood is at resisting scratches.

Now, Rubberwood has a Janka rating of 960 lbf. That means it will take 960 pounds of force for you to make a deep scratch in this timber.

Southern Yellow Pine, on the other hand, has a lower Janka rating of 690 lbf, making it a softer wood than Rubberwood.

And Eastern Pine fairs even worse in terms of its compressional strength, with a Janka rating of only 380 lbf.

Related Post: Poplar Wood vs Pine (5 Things You Need To Consider)

But I’ve Read That Rubberwood Is Somewhat Similar To Pine…

Far from it. First off, Rubberwood is a hardwood, while Pine is a softwood.

But, other than their different wood classifications, these two woods aren’t that dissimilar when it relates to how easy they are to work with.

Pine wood has a lot of wood knots that make it difficult to machine. While Rubberwood’s grain is saturated with enough trace latex, that it can quickly dull router bits and gum up table saws.

Also, Rubberwood and Pine wood aren’t rot resistant, so they’re best used only for interior furniture.

Does Rubberwood Take On Stains And Paint Easily? If you apply stains directly onto this wood, the resulting color can turn out blotchy due to uneven absorption. You’ll need to prep the surface of Rubberwood before you stain or paint it. And you can learn more by checking out our post right here on The Woodwork Place: can you paint Rubberwood

So Which One Is Better For Interior Furniture? Rubberwood Or Pine…

Due to its compressional strength alone, (and provided you’ve properly sealed it), Rubberwood can last for decades.

So, if you want some long-lived furniture, opt for Rubberwood.

The only reason you’d opt for Pine over Rubberwood, is down to price. Pine wood is cheaper due to the fact that it isn’t imported.

And Is Rubberwood Good For Kitchen Furniture Too?

If your kitchen is often filled with steam/moisture — and water spills are a frequent occurrence at your dinner table — then avoid Rubberwood.

Why? Well because while rubber may be waterproof, Rubberwood lumber is not. Quite the opposite.

Rubberwood is not rot-resistant, nor does it have any water-resisting characteristics about it.

In short, Rubberwood is susceptible to wood rot. Which makes it a poor choice for any sort of setting that may have a lot of splash-back, steam, or humidity, (like bathrooms, kitchens, washrooms, etc).

To Wrap Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…

  • 1). Rubber wood trees produce latex. This is the substance used to make rubber. However, the lumber from this tree is solid wood.
  • 2) Rubberwood is a much stronger and more durable solid wood than Pine wood. This makes Rubberwood a better option for furniture than Pine.
  • 3). Rubberwood is not rot-resistant. It won’t last long if it’s used in areas that tend to have a lot of steam or splash-back (such as the kitchen or bathroom).

References:

Sulaiman, O., et al. “Effect of sanding on surface roughness of rubberwood.” Journal of materials processing technology 209.8 (2009): 3949-3955.

Nazarpour, Forough, et al. “Evaluation of biological pretreatment of rubberwood with white rot fungi for enzymatic hydrolysis.” Materials 6.5 (2013): 2059-2073.