Surprisingly enough, most people don’t know that raw rubberwood comes from rubber trees.
It is not a manufactured or engineered wood either.
So what is it? Well, Rubberwood is a low-cost light wood that is harder than most other wood types, which classes it as a hardwood.
The ‘rubber’ in its name suggests flexibility which is often required in smaller furniture items.
It is the same tree that produces latex (milky white sap) when a sliver of bark is removed. This happens when the tree reaches approximately six years of age.
But, when it comes to woodworking, is rubberwood really a good choice? Well, in this article we dive deep into why rubberwood is so popular amongst furniture makers…
What Is Rubberwood (And Does It Make Good Furniture?)
Is Rubberwood Real Wood?
Yes! It is produced just like any other wood type, but some specific qualities about rubberwood make the job of professional woodworkers a little bit difficult.
- This tree type starts to degrade immediately after it is felled. It quickly succumbs to blue stains. So, it is important to cut and manufacture its wood at once.
- The lumber production process is tougher than other types. Wood manufacturers use pressurized preservation techniques with kiln dying – this helps prevent degradation due to commercial use.
- It has a little defect, that’s why it often warps during dying. Which is why you have to always dry it thoroughly first to make it stable.
- The surface of rubberwood is rough due to its large pore size. So in order to get a smoother surface, woodworkers have to pay extra attention to sanding down this particular lumber type.
- The presence of latex inside this wood clogs saw blades and cutters, but this distinct feature also makes it great at holding furniture nails and screws well.
Is Rubberwood Good Quality? Yes, Here’s 8 Reasons Why
Rubberwood is considered a great wood for furniture, however, it has some special benefits that make it one of the most popular wood types in the woodworking industry.
Great Fiberboard Alternative
It is an economical ‘real wood’ alternative to MDF and fiberboard.
And because of its real wood feel, it is mostly used in shoe racks and kids’ bunk beds. Professional woodworkers also love it as it provides as good value as pine.
It Is A Good Shock-Absorber
It has a perfect shock absorber feature that prevents stress and injuries. We see it in gyms and playgrounds so that people and especially children can stay safe. The shock-absorbing capacity is great for seniors too as they won’t feel stress on their joints.
It Is Easy To Clean
The cleaning method is the same as any other wood. Use a dry cloth for cleaning the dust.
And once a year, it is good to wash it thoroughly with soap and water and then dry it with a clean cloth. Just bear in mind, standing water is the enemy of the rubberwood. It damages its finish.
But if your rubberwood furniture has become dull, it is easy to brighten it up again with paste wax or furniture wax.
It Can Handle Harsh Weather
Another great benefit of rubberwood is it rarely shrinks. This quality makes it deal with rough weather conditions.
It is considered as a safe and stable construction material for homes and offices. There won’t be any fumble in the construction even after decades.
It Is Ecologically Friendly
The rubberwood tree gives benefits to humans in its entire life and after its death as well.
First, it produces latex during its 30 years of existence. Once the latex yields become low, planters cut it to plant new ones.
It Is Stain Resistant
It is a lot more stain-resistant compared to other wood types. If you see any stubborn stain on its surface, just use soap and water solution on that specific spot. It will be removed easily.
It Is Burn Resistant
Just like stain-resistant, they are resistant to burns also. They are a good choice for those who are regular smokers. Furthermore, even if this wood type catches fire, it won’t release toxic fumes into the air.
Dents Are Not A Problem
Rubberwood often gets a dent on its surface which affects the quality of its finish. Fortunately, dents can be repaired.
All you need is to cover the dent with a towel or a thick piece of cloth and place a hot iron on it for about a minute. The heat swells the rubberwood and makes the dents disappear.
Does Rubberwood Make Good Furniture?
Well, despite its many good qualities, rubberwood does have a few drawbacks;
- When water is spilled on it, it can be very slippery.
For children and elders, this can be immensely dangerous. You have to wipe the water as soon as possible.
- The finish of this wood type is often dull and not used in smart and lavish homes.
Most homeowners don’t like the dull finish at all, however, some clever woodworkers will use sheets on top of rubberwood so that the homeowner can have any finish they want if they are interested in rubberwood furniture.
- Other than that, it suffers damage if it is placed in an excessively hot room.
You also need to avoid placing it in a place that receives direct sunlight.
- It can discolor its surface.
- Lastly, as we have mentioned before, it is very moisture absorbent.
So don’t use rubberwood furniture in the garden or in any place that has a humid environment.
These drawbacks mean that while rubberwood can be good for indoor furniture, it is not the best option for outdoor/garden furniture items.
Rubberwood is an agricultural byproduct, that’s why it is one of the most economical wood types. When it comes to its appearance, it looks like oak.
People often opt for it because other options cost three times more and they provide the same appearance.
For that reason, it is becoming a growing option in the world of affordable wood furniture.