Red Meranti Wood : Exploring its Properties & Practical Uses

    Red Meranti Wood

    Meranti is a hardwood that belongs to the Shorea genus and is found mainly in Southeast Asia. Meranti wood is particularly famous for its strength and durability, which makes it suitable for a wide range of applications. The grain of Meranti wood is typically straight but can also be wavy. The wood looks beautiful in its natural colour which ranges from light pink to dark red, depending on the species.

    If you are looking to know more about Meranti wood or are curious about this hardwood’s various types, properties and uses, continue reading our article. If you want to buy Meranti hardwood timber at wholesale prices, contact White Knight Consulting Ltd for the best offer.

    Different Types of Meranti Wood

    Meranti timber has many species, each with its own unique properties, pros and cons. Some of the most popular species of Meranti are Dark Red Meranti, Light Red Meranti, White Meranti, and Yellow Meranti. We’ll discuss in detail about red Meranti wood species here in this article.

    There are two major types of Red Meranti – Dark Red Meranti and Light Red Meranti. The obvious difference is in the colour, but their properties and uses may also slightly differ. Dark Red Meranti is heavier, denser and harder than Light Red Meranti and is also more durable.

    Other popular wood species in the Shorea genus include Shorea leprosula, Shorea parvifolia, Shorea negrosensis, Shorea ovalis, and Shorea pauciflora. Shorea leprosula, also known as Philippine Mahogany, is the scientific name of red Meranti. Shorea parvifolia or Borneo Mahogany is known for its stability and resistance to decay. Shorea negrosensis, found in the Philippines, is reddish-brown with a straight grain. Shorea ovalis is native to Indonesia and used for general construction and plywood.

    Properties of Red Meranti Wood

    properties of red meranti wood

    Meranti is an attractive, strong and durable wood that is resistant to decay and suitable for a variety of projects, including outdoor applications. It is also sometimes called Philippine Mahogany in some areas due to its similarity to mahogany in terms of appearance and properties.

    Origin & Trees

    Both Dark Red Meranti and Light Red Meranti species are native to Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia. Meranti trees are also grown for harvesting in Malaysia, Kalimantan, Thailand, Singapore, and other surrounding regions.

    Meranti trees are about 65-130 ft (20-40 m) tall and have a 3-6 ft (1-2 m) trunk diameter. Not just very tall but Meranti trees are also branch-free for the most part of their height (up to 3/4th), which is why large boards of Meranti are easily available.


    The colour of dark red meranti is a dark reddish or purplish brown and has white streaks which may or may not be clearly visible. The grain is straight but can also be interlocked and the texture is coarse with low natural lustre.

    Light red meranti is a light-coloured wood, which ranges from light brownish to dark reddish. It has a straight or interlocked grain and a coarse texture.

    Strength & Durability

    Dark red meranti is hard and strong. It is also more durable than light red Meranti. Both Meranti species are considered durable in terms of resistance to decay, but they can be susceptible to insect attacks. Light red Meranti has low durability to rot and should not be used in exterior applications.

    Meranti is also known for its stability and versatility, which make it suitable for use in a variety of projects.

    Workability of Meranti Wood

    Both types of red Meranti are equally easy to work with hand tools and machines. However, any interlocked grain in dark red Meranti can create problems in planing. It also doesn’t respond well to steam-bending. The species may also have small content of silica present, which can make tools blunt on regular use. It responds well to staining and finishing and is also easy to glue.

    Light red meranti has a lower density, which makes it very easy to work with. It glues, stains, and finishes rather well. The presence of silica may cause blunting effective on tools and cutters.

    Drying Meranti wood is easy and quick and takes about 2 to 6 months depending on the method of wood drying. Air drying can reduce the moisture content of Meranti wood from 60 per cent to less than 20 per cent in just a few months. Natural drying is considered better as it causes very little degradation of the wood.

    Technical Properties of Red Meranti

    Dark Red Meranti Light Red Meranti 
    Average Dried Weight675 kg/m3480 kg/m3
    Specific Gravity.55, .68.40, .48
    Janka Hardness800 lbf 550 lbf
    Modulus of Rupture12,710 lbf/in211,210 lbf/in2
    Elastic Modulus1,743,000 lbf/in21,652,000 lbf/in2
    Crushing Strength7,070 lbf/in26,120 lbf/in2 
    ShrinkageRadial: 3.9%, Tangential: 7.8%, Volumetric: 12.5%, T/R Ratio: 2.0Radial: 4.1%, Tangential: 7.8%, Volumetric: 12.6%, T/R Ratio: 1.9

    Dark Red Meranti is harder, stronger and heavier than light red meranti.

    Uses of Red Meranti Wood

    Meranti is one of the cost-effective hardwoods and so it is a popular choice of woodworkers for a range of moderate-quality applications, which include construction, furniture making, moulding, outdoor applications, windows, doors, etc. Dark red Meranti is moderately durable and can be used for some outdoor applications. It is particularly favoured for boatbuilding. Its resistance to decay and rot makes Meranti wood suitable for outdoor projects and construction.

    Light red Meranti is used in many interior and joinery applications such as cabinet making, flooring, handrails, panelling, interior furniture, moulding, architraves, skirting, and more. Because of its beautiful reddish appearance, it is considered a superb choice for making modern furniture and attractive wood finishes.

    Because of its similarity to mahogany, meranti is often used as a less costly alternative to genuine mahogany wood.

    Other major uses of Red Meranti wood include:

    1. Furniture: Meranti wood is a common choice for furniture manufacturing. Its stunning reddish-brown hue and straight grain make it suitable for building high-quality, strong furniture pieces.
    2. Doors and Windows: Meranti wood is also used for doors and window frames because of its good stability, which makes it resistant to warping.
    3. Flooring: Dark Red Meranti wood is sometimes used for making hardwood flooring. Its high density and durability make it suitable for use in high-traffic areas.
    4. Plywood: Meranti wood is also commonly used for making plywood panels and veneers for use with other woods. It can be easily sliced into thin sheets or veneers.
    5. Construction and Joinery: It is also a popular wood for use in construction and joinery applications. It is used to build structural elements such as beams, columns, and trusses.
    6. Boat Building: Due to its durability and resistance to moisture, Meranti wood is a popular choice for boat building and other marine woodwork applications.
    7. Musical Instruments: It is also sometimes used in musical instruments, especially for making acoustic guitars.

    Where to Buy Red Meranti Wood?

    Looking to buy Meranti wood or timber for your project? Meranti wood can be purchased from various sources, online or offline, including local lumber yards, retail stores, specialised wood suppliers, and online retailers like White Knight Consulting Ltd. Always compare multiple options for wood quality and price and only buy sustainable wood from an FSC-certified timber supplier.

    White Knight Consulting Ltd is a top FSC-certified meranti wood supplier to many locations around the world. Wherever you are, you can now order online on our website or call us to order wood for doorstep delivery.

    whatsapp icon