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RUBBERWOOD

Hevea brasiliensis

Hevea brasiliensis of the family Euphorbiaceae

A light-colored, moderate-weight, moderate-strength wood that is harvested after it no longer produces the latex from which rubber is made. It's widely used in cheap furniture from Asia, which you'll find in big box outlets. I don't mean this in an overly disparaging way; it's a good wood for the purpose and is a MUCH better use for the trees which used to be just burned after wearing out their latex producing ability.

I note that in pretty much all of the furniture, as well as much of the planking shown on the internet, finger jointing is used to make planks. I don't know if this is for increased stability of the end product or if it is because the rubber tree plant doesn't get too big. I think it's the latter but it could be both.

Even stranger, or at least more unusual, is that the veneer of this wood generally seems to be made not by slicing the tree itself as is normally the case for making veneer but rather first making thick finger-jointed boards and then veneer-slicing THEM. I do not recall ever having seen this done with any other wood.

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions


both sides of a sample plank of rubberwood / Hevea brasiliensis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

NOT A RAW WOOD COLOR
a set of small plank strips cut from the bottom of one of those inexpensive Asian-produced chairs that was part of a cheap rubberwood table/chair set. This side still has the finish on it. The other side of the same pieces is directly below. All of these pics of this set of planks sat on the Mystery Wood page for years before one correspondent alerted me to the likelihood that they were rubberwood. I KNEW they were from a wood widely used for inexpensive furniture from Asia and only a little research made it clear that they are rubberwood, once he had put me on the scent.


the sanded side of the pieces directly above


both sides of a small piece also cut from the same chair seat


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above. The closeup is too washed out in color; it should have a light orange/tan color.


END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above and one of another piece from the same set of planks


face grain closeup, emphasizing the moderately coarse (i.e. porous) nature of this wood


both sides of a sample plank of rubberwood / Hevea brasiliensis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of rubberwood / Hevea brasiliensis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was contributed to the site by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The second side still has a finish on it and the first side is freshly sanded.


end grain and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of rubberwood / Hevea brasiliensis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was contributed to the site by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This piece shows the finger joint that is very common in rubberwood (even in the veneer)


end grain and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above

web pics:


planks (without finger jointing --- some of these have jointing, but it is just butt jointing, not finger jointing)


butt-jointed plank with a color that is just silly


finger-jointed planks. Some of these were specifically designated as Hevea brasiliensis


counter top. I note that his does not appear to be finger-jointed, just end-butt jointed and side to side laminated


finger-jointed veneer sheets (see discussion at the top of the page)


closeup of a finger-jointed veneer sheet. There's no finger joint in this pic but you can see the side-butt laminations.


veneer that has strips but no finger joints


table and chair set


rubberwood tables and table tops


a bird house that I found listed as rubberwood but as Larry Osborn pointed out to me, it really doesn't look much like rubberwood and it does look a lot like some kind of plain old pine. The internet is SO reliable ...


rubberwood corbels


bread paddle

toy rocking horse