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Ramin

Scientific name

Gonystylus spp. (mixed group comprised of over 20 species). Family: Gonystylaceae

Other names

Melawis (Malaysia); mavota (Fiji); nununa (Solomon Islands); bagyo; lanutan (Philippines)

Description

  • Medium to tall hardwood.
  • Grows to 50m high and 1.2m diameter on good sites.
  • Straight bole (trunk) and aerial roots but no true buttress.
  • Bark is grey, brown, or red-brown, scaly and covered in very fine irritating hairs.
  • Stems are sometimes fluted at the base.

Occurrence

  • Species marketed as ramin occur in:
    • Malaysia
    • Indonesia
    • Philippines
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Fiji.
  • Grows in coastal swamps and peat forests but can also found in low altitude rainforests.

Appearance

Colour

  • Sapwood not distinct from heartwood.
  • Sapwood is a uniform, pale straw or cream white.

Grain

  • Grain is straight or shallowly interlocked.
  • Texture moderately fine to even.

Uses

  • Construction: protected framing, internal flooring.
  • Decorative: furniture, plywood, turnery, picture frames, mouldings and joinery, veneer, carving, panelling.
  • Others: non-impact tool handles, toys, dowels, drawers.

Properties

  • Density: 630kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.6m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: S4 unseasoned, SD4 seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F7, F8, F11, F14 (unseasoned); F11, F14, F17, F22 (seasoned) when visually stress-graded according to AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: JD3 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: 4.5% (tangential), 1.7% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: 0.13% (tangential), 0.16% (radial)—these values apply to timber of G. macrophyllus reconditioned after seasoning.
  • Durability above-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 7 years).
  • Durability in-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 5 years).
  • Lyctine susceptibility: untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctid borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: not resistant.
  • Preservation: relatively easy to impregnate with preservatives.
  • Seasoning: seasons well but may be prone to surface checking and end splits, particularly in thicker sections; prone to sap stain fungi attack.
  • Hardness: firm (rated 4 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: easy to work to a smooth finish with hand and machine tools, although cutting edges can blunt moderately.
  • Fixing: screws well, pre-drill when nailing near board ends to prevent splitting.
  • Gluing: glues well.
  • Finishing: painting, staining and polishing characteristics are good.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: not differentiated by colour.
  • Heartwood: cream white to pale straw.
  • Texture: moderately fine, uniform, generally straight grain.

Wood structure

  • Vessels: solitary and radial groups up to 4 cells, medium size, uniform distribution; vessel lines visible but not prominent.
  • Parenchyma (soft tissue):aliform with thin extended wings, sometimes confluent.
  • Rays: fine.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: wood burns to ash.

Research and resources

  • Bootle, K 2005, Wood in Australia: Types, properties and uses, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Sydney.
  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: Properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2000, AS 2082-2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.