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Balau - The heavy hardwood.

Balau - The heavy hardwood.

Standard Name: Balau (Heavy Hardwood)

Family: Dipterocarpaceae

Botanica Name: Shorea spp., Barbata and Ciliata (section Eushorea Brandis)

Distribution: Widely distributed throughout Malaysia except in peat swamp forest. They are especially abundant in the hilly areas.

General description: Sapwood is moderately well-defined and lighter in colour than the heartwood. The colour of freshly cut heartwood is yellow-brown, brown or brown with reddish tinge weathering ultimately to a deeper shade of brown or reddish dark brown.

Grain: Usually interlocked, often giving rise to faint strip figure

Texture: Fine and even

Common Uses: Suitable for heavy construction, bridges, wharves, railway sleepers, piling, transmission post, beams, keels, keelsons, framework of boats, heavy-duty furniture and heavy-duty flooring


Our recommendation: Sourced directly from east Malaysia, Balau is imported in sizes from 300mm x 300mm x up to 6 meters in length. They are commonly used as ship’s keel blocks, launch way, ship’s deck sheathing, and even fenders. Known for its durability, it is also used as timber decking and cladding in tropical countries like Singapore.

The hardness of the wood can also have disadvantages. It is usually difficult to work with for fine woodworking carpenters and prone to cracks near the heartwood.

For wider planks of above 100mm, we recommend a thickness of at least 30mm and a minimum of 20mm for planks of width between 50-100mm.


Common sizes available:

Anything below 300mm x 300mm below in cross-sectional area and length not more 20ft than can be customized. Please consult our timber specialist for the recommended size of different usages.

Common decking sizes are

90mm x 30mm x 5ft-8ft

95mm x 20mm x 5ft-8ft

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