Meranti

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Rich.ca

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I called in to my local timber merchants the other day to price up oak for a window job I have coming up, while looking through their yard I poked my nose into their joinery shop where they specialise in windows and doors and asked what they'd recomend to make the windows from (which will be painted), they said they use meranti for theirs with no problems and it's cheaper than oak and in stock at the yard.

I did some reaserach on't interwebs and didn't really find anything good said about it, but I think most reviews were based on unpainted useage though. Does anyone have any experience with this wood? It seems my local timber merchant has limited to no stock of any alternatives.
 

MrYorke

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I would use idigbo with an exterior oak finish. The joinery I used to work in used Sikkens I think. I would stay away from meranti as I'm pretty sure it's an irritant when machined/sanded etc.

Others will come along soon with more knowledge than me regarding the meranti but idigbo is suitable for exterior.
 

Glynne

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I have some meranti boards which I bought for box making. A really nice if plain timber but I'm not sure how resilient it would be for outside applications as it isn't the hardest of timber although a search on Trada Wood Species does say suitable for exterior joinery. It's meant to be an irritant although I've had no problems with the dust from a P/T.
My inclination would be to go for a timber that's recommended for exterior work, oak, idigbo etc.. but I'm a box /small furniture maker so anything but an expert.
 

RobinBHM

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Meranti is not very durable - class 4. I believe the name covers a few species of wood, some more durable than others. The dark red meranti is quite a good joinery timber.

I would choose red grandis instead, for painted, and idigbo for a cheap oak
 

Rich.ca

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Thanks. My research didn't really bring up any possitives either for this wood, but thats what the window shop said they use, which makes you question their quality! I've tried pricing red grandis, but Timbmet and Lathams have minimum order cost or high postage cost, so thats out of the question.

Seems my local timber yard isn't very well stocked which is frustrating as I've got to try and find some where that is now. Any suggestions in the Buxton area?
 

PAC1

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If we are talking Buxton Uk, as opposed to Canada where yo say you live, then try Hymor's in Stoke on Trent. If you use Idigbo be careful with paint as whilst Idigbo takes stain and sikkens/ Sadolin products very well I have heard of problems with traditional gloss paints. As for Meranti I think Wickes used it for their hardwood for conservatories etc for years.
 

Billy Flitch

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Well no one has said any thing for meranti so I will there's nothing wrong with it.It has been used for making windows for donkeys years, the first time I come across it it was being used to board out trailers of wagons its not very hard but was so cheap it was just ripped off and replaced when it got smashed up.
I`ve also seen it used on ferry`s the seats on the open decks on some ships are life rafts and if the ship sinks they float the batons on the seats where meranti and they sit out in the open all the time.
Its not a very nice wood to work its very bitty and the end grain is very soft, ply wood is also made out of it and you can get splinters in your hands of it and if you leave the splinters in they will go bad.
As for a irritant I think you can class most hard woods as that but I`ve never had any trouble with any hard woods.
As for windows I`ve never had any problems with it but like most woods the paint must be breathable.
 

James-1986

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Meranti is quite a bit cheaper than sapele, a bit easier to work. Not as strong or hard as sapele but no less durable as far as I know. It is about the same price as Douglas fir, a decent bit of softwood should outlast stuff like Meranti. Though the advantage with stuff like Meranti/Sapele is better consistency, with redwood it can be from one extreme to the other in terms of durability.

Never used Idigbo, I heard it tends to be unstable for exterior joinery work?
 

Sgian Dubh

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A difficulty with meranti is there might be up to four named types available for purchase, e.g., dark red meranti, (light) red meranti, white meranti, and yellow meranti, and these differently categorised woods are all Shorea species of one sort or another, of which there are something like seventy. Some of the dark red merantis are durable, and others only moderately durable. Red meranti ranges from moderately durable to non-durable. White meranti is moderately durable, as is yellow meranti. Interestingly, dark red meranti and white meranti are the ones most commonly mentioned as finding uses in exterior joinery, shipbuilding, flooring and the like, so there are precedents, and of course durability is much improved if the wood is kept away from ground contact and given a good protective finish, which is subsequently maintained.

Just to add a little more confusion (for fun I suppose), alternative names to meranti I've come across for theseShoreas are seraya, lauan, and even Philippine 'mahogany' (sic), usually prefaced with descriptors such as red, dark, red, and yellow! Slainte.
 

Rich.ca

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Thanks all, some good info there, but I'm thinking I should just go with the tried and tested oak and play it safe - I don't want to have to replace them all again in 2 years.
 

No skills

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I have a number of salvaged door frames which I belive are made out of meranti, it looks very much like the pictures when you google meranti.
I have been using this timber for various things for a few years and can only tell you what I have experienced.
I think its a bit 'soft', dents a bit too easily for my liking.
It can tear out easily with interlocked grain, make sure everythings nice and sharp!
I have a couple of bits outside as (small) gate posts - their not in ground contact but are exposed to all weathers and they have no finish on them, they have been in use for 4 years and show no sign of rot or splitting.

That's it really, JMO.
 
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