To the uninitiated, rubber wood sounds like it could be a very odd concept; after all, the very point of wood is that it is hard, dense and strong, yet rubber is elastic and can be perceived because of this as being quite weak or flimsy.
In explaining what rubber wood is, we firstly need to dispel that myth and secondly explain what makes rubber wood so amazing and why it's so environmentally friendly.
Is Rubber Wood Made of Rubber?
The first answer to that is no. Rubber wood and rubber isn't really the same thing but they are interlinked through the sap that the tree produces and this is where the common name comes from.
Rubber wood comes from the Para rubber Tree and is grown in extensive plantations in South East Asia.
Rubber wood is often termed by its botanical name of Hevea brasiliensis. It is a hardwood with a very dense grain, and once dried out in a kiln process, it gives very little shrinkage making it ideal for furniture which requires stability and extreme strength. It is, however, not suitable for outdoor use and cannot be used to make garden or patio furniture.
In appearance, rubber wood is a soft, medium brown with a smooth appearance and a straight grain. It produces expensive appearing and luxurious items of furniture and its strength and versatility produce long lasting pieces which are sure to be loved and treasured for many years.
Other Uses and Environmental Friendliness
Although it is used commonly to make furniture, this is only at the end of its lifespan and it is the duel usage which causes it to be termed environmentally friendly.
During its life, rubber wood like maple produced sap but in this case this takes the form of latex and as a result, rubber wood produces the entire world's supply of latex. During its sap producing lifetime of approximately 26 - 30 years, a single tree can produce over five thousand cups of latex but once it ceases to produce latex, it would normally have been cut down and burnt.
The fact that we can now use rubber wood for the manufacture of furniture means that it is one of the most environmentally friendly options available as it fulfils a permanent use after its normal usefulness rather than going to waste and furthermore, it does not have to produce any greenhouse gases in its burning.