But what is rubberwood, and why should you consider it for your next furniture purchase?
Rubberwood comes from the Pará rubber tree and is considered environmentally friendly due to its sustainable production process.
With its affordability and versatility, rubberwood has become a go-to material for furniture makers.
But how does it compare to other types of wood? Let’s examine the benefits and drawbacks of using rubberwood.
Table of Contents
What is Rubberwood?
Rubberwood is a type of hardwood that comes from the Hevea brasiliensis tree, which also produces latex.
It is a popular construction material because of its durability, cost-effectiveness, and eco-friendliness.
The wood is solid and does not contain synthetic rubber, but is similar in color and texture to maple.
Rubberwood is commonly used for furniture, cabinetry, millwork, cutting boards, and musical instruments. The wood is harvested from rubberwood plantations in regions such as Asia, Africa, and South America.
How Much Does Rubberwood Cost?
The cost of rubberwood depends on the category of wood, such as finished or unfinished, and the size of the piece.
Finished rubberwood for countertops costs around $350 for a 10x2ft piece, while unfinished wood may be cheaper.
Rubberwood is a commodity wood and is considered to be a budget-friendly option for furniture and woodworking. It is not as expensive as other hardwoods such as teak or cherry.
The cost also depends on the supply and demand of the wood in the local market and can vary from region to region.
FSC Certified Rubberwood
Rubberwood is an eco-friendly option for furniture and other wood-based products.
The way the wood is harvested and processed plays a crucial role in determining its environmental impact. It is important to look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification when purchasing rubberwood products.
This certification ensures that the wood is harvested in a way that supports environmentally conscious forest management.
FSC certification ensures that the forest’s natural ecosystem is maintained, and trees are not over-harvested.
This certification also provides fair wages and working conditions for workers involved in the harvesting and processing of the rubberwood.
Comparing Rubberwood Vs. Hardwood
Rubberwood is a type of hardwood used for furniture, cabinetry, millwork, cutting boards, and musical instruments.
It is often compared to other hardwoods like teak, oak, and cherry, and is a relatively cost-effective alternative.
Rubberwood has a coarse texture and is elastic, making it easy to cut and carve.
It takes stains and finishes well, giving it an exquisite look. It is also scratch-resistant and has good durability due to its dense grain and resistance to fungus and bacteria.
Hardwood, on the other hand, is a broad term that encompasses different types of woods like maple, oak, and ash.
Unlike rubberwood, hardwood is a category of wood based on its botanical classification and not its properties.
Hardwood trees grow slowly, making it a more expensive option, and they tend to be found in colder climate regions.
Hardwood is commonly used for high-end furniture and flooring due to its natural beauty and durability.
When choosing between rubberwood and hardwood, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget.
Rubberwood is a more affordable option that offers similar properties to hardwood, making it a more viable option for many.
Rubberwood is an elastic wood hybrid that has a coarse texture and a blonde color that is similar to maple.
It is a medium-density hardwood, comparable to ash and maple, and has a Janka hardness rating of 1,050 lbf. The wood is solid and does not contain synthetic rubber.
It is also easy to cut and carve, making it a popular option for furniture makers.
Rubberwood is also a moisture absorbent wood. It can take in water and shrink in size, and it can also warp and twist while drying.
However, proper seasoning and treatment can reduce the wood’s susceptibility to warping. Furthermore, rubberwood is a stable wood, which is why it is great for furniture.
It does not expand or contract significantly with changes in temperature or humidity.
Rubberwood is not naturally insect repellent, fire-resistant, or heat-resistant. It requires heavy treatment and seasoning to be usable as hardwood.
The wood is also susceptible to impact damages and discoloration from direct sunlight. However, it is resistant to fungus and bacteria and does not scratch easily, making it a durable option for furniture.
Rubberwood takes stains and finishes well, making it possible to customize the appearance of the furniture. It can also be painted but may require a primer first.
Rubberwood costs less than hardwoods like cherry or oak, and finished rubberwood for countertops costs around $350 for a 10x2ft piece. Unfinished wood will likely be cheaper.
Common Uses of Rubberwood
Rubberwood is a popular material for furniture, especially ready-made furniture.
It is used for cabinetry, millwork, tables, desks, chairs, and cutting boards. It is also a popular wood for musical instruments like guitars.
Rubberwood can be stained, painted, or finished to match different wood patterns and is an affordable option for furniture.
Rubberwood is also a popular choice for butcher blocks and cutting boards due to its density and resistance to bacteria and fungus.
The wood does not scratch easily, making it a great option for cutting surfaces.
However, it is important to note that rubberwood is not heat-resistant, so hot pans or dishes should not be placed on it.
Deciding If Rubberwood Is Right for You
Rubberwood is a viable option for those searching for a budget-friendly and eco-friendly option for furniture. It is a durable hardwood that takes stains and finishes well, making it customizable. However, it does require chemical treatments and seasoning to be usable as hardwood, and it may cause allergic reactions for those with latex allergies. Rubberwood also warps and twists while drying, making it unsuitable for outdoor use.
It is important to purchase FSC certified wood, which stands for Forest Stewardship Council certification, to support environmentally conscious forest management.
Rubberwood is a strong and durable hardwood, comparable to teak, but is more affordable.
It should be chosen based on personal preference and cost, and there is a good chance rubberwood is right for you as there are few drawbacks to the wood.
However, it lacks personality and is susceptible to impact damage and discoloration from sunlight and chemical cleaners.
Overall, rubberwood is a cost-effective and easy-to-maintain hardwood option for furniture.
Is rubberwood cheap wood?
As a wood expert, I can say that rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis) is generally considered to be an economical wood choice.
This is because rubberwood is a byproduct of the latex industry, where the trees are grown primarily for the production of latex sap used in the manufacture of rubber products.
Rubberwood has a relatively low density and a low natural durability, which can make it prone to denting, scratching, and wear over time.
However, it is also a versatile wood that can be easily shaped and finished, making it a popular choice for a wide range of furniture and decorative applications.
While rubberwood may be considered a “cheap” wood compared to some of the more exotic or rare woods available, it is still a viable option for many applications due to its affordability, availability, and ease of use.
Additionally, with proper care and maintenance, rubberwood furniture can last for many years, making it a cost-effective choice for many consumers.