Balau - Species: Hopea spp.
A tropical hardwood of the family Dipterocarpaceae and is a type of Shorea hardwood. Balau is a very dense tightly grained wood that is heavily laden with rich tropical oils and resins. Balau’s texture is very fine and even. For centuries Balau has been used for shipbuilding, heavy-duty furniture, and heavy construction, coveted for it’s excellent strength and weather resistant qualities. Balau is also a responsibly managed species and although it’s mechanical properties are superior, Balau has not experienced the overpricing that Tectona has. Below you will find a property comparison between Tectona and Balau.
(1) Pacific tropical hardwoods are categorized accordingly:
Group 1 Very Durable
Group 2 Durable.....................Balau
Group 3 Moderately Durable....Tectona
Group 4 Not Durable
Group A Extremely Strong…...Balau
Group B Very Strong
Group C Strong......................Tectona
Group D Weakest
With the above comparison in mind, Tectona is rated as a Medium Hardwood and Balau a Heavy Hardwood. With regard to durability, Tectona has a durability rating of Group 3 or Moderately durable and Balau is rated a Group 2, Durable. In the strength category, Tectona is rated a Group C or Strong whereby Balau is rated the very best as a Group A or Extremely Strong.
To bring this all into perspective one needs to analyze the working stress data per category as follows:
(2) WORKING STRESSES IN FLEXTURE - POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH
(1) Timber Species of Tropical Hardwoods, STTP, 1st Edition, 1996
(2) Malaysian Timber Industry Board, Second Reprint, November 1994
(3) ITWA International Teak Woods Association