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Balau Hardwood
Balau Hardwood

Balau Hardwood

Balau - Species: Hopea spp.

Family: Dipterocarpaceae

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.

Balau Timber

Balau Timber

(1) Pacific tropical hardwoods are categorized accordingly:

Heavy Hardwoods
Medium Hardwoods
Light Hardwoods

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

Balau Hardwood

Balau Hardwood

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:


Tectona:....1300 lbs

Balau:........2600 lbs


(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

SFC: Sustainable Furniture Council

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