Parawood, also known as rubberwood, is a popular type of wood harvested from the rubber tree used for making furniture. This type of wood is mostly found in South East Asia and Brazil regions. Parawood has a very fine texture and is highly durable due to its ability to produce a unique sappy material like latex.
Parawood was not always a popular choice for furniture making because it is prone to insects and fungi attacks.
However, in recent times plantations have discovered certain chemicals that can help keep fungi and insects away.
Rubberwood is one of the best renewable sources of wood as of today. This is because wood can be harvested from one rubberwood tree more than once. Plantations can harvest most of the wood from the rubber trees until all the latex is exhausted. After this, the tree is felled and new ones planted.
What Are the Characteristics of Parawood?
The unique characteristics of parawood make it completely different from other types of wood. One of its major distinctions is its color. Parawood has a pale-yellowish color which is not that common in other trees.
Most timbers are usually dark or light brown.
Another characteristic is that it’s light in weight. This makes it ideal to be used in different types of furniture. It also makes its transportation easy.
Parawood also has a compact grainy texture which makes it highly durable thus perfect for furniture making.
It produces a high level of starch. This starch is why parawood attracts insects and fungi, which are responsible for the decaying of wood.
Rubberwood trees are big and can grow to a height of 75 and a thickness of 3 feet. This enables them to produce a lot of wood. Wood can also be harvested more than once from the same tree.
Making of Parawood
Advantages and Disadvantages of Parawood
Like any other type of wood, parawood too has its fair share of pros and cons. When choosing a material to make your furniture, one needs to weigh down the advantages and disadvantages of the materials. Although there are some shortcomings of using parawood for furniture, its pros surpass them.
Advantages using parawood for furniture
Parawood is very durable, thanks to its compact structure from the inside. As a result, it is very strong and sturdy, enabling it to last for many years.
Rubberwood is soft and comfortable to the touch. This makes it the best choice for making chairs, table benches, and other types of furniture.
This is one of its most important advantages. The wood is fire-resistant and can’t burn easily. Also does not produce toxic gases in case it comes into contact with fire. This makes it the best wood for furniture in places like offices and schools. Where there are large masses of people, and a fire outbreak can occur.
The soft texture of the parawood also makes it to be shock-absorbent. It is this nature that makes it ideal for use in gyms, senior homes, and factories. It’s also used in places of work where there is big machinery and is likely to experience electrical shock.
When used properly, parawood can last up to 20 years. Its maintenance cost is low compare to other woods. All you have to do is make sure it does not rot. This can be achieved by applying appropriate chemical treatments correctly and cleaning.
Disadvantages of parawood for furniture
Although the soft nature of parawood has helped defined its popularity is also one of its major deal-breakers. Its soft texture makes it very slippery, making it very dangerous to use in the floor-making business.
Parawood makes the most durable and high-quality furniture in the market, making it very expensive. Although it is the best type of wood, there is no huge demand for it since buyers tend to shy away from its prices.
Susceptible to Rotting
As stated before, parawood is highly prone to fungal and insects attacks. This is why it is so easy to rot. Some factors like water can speed its decaying process, so it’s best always to keep your piece of furniture dry.
Parawood can get stained or discolors fast. Therefore, maintaining its original color may require extra attention. In addition, it is important to note that some products like detergent may increase its staining ability.
Parawood Vs. Other Types of Lumber
For rubberwood to be termed the best wood, it must be compared against other types of wood. Therefore, we will pin it against commonly used timbers for furniture to compare their characteristics. Comparison is what makes every woodworker set their preferences in the furniture-making sector.
Parawood Vs. Pine
The biggest difference between parawood and pine wood is that parawood produces latex while pinewood produces resin. Therefore, the uses of these woods also differ due to this difference.
Production of resin makes it strong against rotting thus can be used to make outdoor furniture. Pinewood also has a piney smell due to the production of resin; this smell puts repels away insects like termites. This makes it the best for building cabins and bungalows. Pinewood is also commonly used for exterior and interior walls.
On the other hand, parawood is best for making indoor furniture because it rots easily. It is a very attractive wood, that’s why it is preferred in homes and offices. It is also long-lasting compared to pinewood. Each one of these timbers is best for different woodworks. Therefore, it is wise to choose your type of wood based on what purpose you need them for.
Parawood Vs. Oak
Parawood is also known as Malaysian oak. Because both parawood and oak come from the same family (Oak family), they have more similarities than differences. These woods are both grainy, have smooth textures, so they are for the same purpose.
The main difference between oak and parawood is durability. Parawood is more durable than oak because it does not shrink easily due to its strong internal compact structure. Parawood also does not break or crack easily. However, it attracts both fungi and insects; hence it rots very easily.
Oak, on the other hand, especially the Red and white oak from North America, doesn’t attract insects or fungi. This makes it hard for it to rot. Oak also fares well when exposed to moisture, so it can be used to make outdoor furniture. Their line of difference is pretty thin; the choice will entirely depend on the user’s preferences.
Parawood Vs. Maple
Like parawood, maple is durable, light and both are found in North America. Although maple wood has a creamy color, it also has fewer grains compared to parawood. It also embraces stains well. Parawood has a pale-yellowish color and discolors easily; its grainy texture makes it highly absorbent to stains.
Maple fares well in different types of temperature and humidity, which means it can be used in making outdoor furniture. Parawood, however, does not do well with moisture is best used for indoor furniture. In addition, Parawood can maintain its original color, unlike maple, whose color changes over time.
Parawood vs. Beachwood
Parawood is slippery hence not ideal for making floors, whereas oak has a rough texture to be used. Beach wood also burns well in fire and can be used for firewood. On the other hand, parawood is fairly resistant to fire; this makes it suitable for furniture making.
How to Finish Your Parawood
It is very easy to design parawood. One of the characteristics of parawood is that it stains easily; this makes it easy to paint and stain it. With minimal guidelines, you will be able to easily finish your piece of furniture, whether a table or a chair. No expertise is needed.
How to Paint Parawood
When painting your parawood, the following will be needed; latex primer, Oil-based primer, acrylic enamel, roller, paintbrush. You will also need acrylic latex primer and painter’s tape.
First, use the painter’s tape to cover the parts you don’t want the paint to reach. Then put a fresh coat of acrylic latex primer with the roller.
Next, use the painter’s brush to apply latex primer smoothly. Let the primer dry for roughly 2hours and paint with the latex paint. When the paints have finally dried, use acrylic enamel to finish your piece and leave it to dry.
How to Stain Parawood
The first step is to use appropriate sandpaper for sanding the parawood. Then fill the holes or any damages on your piece with wood filler and leave the filler to dry. Finally, mix the stain correctly according to the instructions on its package to get your desired color.
You can either use a rag or a paintbrush to apply the paint. I suggest you use a painting brush since it’s more effective. Apply the stain using the brush appropriately. Wait for the stain to dry and wipe away excess. Then, apply a top coat for a nice finish.
Tips On Maintaining Your Parawood Furniture
As we know, parawood is naturally a highly durable and attractive timber for making furniture. However, it may not reach its full potential if attacked by insects and fungi.
It is therefore important to provide extra care to it to help it maintain its attractiveness and quality.
- The first step to maintaining your furniture is washing it once a year using soap and clean water. After washing it, dry it off. Make sure your furniture is completely dry to protect it from rotting.
- Frequently use furniture wax to make it shiny and maintain its attractiveness.
- Another tip on maintaining parawood is always to keep your parawood from moisture; if it gets wet, dry it immediately.
- Most importantly, you are to apply chemical treatment frequently. This will help repel insects away and kill any fungi development.
- Use a chemical stripper to finish your furniture.