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Old 11-12-2019, 21:29   #1
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Meranti vs Oak

Hi all,

Iím getting to the stage of the interior refit where I am choosing timber for the fiddles.

I am going with the sort of fiddles that double as hand holds. Aside from being quite practical, I reckon they look very salty.

I can easily obtain meranti or oak planks in the size I need. But I am not sure which would be a more suitable timber for the job.

I have to remove quite a lot of the timber bulk with a router to make the handhold holes, so I am worried about how the wood will behave under the router.

Then I am also concerned that the remaining timber is not greatly weakened by the fact that I will be cutting out large sections across the grain. So something that splits easily will not be good.

Any thoughts on the properties of each of these timbers, or a strong preference for some other sort?

Matt
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Old 11-12-2019, 22:24   #2
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

Meranto is fairly soft and can be screwed without pre-drilling, it also takes glue well. However, whilst these properties make it a good timber for cleatage when building cupboards it makes it a poor choice for any purpose where strength and durability are required. It also tends to rot fairly quickly in the marine environment unless protected by a sealer treated with a fungicide.

I assume when you say oak that you are referring to Tasmanian oak. Whilst heavier than Meranti it is also much stronger and harder and consequently more durable. Being fairly straight grained and knot free it performs well structurally. Being light coloured it also tends to look good when varnished and tends not to darken with age.

Another choice would be nyata which lies somewhere between meranti and Tazmanian oak in properties.
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Old 11-12-2019, 22:34   #3
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Hi all,

I’m getting to the stage of the interior refit where I am choosing timber for the fiddles.

I am going with the sort of fiddles that double as hand holds. Aside from being quite practical, I reckon they look very salty.

I can easily obtain meranti or oak planks in the size I need. But I am not sure which would be a more suitable timber for the job.

I have to remove quite a lot of the timber bulk with a router to make the handhold holes, so I am worried about how the wood will behave under the router.

Then I am also concerned that the remaining timber is not greatly weakened by the fact that I will be cutting out large sections across the grain. So something that splits easily will not be good.

Any thoughts on the properties of each of these timbers, or a strong preference for some other sort?

Matt

I used Nyatoh but when they stopped importing that I switched to Meranti and I think only an expert would pick the difference (after deliberation)

There is no trouble using the router on meranti (or other timber) if you don't take off too much each pass.

When I did cut the handholds the cut-out from one became the "leg" of another to minimize waste of timber. (One was a reciprocal of the other. Does that make sense?)

I agree the timber would be weak if you cut our large sections across the grain so I put a bolt through each leg (and plugged the hole with a plug cut from the same timber with a plug cutter)
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Old 11-12-2019, 23:02   #4
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Hi all,

Iím getting to the stage of the interior refit where I am choosing timber for the fiddles.

I am going with the sort of fiddles that double as hand holds. Aside from being quite practical, I reckon they look very salty.

I can easily obtain meranti or oak planks in the size I need. But I am not sure which would be a more suitable timber for the job.

I have to remove quite a lot of the timber bulk with a router to make the handhold holes, so I am worried about how the wood will behave under the router.

Then I am also concerned that the remaining timber is not greatly weakened by the fact that I will be cutting out large sections across the grain. So something that splits easily will not be good.

Any thoughts on the properties of each of these timbers, or a strong preference for some other sort?

Matt
Hi Matt, of the two offered oak would be my choice, the weight consideration is insignificant, the oak is by far the stronger. From an aesthetics perspective I am a big fan of blackbutt, strong with good grain and appearance. Perhaps another possibility?
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Old 12-12-2019, 00:36   #5
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

Terrific replies so far. Thank you, it looks like the Tasmanian Oak will be the winner.

Coopec43, I did feel like the Meranti would be easier to shape as you suggest, but from the other replies I think I will err on the side of strength and be patient with the routing.
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Old 12-12-2019, 00:37   #6
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

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From an aesthetics perspective I am a big fan of blackbutt, strong with good grain and appearance. Perhaps another possibility?

Yes, a beautiful timber... Iíll ask around.
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Old 12-12-2019, 00:42   #7
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

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Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
Meranto is fairly soft and can be screwed without pre-drilling, it also takes glue well. However, whilst these properties make it a good timber for cleatage when building cupboards it makes it a poor choice for any purpose where strength and durability are required. It also tends to rot fairly quickly in the marine environment unless protected by a sealer treated with a fungicide.

Ah, right, had not considered the possibility of rot.

I assume when you say oak that you are referring to Tasmanian oak. Yes

Whilst heavier than Meranti it is also much stronger and harder and consequently more durable. Being fairly straight grained and knot free it performs well structurally. Being light coloured it also tends to look good when varnished and tends not to darken with age.

Well, aside from the important point about strength, I had not considered the colour change. Another big bonus for oak then.

Another choice would be nyata which lies somewhere between meranti and Tazmanian oak in properties.
Iíll see if I can find some nyanta for comparison. Not a name I am familiar with.

Thanks for a great post!
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:42   #8
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

Matt, if you are seriously considering Tassie Oak then I suggest you hold off for awhile unless it is essential to do the job right now.

Down here, I can put you in touch to people who can supply any amount of Tassie Oak in any size you want (under 5m), seasoned or semi seasoned or fresh from the mill for a faction of the prices you would be paying retail or even wholesale for that matter.

Or use Celery Top pine, Huon Pine or other exotics.
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:45   #9
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

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Matt, if you are seriously considering Tassie Oak then I suggest you hold off for awhile unless it is essential to do the job right now.

Down here, I can put you in touch to people who can supply any amount of Tassie Oak in any size you want (under 5m), seasoned or semi seasoned or fresh from the mill for a faction of the prices you would be paying retail or even wholesale for that matter.

Or use Celery Top pine, Huon Pine or other exotics.
Ahh, I love those with quality taste.
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Old 12-12-2019, 03:04   #10
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

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Ahh, I love those with quality taste.
Off topic but.....
I have an acquaintance whose house and stacks of timber were threatened with last summers bushfires. The fireys saved the house but a stack of Huon Pine was lost to the flames - we reckoned they had their priories wrong
A house can be replaced!!!
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Old 12-12-2019, 03:34   #11
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

There are two types.
One is a bit meatier than the other

Quote:
Common Name(s): Light Red Meranti, Lauan, Philippine Mahogany

Scientific Name: Shorea spp.

Distribution: Southeast Asia

Tree Size: 65-130 ft (20-40 m) tall, 3-6 ft (1-2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 30 lbs/ft3 (480 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .40, .48

Janka Hardness: 550 lbf (2,460 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 11,210 lbf/in2 (77.3 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,652,000 lbf/in2 (11.39 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 6,120 lbf/in2 (42.2 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 4.1%, Tangential: 7.8%, Volumetric: 12.6%, T/R Ratio: 1.9

https://www.wood-database.com/light-red-meranti/
Quote:
Common Name(s): Dark Red Meranti, Lauan, Philippine Mahogany

Scientific Name: Shorea spp.

Distribution: Southeast Asia

Tree Size: 65-130 ft (20-40 m) tall, 3-6 ft (1-2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 42 lbs/ft3 (675 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .55, .68

Janka Hardness: 800 lbf (3,570 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 12,710 lbf/in2 (87.7 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,743,000 lbf/in2 (12.02 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 7,070 lbf/in2 (48.8 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.9%, Tangential: 7.8%, Volumetric: 12.5%, T/R Ratio: 2.0

https://www.wood-database.com/dark-red-meranti/
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:19   #12
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

I used a combination of Meranti, Tassie Oak and various Gums in my interior rebuild. If you use meranti, buy the deepest red/chocolate coloured stuff you can. It's denser, harder and more durable than the yellow coloured stuff. It looks great varnished. Neither Tassie Oak (of which can be a number of, I believe, Ash species) or Meranti (which can be a number of Shorea something or other species) are particularly durable but I figure it's the interior, it's varnished and chances are the marine ply you buy is made from Meranti also.



Having said that, Tassie Oak is probably the overall better choice. Although (IMO) a bit bland in colour, it has a little bit more prestige associated with it. And on that subject, If I were to do the job again, I'd seriously consider using teak as the amount of time and effort required to rebuild the interior makes the material cost, well, immaterial.



As an aside, if you want durability and hard wearing properties, use one of the structural gums. Tough is not the word. The stuff is hard to work and needs some special considerations when used for joinery, but did I mention it's tough? And it looks great varnished too, can even be left oiled. It's heavy enough to sink in feshwater! I used mainly spotted gum (that's the stuff they make tool handles from) made from timber decking purchased from Bunnings. I also made an engine access panel frame from a piece of River Red gum salvaged from an old building and it is the most beautiful wood ever with a bit of varnish slapped on. It even makes teak look sad.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:47   #13
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

My most favourite go-to wood to work with (in a furniture sense) is Tasmanian myrtle.

https://tasmaniantimber.com.au/species/myrtle/
https://www.wood-database.com/tasmanian-myrtle/
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Old 12-12-2019, 14:30   #14
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

Matt

When routing and the depth of the router is extremely important (eg chamfer, rounding an edge) it is handy to have a bucketful of scrap timber to test the depth. Don't toss them away!
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Old 12-12-2019, 14:58   #15
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Re: Meranti vs Oak

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
I used a combination of Meranti, Tassie Oak and various Gums in my interior rebuild. If you use meranti, buy the deepest red/chocolate coloured stuff you can. It's denser, harder and more durable than the yellow coloured stuff. It looks great varnished. Neither Tassie Oak (of which can be a number of, I believe, Ash species) or Meranti (which can be a number of Shorea something or other species) are particularly durable but I figure it's the interior, it's varnished and chances are the marine ply you buy is made from Meranti also.



Having said that, Tassie Oak is probably the overall better choice. Although (IMO) a bit bland in colour, it has a little bit more prestige associated with it. And on that subject, If I were to do the job again, I'd seriously consider using teak as the amount of time and effort required to rebuild the interior makes the material cost, well, immaterial.



As an aside, if you want durability and hard wearing properties, use one of the structural gums. Tough is not the word. The stuff is hard to work and needs some special considerations when used for joinery, but did I mention it's tough? And it looks great varnished too, can even be left oiled. It's heavy enough to sink in feshwater! I used mainly spotted gum (that's the stuff they make tool handles from) made from timber decking purchased from Bunnings. I also made an engine access panel frame from a piece of River Red gum salvaged from an old building and it is the most beautiful wood ever with a bit of varnish slapped on. It even makes teak look sad.

Have to agree, I made a cockpit table from a couple of pieces of Blue Gum that had been salvaged from the beams of an old road bridge over a rail line, supposedly the bridge was around 100 years old so god knows the age of the timber, looks stunning with a couple of coats of varnish but it is ridiculously heavy for what it is.
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