Merbau wood - the Asian afzelia

Merbau is very closely related to the Afzelia species found in Africa, and the characteristics are quite similar. What other special features Merbau has and what it is used for, is discussed in detail in this post.

Technical values

Reading Descriptionvalue
densityapprox. 0.85 g / cm³, dried approx. 770 kg / m³
Compressive strengthapprox. 60 - 85 N / mm²
flexural strengthapprox. 116 - 155 N / mm²

Relationship and other names

The wood, which occurs mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia, has a close relationship to the African species of Afzelia, and is also of the same botanical species.

Like many tropical woods, Merbau has consistently different names in the regional areas, under which it is occasionally offered in trade:

  • Intsia
  • Ipil
  • Kwila, occasionally too
  • Hintzy
  • Mirabow or
  • Makamong

The DIN abbreviation is MEB.



The appearance is also very similar to the structure of Afzelia. The structure is coarse, with scattered pores that are often filled with either yellowish or black deposits. The pores are often surrounded by eye-shaped fields. The wood rays are very fine at Merbau, and barely perceptible. The structure looks overall decorative.


In terms of color, there may be differences in the individual woods throughout. The sapwood is always yellowish-white. The heartwood is initially brown to light reddish-brown and later darkens to a dark reddish brown. However, woods that come from Malaysia can also have a much lighter color after the darkening phase.


The properties of merbau are essentially the same as those of the other Afzelia species. It is hard, heavy and has high strength properties that are superior to those of native woods such as oak. The editing is in most cases quite well, despite the high hardness. Special tools are required.

Shrinkage and drying

Drying should always be done as carefully as possible, but it will then run smoothly. Merbau dwindles significantly less than other Afzelia species, overall very little.


Merbau is weather-resistant and highly resistant to fungal and insect infestation (resistance class 1-2). In the rain, however, the wood separates yellowish-green to brownish substances.


Merbau, despite its decorative appearance, is mainly used as construction timber and in shipbuilding and bridge construction. However, use as parquet and for floor construction has become increasingly popular in recent years.


Merbau comes mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, but also occasionally from Madagascar and Papua New Guinea.


Traders receive merbau at prices between around 1,900 and 2,300 EUR per m³.

Here you will find an overview of the most important types of wood worldwide. An overview of the most important types of tropical wood, such as Merbau, can be found here.

Tips & Tricks

Also in Merbau the wood dust is very irritating, and the wood discolors when in contact with ferrous metals in the wet state.

Video Board: Pyinkado Round Logs Cambodia