Rubberwood and solid wood are two common options for someone looking for a perfect material for general woodworking or furniture making. If you are confused between solid and rubberwood for your next project and are looking to know more about each type based on physical properties, appearance, uses, etc., then this article is all you need.
One of the core differences between rubberwood vs solid wood is in terms of strength and durability. Rubberwood is rather soft and cannot be used outside. Many solid woods, especially hardwoods, can be used for both interior and exterior applications.
What is Rubberwood?
It is also known as parawood, is a popular type of commercial hardwood derived from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Rubber trees, as you may know, are mainly used for latex production, i.e. to extract latex that is used for making rubber. The mature trees that no longer produce latex are harvested for timber.
It is light yellow-brownish colored and has a straight grain and a smooth texture, making it suitable for a wide range of applications, including furniture making and general woodworking. While not as dense, strong, or durable as some hardwoods, rubberwood is valued for its eco-friendliness, as the wood is mainly a byproduct of the latex industry.
As a famous economically and environmentally sustainable hardwood option for furniture manufacturing, Rubberwood has gained immense popularity in recent times.
What is Solid Wood?
It refers to timber or lumber produced from a tree, rather than manufactured in a mill. It usually has no layers or composite materials. By that definition, even rubberwood is a type of solid timber. However, it is somehow different from other types of solid timber.
Since solid timber is procured from a tree, it has all the natural characteristics of the tree, including its natural color, grain, knots, and physical strength. It is known to be strong, dense, and durable and can last decades or even centuries with good care, which is why wood is a popular choice for construction.
Solid wood is used in everything from furniture making to constructing buildings, floors, roofs, toys, and more, offering a timeless and genuine aesthetic. The natural strength and durability of wood (resistance to moisture, warping, or bending) make it a preferred choice for high-quality products and applications.
The two most common categories of solid timber are hardwoods and softwoods.
Rubberwood Vs Solid Wood
Rubberwood is a type of solid wood (hardwood) sourced from the rubber tree and valued for eco-friendliness. Solid wood, a broader category, includes various hardwoods and softwoods. While rubberwood is a specific type of solid timber, the term “solid wood” encompasses a range of wood species, each with distinct characteristics, whereas rubberwood is a hardwood with the scientific name Hevea brasiliensis. Let’s discuss the difference between the two.
Rubberwood and other hardwoods and softwoods are all classified as solid wood but differ in appearance. It usually has a light yellow-brown color with minimal grain patterns, with a straight grain providing a clean and uniform look.
Different solid woods exhibit a wide range of colors, grains, and textures, showcasing different appearances with natural variations like knots and figures.
The choice depends on your preference; rubberwood offers a more consistent and clear appearance, while other wood species may be identified for their diverse and unique design features. Both options can be seamlessly used in a variety of applications, such as furniture and decor.
Strength & Hardness
Rubberwood, a type of hardwood, is generally softer and less dense than some hardwood species. While it still offers adequate strength for furniture and basic construction projects, it may be more susceptible to dents and scratches than other solid woods.
Many other solid woods, especially hardwoods, are generally denser and harder and provide higher strength and resistance to wear.
The Janka hardness scale is used to measure wood hardness, and Rubberwood’s Janka score makes it above average in terms of hardness. It is harder than soft maple but softer than hard maple.
While rubberwood is suitable for many applications, those seeking maximum strength and hardness may prefer alternative hardwoods like oak or maple for heavy construction applications and high-traffic areas.
Rubberwood, a type of hardwood, is fairly strong and durable but generally less durable than some other hardwoods. It is moderately resistant to wear and tear and not very resistant to moisture. While it holds up well in furniture and other interior use, it may be more susceptible to weathering and should not be used in exterior applications.
Other solid hardwoods, such as oak and teak, known for their durability, offer superior resistance to impact and wear and moisture. However, not all hardwoods are inherently durable.
The choice between he two depends on the specific application and desired durability. Both options can provide durability, but some hardwoods like oak or maple are particularly suitable for high-traffic areas and outdoor use.
Rubberwood is generally easy to work with due to its straight grain and lighter density. It responds well to machining and is easy to cut and shape, making it a popular choice for woodworkers for various projects. However, due to low density, rubberwood may sometimes dull cutting tools more quickly than denser wood types.
Other solid woods offer easy to moderate workability, depending on their density and grain pattern.
Woodworkers often prefer rubberwood for its agreeable workability, but the choice between rubberwood and other wood types depends on specific preferences, project requirements, and the tools available, with both suitable for crafting fine furniture and designs.
Price & Availability
Rubberwood is an eco-friendly hardwood that is produced as a by-product of rubber-latex trees. It is often more affordable than many other solid woods, especially popular woods such as mahogany, teak, oak, etc. due to its rapid growth and plantation cultivation. Its widespread availability makes rubberwood a popular choice for furniture making.
Other solid wood species, depending on type and rarity, can be moderate to very expensive. Availability is influenced by factors like location, sustainability, and import costs. Rubberwood, being a sustainable wood choice, is frequently used by woodworkers around the world in a range of applications.
The choice between rubberwood and other hardwoods depends on your budget and specific preferences for wood aesthetics, characteristics, and sustainability.
Rubberwood is a strong and beautiful hardwood that is commonly used for manufacturing affordable but high-quality furniture, particularly items like beds, chairs, tables, and cabinets. Its light color, flexibility, and soft texture make it suitable for various styles. Other than furniture, rubberwood is used for making a variety of wooden items, from carvings and art to kitchen appliances such as trays.
Different solid woods are used in different applications, including furniture, flooring, construction, boatbuilding, toys, sports equipment, paper, boxes, musical instruments, and crafting. While hardwoods like oak, teak, and mahogany are preferred for heavy construction and high-traffic areas due to their durability, many softwoods are considered suitable for indoor projects.
Rubberwood Vs Solid Wood : Conclusion and Where to Buy?
In conclusion, rubberwood is a popular hardwood, known for its eco-friendliness and considered suitable for furniture and other applications. It offers affordability and workability over other types of solid woods, which can be pricier and difficult to work with but provide greater strength and resilience.
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