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Thread: Cengal

  1. #1
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    Can anyone provide information on a Southeast Asian, Malaysian wood named "Cengal"? Supposedly the wood of choice of Malay boatbuilders on the South China Sea coast, it is known for its rot resistance, ability to be readily carved, effective use as ribs, for planking and just about everything else but spars and masts--seems to be pretty heavy. In case the Malay spelling is not the English version, it is pronounced as if, in English, it would be spelled "Chen-ghal".... What say you?

  2. #2
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    If it makes it out of SE Asia as raw lumber it is unfortunately quite likely that it goes by a completely different name on the English speaking market. But maybe there's someone lurking around here who can 'close the gap'.

  3. #3
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    It is actually called "chengal", extremely durable and strong, shrinks only 1% radialy, 2.5% tangential. Considered by those who know as excellent in every way. Very scarce now as it originaly was taken from old growth forests and not replaced.

  4. #4
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    Where are you in Asia. I may be able to suggest a substitute wood. In what area do you need to obtain the wood?
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  5. #5
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    Chengal

    Penak

    Family: Dipterocarpaceae

    Other Common Names: Takien-chan (Thailand), Kong, Karakong (India), Mindanao Narek, Narek (Philippines).

    Distribution: B. heimii is widely distributed in the Malay Peninsula including Thailand south of Pattani. Other species reported in India and the Philippines.

    The Tree: Stem diameters over 3 ft are common; boles mostly well-shaped and clear for 100 ft or more. A very large specimen with a diameter of 13 ft is reported.

    The Wood:

    General Characteristics: Heartwood light yellow brown with a distinct green tinge when fresh, changing on exposure to a dark brown or dark purple brown; sharply demarcated from the pale yellow sapwood. Luster moderate; grain usually only shallowly interlocked; texture fine and even; odor and taste not distinctive.

    Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.76; air-dry density 58 pcf.

    Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)

    Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

    (%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)

    Green (10) 17,680 2,630 10,000

    16% 21,560 2,840 10,900

    Janka side hardness 2,085 lb for green material and 2,130 lb for dry.

    Drying and Shrinkage: The wood is slow drying and prone to surface checking. Shrinkage is reported to be low. Kiln schedule T2-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock. Air-drying prior to kiln-drying is recommended.

    Working Properties: Easy to work with both hand and machine tools but there is some tendency for saws to gum up; planes to a smooth surface and takes a very good polish.

    Durability: Heartwood is very resistant to insect and fungal attack; but is reported as vulnerable to marine borers.

    Preservation: Heartwood is reported as not treatable.

    Uses: Heavy construction, railroad crossties, boatbuilding, utility poles, industrial flooring, vats, casks, and tanks.

  6. #6
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    Chengal is known in Thailand as "maai Takien" and is considered an African Mahogany. It has virtually all the attributes of African mahogany although there are three or four similar woods with all similar characteristics (and slightly different colors) and known by the same name. It is reputed to last 30 years in water. It is an excellent hull and deck material and may even be laminated up for the keel, stem and horn timbers etc. A slightly better choice for the backbone might be "maai ten" from Malaysia.
    Other interesting woods would be "maai caba" a rot resistant tropical cedar for planking or cold molding, and "maai mhion hoom" for spars, it is stronger and slightly lighter than sitka spruce....and "maai praduck" which is rosewood..makes excellent laminated rudders. You may find also that W.E.S.T. and MAS resins are available locally at somewhat less than U.S. prices...as is Xynole fabric, Dynell, e glass and carbon fiber........
    Regards.

    [ 07-10-2002, 02:12 PM: Message edited by: paladinsfo ]
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  7. #7
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    Great information, guys, Thanks! I will attempt to learn about the other woods while I'm in the area. Over and out!

  8. #8
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    Dec 2001
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    I just did a search for this species on the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species database. I used all the common names and botanical names provied by Donn and didn't turn up any hits, meaning that this species is not listed or controlled as an endangered species. Thought you might be interested.

    Good luck,
    Jeff

  9. #9
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    Mar 2001
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    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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    Note... all South east asian timbers should be on the endangered list, There are no real forestry controls in those countries and no sustainability projects. We in Australia are probably the worst offenders when it comes to the destruction of these forests as practically every house here has a rear deck made from Asian hardwood (having totally destroyed our own forests, we are now working north!!!) There is a thriving trade here in recycled timber and, as most of our eukalypts are highly durable and oil rich, they are quite suitable for boat building.There is quite a bit of large section keel material available as all our bridges were made of Ironbark in the east and Karri in the west. The trick is to get to it before the recycler turns it into floorboards. I don't know if North American timber is as durable, but it may be worth looking into.

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