Keruing Blog Image

[Wood Profile] What You Need to Know: Keruing

Keruing is one of the most common timbers we export. It’s a kind of hardwood tree that many people commonly use for construction. Keruing is a kind of Dipterocarpus (Dipterocarpaceae) tree, and Keruing is just its vernacular name.

Keruing is usually easy to work around with hand or machine tools. However, you can find silica present in the wood that tends to dull cutters. At the same time, the resin can radiate from the wood and build up on tools and also make wood finishing hard on some occasions. Its movement in service is fairly large.

Keruing timber is a kind of low maintenance wood. It is hard-wearing and perfect for outdoor furniture use. The wood is sturdy and is classified as durable. That makes it especially useful for construction purposes.

Here are some common things you should know about the Keruing wood type.

Common Growth Area

You can easily find Keruing trees growing in South East Asia. People can find Keruing in Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, The Philippines, Myanmar and Laos. However, you can also easily find them in some parts of India and Sri Lanka.

Keruing Wood Personality and Species

Keruing Blog Image
Images via Independent Malaysia, Meranti Trader, Urban Forest, and Wood Database.

Of all its species, a wide variety of heartwood hues are available. This includes deep-pink, orange-pink and purple-red. The most common heartwood shade is red-brown. Sapwood’s shade is usually lighter, sometimes with yellow or grey shades. The wood darkens with age and comes with a generally straight, or shallowly interlocked grain. Sometimes it may come with a stripe figure on its radial surface. The texture varies between species from fine to coarse, however, it is always consistent.

Its sapwood is lighter in colour than its heartwood. Keruing’s sapwood is invariable with a tinge of grey. The heartwood is red-brown to purple-red and darkens with exposure. The surface of the timber may be rather viscous and sticky when handled. However, it is always consistent.

Here are some common sub-species of its tree:

  • D. elongatus
  • D. baudii
  • D. chartaceus
  • D. confertus
  • D. concavus
  • D. cornutus
  • D. costatus
  • D. crinitus
  • D. dyeri
  • D. gracilis
  • D. grandiflorus
  • D. kerrii
  • D. kunstleri
  • D. lowii
  • D. obtusifolius
  • D. rotundifolius
  • D. sublamellatus
  • D. verrucosus

 However, the most commonly used Keruing species (for producing oleo-resin) are:

  • D. cornutus
  • D. crinitus
  • D. grandiflorus
  • D. hasseltii
  • D. kerrii

Nevertheless, in South East Asia people often use the D. alatus species to produce oleo-resins.

Common Uses of Keruing

Some of the most common uses of this kind of timber include:

  • Internal flooring
  • Protected framing and boards
  • Internal joinery and mouldings
  • Lining
  • Panelling and framework

Preservative-treated Keruing material is usually for poles, piles, sleepers and cross-arms.  People often use this kind of timber as a cheaper alternative choice to oak for heavy construction, decking, vehicle building and sleepers. You can also find that Keruing is used in plywood. This timber type is as versatile as it is.

Density and Natural Durability

Keruing is a Medium Hardwood with a density of 690-945 kg/m3. This is when you air dry it and is a common action in Peninsular Malaysia. However, it comes with a density of 595-865 kg/mair dry for the species you find in Sabah. The timber (depending on its species) is moderately durable to non-durable underexposed conditions in tropical countries. Furthermore, it is very easily treated with preservatives.

Air Drying Keruing

The Keruing timber generally seasons well with some end-splitting and surface-checking as its main defects. The seasoning properties of some Dipterocarpus species, including this wood species, tested are summarised below:

Air Drying Keruing
Image screenshot via MTC Wood Wizard


The Keruing wood species is generally good for making furniture. Occasionally, you may find people using it for construction works due to its naturally durable wood type.

If you ever need this kind of timber, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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