When it comes to choosing furniture, why not check out palm wood, suggests Sushma Veera
TIME to get new furniture? Consider furniture made of palm wood. According to William Wong, director of Palm Wood Technology, the wood comes from palms that are felled after they can no longer produce fruit. Thus using such wood helps save the environment indirectly. By using palm wood, he says, we will be doing our part to preserve Nature as we won’t need to cut down trees in the jungle.
“Oil palms can grow to over 12m tall, making it very difficult for the plantation workers to collect the fruit. After 25 years, fruit production is also reduced, so they are replaced with new trees.”
In the past, says Wong, the felled palms were either buried or laid aside to rot and serve as fertiliser. “If you’re looking for furniture that is beautiful and rich-looking, palm wood is the answer. Furniture made of palm wood looks great whether in the living room, kitchen or bedroom. Its unique grain texture makes it look stylish and elegant,” he adds.
His company supplies palm wood timber to the furniture manufacturers.
Wong says the wood is cut to size and dried in the kiln before it can be used. Not many Malaysians are aware of palm wood furniture. What is so special about it is its beautiful natural grain. Palm wood furniture is also not easily damaged.
Palm wood is used to make dining tables, book racks, coffee tables, TV cabinets, display cabinets, and bedroom sets.
“House owners can do pretty much anything with palm wood which comes in a range of shades, from light brown to dark brown,” says Wong.
“It can be used on its own or mixed and matched with other types of wood to create unique and stylish designs.”
Besides style, people also look for furniture that will last.
Palm wood is also free of formaldehyde which can cause cancer, lasts up to 20 years and is resistant to termites, says Wong.
“This based on the research done by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia. Maybe termites prefer the taste of rubber wood to palm,” quips Wong, adding that for high-end furniture, only the outer hardwood is used as wood from the inner core is softer.
“We want to make full use of the tree. The inner core is used to create light boards for light-weight construction furniture.
“Today, people prefer furniture design that looks chunky but is light for easy handling and transportation.
Designers also have greater freedom as they need not worry about the structure. Heavy furniture requires more solid structural support.”
As for maintenance, Wong says palm wood does not require special treatment.
“Just dust regularly using soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner. Don’t use wet cloth as water will damage the wood.”
Because of this, palm wood furniture is not suitable for the outdoors.