Posted on October 14, 2008 by Joyce Benson greenstrides.com
Rubberwood may sound flimsy, but the wood from the Pará Rubber tree is actually a strong, tightly grained wood that is ideal for furniture, flooring, and even toys. It is commonly cultivated in South America and Asia for its natural latex sap (which by the way makes cozy, comfortable mattresses, but when the trees have reached the ripe old age of 30 years, sap production has greatly diminished. So, instead of these valuable trees going to waste, they are then cut down for timber, and new rubber trees are planted to replenish the stock. Unlike mahogany or teak, rubberwood (aka Parawood), is considered a sustainable source of wood.
Rubberwood grows to a mature height of 75 feet with a 2-foot diameter. It withstands the kiln-drying process with very little shrinkage and takes finishes well, which makes it perfect where a stable wood is required.
So, the next time you’re out shopping and come across something made of rubberwood, don’t underestimate its good qualities and eco-friendliness. You’ll likely find wooden toys made of rubberwood and painted with non-toxic paints at smaller toy shoppes. All kinds of rubberwood furniture can be found online and in some stores, as it is gaining in popularity. Rubberwood flooring can be purchased online or at some green building supply stores.