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Scientific name

Dryobalanops spp. principally D. aromatica. Family: Dipterocarpaceae

Local names

Kapor, Borneo camphorwood, keladan (Sarawak), kapoer (Indonesia), belakan, kamfer.

Description and natural occurrence

Large hardwood to 45 m with a straight, cylindrical bole, and well-formed buttresses. Occurs in lowland tropical rainforests of Malaysia, Indonesia and South-East Asia, often in almost pure stands. Bark is grey brown or dark brown with shallow fissures. Diameter of logs is between 80 and 100 cm. Freshly cut trees have a camphor-like odour.

Wood appearance

Colour: Sapwood ranges from almost white to yellow-brown and is clearly distinct from the heartwood. Heartwood is red or red-brown.

Grain: Grain variable from straight to interlocked or spiral. Texture coarse but even. Growth rings absent.

Wood properties

Density: 800 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 1.3 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.

Strength groups: S3 unseasoned; SD4 seasoned.

Stress grades: F8, F11, F14, F17, (unseasoned), F11, F14, F17, F22, (seasoned), when visually stress graded in accordance with AS 2082-1979, Visually stress-graded hardwood for structural purposes.

Joint groups: J2 unseasoned; JD2 seasoned.

Shrinkage to 12% MC: Approximately 8% (tangential); 3.5% (radial).

Unit shrinkage: Not available.

Durability above-ground: Class 2 - life expectancy 15 to 40 years.

Durability in-ground: Class 3 - life expectancy 5 to 15 years.

Lyctine susceptibility: Sapwood is not susceptible to lyctid borer attack.

Termite resistance: Not resistant.

Preservation: Sapwood accepts preservative impregnation.

Seasoning: Slow to dry, usually with very little degrade.

Hardness: Moderately hard (rated 3 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining: Machines well with a moderate blunting effect on cutting edges caused by the presence of silica.

Fixing: Pre-drilling recommended when nailing near extremities, otherwise nailing and screwing characteristics are good.

Gluing: Care needed when using urea-formaldehyde and phenol-formaldehyde adhesives.

Finishing: Stains, paints and polishes satisfactorily.


Construction: Stairways, flooring, general construction.

Decorative: Plywood, furniture, joinery, lining.

Others: Sawn shingles, packing cases, boat building, pallets, tool handles.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood: Well defined from heartwood.

Heartwood: Red to red-brown in colour.

Texture: Coarse, uniform. Grain variable from straight to interlocked or spiral.

Wood structure

Vessels: Predominantly solitary, medium to large in size, visible to the unaided eye. Tyloses common. Vessel lines present.

Parenchyma: Apotracheal as irregular spaced concentric bands and some diffuse strands.

Rays: Fine to medium size, visible through lens.

Further reading

Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Chippendale GM, Hall N, Hyland BPM, Johnston RD, Kleinig DA and Turner JD 2006, 'Forest trees of Australia', 5th edition, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Australia.

Bootle K 2005, 'Wood in Australia: types, properties and uses', 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill, Sydney.

Queensland Government 2010, 'Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland, Class 1 and Class 10 buildings', books 1 and 2, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.

Ilic J 1991, 'CSIRO atlas of hardwoods', Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.

Standards Australia 2000, 'AS 2082-2000: Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes', Standards Australia.