Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bintulu's Hardest Wood

It is called the 'Belian' ( Eusideroxylon zwageri ) .The locals here have no doubts to its longevity and resistance to insects attack or rot. Pressed further they will say that their lives revolve around it. Belian timber are made into roofing tiles or shingles, floors, jetties, house posts, fences, steps and stairs, walkways, pestles and mortars, weapons, canoe hulls, telephone and electricity posts, stakes for pepper vines or piles for civil construction. It is so useful to the peoples of Sarawak that it is prohibitted to be exported. At this sawmill ,you can buy or order to size the timber from as thick as 30 cm to as thin as 4mm, normally the size used for roofing shingles. The belian timber is heavy and therefore will sink when placed in water or river. But when submerged for say half a century or more like the ones used as posts for village houses along Bintulu river, they are not subjected to rot. Strange but true.

1 comment:

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