Other Names and Species:
Malaysia and Indonesia
The sapwood of kempas is yellow to pale white, while the heartwood is orangish-red to reddish-brown in color upon drying. This species has an interlocked, sometimes spiraled grain, is fairly lusterous, and is coarse in texture.
Kempas has a natural resistance to decay. The wood remains smooth under friction and is reported to have no discernable odor. Kempas dries rather easily but can experience some splitting due to abnormalities in the wood. Of note is the fact that kempas is somewhat acidic in nature and can harbor corrosion in metals where exposed when moist.
Janka Hardness: 1710
As a flooring option kempas is a hard and durable wood. It is nearly identical in hardness to African padauk, is roughly eighteen percent harder than hard maple, about one third harder than red oak, and approaches eighty percent of santos mahogany’s ranking of 2200.
Kempas contains pockets of hard deposits that can provide some difficulty when sawing and can promote blunting of tools. Pre-boring is suggested yet the wood holds nails well once applied. Glue holds well with kempas flooring. This species sands well but does require some filling to ensure a good polish.
Kempas’s uses include flooring, chairs, railroad ties, shingles, cabinets, and veneer.