Siam oak?

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by kona, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. kona

    kona Member

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    Hi - new here - my very first post.

    Can anyone help me to identify what oak species Siam Oak is?

    I purchased an musical instrument made from "Saim Oak". I've tried to look it up in some plant dictionaries - no luck so far. All I've been able to find is that the wood is from Thailand (Thailand's former name was Siam). I have a list of Quercus species that grow in Thailand but none of them, so far as I can find, has a common name of Siam Oak.

    Maybe it's a name the music and furniture industry has "coined" to sound exotic.

    Thoughts?


    Kona
     
  2. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Hevea brasiliensis
    Rubberwood (Asian Oak, Siam Oak, Thai Oak)

    HTH
    Chris
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Another case of fraud in the timber industry, selling a little-known or inferior wood mis-named as a better-known or more prestigious wood to improve sales. They rely on the fact that most people can't tell one wood from another to hide their deceit. Numerous other similar examples!
     
  4. kona

    kona Member

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    Thanks saltcedar and Michael F.

    So - it sounds like H. brasiliensis is not an oak. I'm gathering it's a softer wood - inferior to the building qualities of most Quercus species.

    I guess that's why the new drum I bought is $189 and not $700 like the "harder wood" drums. And - if they said these drums are made from "Rubberwood" that might not sound as nice as Siam Oak.
    Thanks guys - you've been a great help here.

    It still looks nice and sounds great though.
     

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  5. kona

    kona Member

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    Yes - it is a shame that "human nature" is like that - anything and everything goes these days for a buck it seems!

    It's what I expected was going on here. I guess it comes down to buyer beware. In this case I knew it was a lesser species of wood, simply because of the price for this brand named new drum. I just was curious about where the wood came from and what it was actually called. As far as this drum goes though, it's a starter drum for my daughter that's interested in Djembe drums (an African drum). It will be suitable. I suppose I'm their "target" buyer. It's okay - the drum's pretty and, like I said, it sounds great.

    I knew I could count on a forum like this to answer my "thread" question.

    Thanks again,

    I'm enjoying this forum very much - my second day on it.

    Cheers,

    Kona
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hope it works well!

    Rubberwood is a fairly good quality wood for many uses; it is relatively cheap because of a good supply from overmature trees in rubber plantations (they have to be replaced every so often to get optimum rubber production). I guess its 'problem' is that most people haven't heard of it, or think the wood itself might be of rubbery texture (it isn't, of course!).
     
  7. kona

    kona Member

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    Thanks - this is good to know.
    Yes, I've been reading a little about it on a few internet sites now that I know what the scientific name is (it's easier to track down now).

    Would you mind telling me where you go when you look up plant information?
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    A huge pile of books!
     
  9. Cereusly Steve

    Cereusly Steve Active Member

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    Its good to see that some people still rely on books as their primary source of info instead of the obviously unreliable internet.

    Hevea brasiliensis is the plant that latex for the production of rubber comes from. As the species epithet points out, the plant is of New World origin not Asian. There is nothing Siamese about it. Its a member of the Euphorbiaceae. Surprised they haven't called it "Lucky Oak".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2009
  10. kona

    kona Member

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    Yes, there are a lot of books written about horticulture that's for sure. This forum was a short cut for me and I appreciate it.

    Thanks again,

    Kona
     
  11. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Just because it's a cheaper wood does not necessarily mean it's inferior in all aspects. Unlike oak, one weakness is that is is not durable. You certainly won't want to construct a garden bench out of rubber wood. Even so, new methods of preservation and treatment has made this wood more durable than before. But in it's natural state, as the speed at which fallen trees rot in the plantations would attest, it does not last long against the elements. But it is still a hardwood, as this comparison against teak would show.

    If you are worried about the physical qualities of the rubberwood used to construct your drum, I would suggest that you can relax. However, there is no question that the grain of oak is far more beautiful compared to rubber wood (but that may be a matter of opinion). You will notice that most of the wood product applications using rubber wood are not intended to show off the beautiful of the wood. I.e., objects are being painted over or carved.

    I have tried working with rubber wood - I must say it's not an easy wood to work with.

    One thing about rubber wood is that it is cheap. Production costs is only 30% of the other significant lumber variety in Malaysia - Meranti. Because it is a by product of 20-30 year old rubber trees that are no longer economically productive means that it is a more sustainable source of lumber, especially since old trees need to be replaced with new plantings.
     
  12. kona

    kona Member

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    Weekend Gardner
    Thanks for the thoughtful reply.
    As far as being worried about my drum goes; I'm not - I just was a little confused by the name. I took one year of horticulture in College (technical certificate) in 1993 and I didn't run across the comon name, that I could remember anyway. So I went to the place where I was pretty sure I'd get good help (here of course).

    As and aside: I have a beautiful full set of Valje Tumbadoras (congas) with matching bongos - all in very nice Red Oak that I bought new in 1978. This Siam Oak drum is a gift to my daughter (Christmas). I'm sure she will love the drum - it is beautiful looking.
     
  13. jainen

    jainen Member

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    >>confused by the name<<

    Common names are not intended to be scientifically precise. They may refer to appearance, usage, or other meaningful factors. Language is always changing, and in my opinion oak has become a legitimate generic term for light-colored hardwood with a prominent grain. Mahogany is another example of a generic term for wood of certain characteristics. I would not call a species inferior just because it is best used in different ways.

    Although the rubber tree is native to the Western Hemisphere, commercial production is almost entirely in Southeast Asia.
     
  14. GreenLarry

    GreenLarry Active Member 10 Years

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    Inferior wood or not, thats a nice looking drum!
     

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