rubberwood office chair

janice123August 14, 2007

I am thinking about buying a rubberwood home office chair from a company called JSF Online. Has anyone ever used them? What experience does anyone have with furniture made from rubberwood? It is a lot cheaper than a $379 one from Pottery Barn.

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HandyMac

You will like it if you like maple and are concerned about not abusing forests.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rubberwood facts

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 6:24PM
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jrdwyer

Hevea spp. or rubberwood is a relatively brittle wood cut from non-productive rubberwood trees in SE Asia. I would make sure that any furniture made from it used quality construction techniques and was overbuilt to compensate for the inferior nature of this fast grown timber.

Rubberwood plantations were formerly tropical forests full of abundant tree species and wildlife before they were cleared for this purpose. Sugar Maple, on the other hand, is generally selectively cut in managed N. American forests that remain viable forests and ecosystems after cutting.

Rubberwood lumber has to be shipped across the world wasting scarce natural resources in cargo ships that have unregulated (dirty) diesel engines. Sugar Maple is shipped much shorter distances (to N. American customers) in regulated and cleaner diesel truck engines.

There is a lot of green-washing done by companies worldwide in order to hype their products and get the uninformed consumer to buy.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 2:03PM
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kmealy

tee hee, leave it to the marketeers, when you don't know what else to say, throw out "eco-friendly," yeah, that's the ticket, "green." If you do a search on it, the first few hits all come up with the same exact text.

I personally don't care for the looks of it. Says, "cheap" to me.

Also goes by the names "Parawood" and "Malaysian Oak" or whatever clever names someone wants to come up with.

I don't think there's any chance it has anything in common with oak or maple as we know it.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 10:20PM
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jrdwyer

I got around to reading the JSF Online link for rubberwood and I need to correct their ignorance on the subject trees and wood.

First, rubberwood (aka rubbertree, parawood, etc.) is not "a member of the maple family". The Maple family is Aceraceae and it is mostly a temperate group of trees or woody plants which includes the highly valued sugar maple (Acer saccharum). Rubbertree is a member of the Spurge family (Euphoriaceae) which is mostly tropical in occurrence.

Sugar Maple is a significantly harder or denser wood than rubberwood. Sugar maple has an average specific gravity of .56 (weight overdry, volume green). Rubberwood is at .49 using the same specific gravity standard (source: USDA Forest Products Laboratory). So rubberwood is the same as a soft maple species (red, Acer Rubrum) in wood density and not hard maple.

Rubberwood lumber is cut from very young trees ("26-30 years"). The problem with young trees is the presence of juvenile wood in the core or center of the tree. Juvenile wood has very poor wood strength and stability characteristics compared to older non-juvenile wood. This may not be important for a kid's toy car, but is very important with load bearing chair legs, as an example. Most sugar maple trees are 60-80 years old when cut.The heart of the tree goes into low grade products like ties, pallet cants, or low grade flooring, while the clearer non-juvenile wood becomes grade lumber for things like chair legs.

There is very little waste in any wood manufacturing industry today. Slabs from a sugar maple log are chipped for making paper. The bark and sawdust are used as a hog fuel or for animal bedding or for mulch around homes. Some plants even produce their own electricity from wood waste. The JSF online statement of "so unlike other woods that are cut down for the sole purpose of producing furniture," is really ignorant considering the variety of end products made from N. American woods and the complete utilization of the tree.

Manufacturer or retailer websites often use false information to help sell their products. LET THE BUYER BEWARE!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 1:58PM
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