Kwila/Merbau (Intsia Bijuga) is a medium to large tree, widespread throughout the South Pacific. It can be found throughout the Solomon Islands mainly in coastal forests and is a major commercial species.
- Kwila/Merbau is a high quality, strong, durable hardwood. It has also become popular around the world where it is in demand for high quality applications including flooring, decking, stair material, ballustrades, handrails and posts, general construction, engineering, slicing and peeling veneers, boat building, furniture (indoor and outdoor) and exterior joinery.
- The timber is either a yellowish-brown or dark brown in colour, darkening on exposure to light. In exterior situations it weathers slowly to a silvery-grey colour. Contrary to popular belief, Kwila/Merbau is not very durable in the ground, as the extractives, which contribute toward its durability, are prone to leaching. This leaching process leads to the timber 'bleeding' and imparting a dark brown stain which mars the contact surface. A sealant should be applied to the timber if it is to be in "contact" situations e.g window sills, when exposed to the weather.
- The timber seasons very well with little degrade. Preliminary airdrying to 25% moisture content is preferable before kiln drying. Board ends need to be heavily sealed with wax emulsion to avoid end splitting and surface checking during drying. After seasoning, it is a very stable timber with low hygroscopic movement.