|While teak, rosewood and mahogany take the cake in the price-race, they are not the most sought-after because of the forbidding prices. Builders and buyers are increasingly realising that the new teak happens to be rubber wood, writes Radha Prathi|
|Cries of inflation are renting the air. Though people are horrified at the thought of paying more for less goods, it is a well-known fact that rise in prices can certainly put a spoke in the wheel but cannot curtail its onward motion forever. The realty sector happens to be the most affected in this new economic trend. But then as they say, there is always a silver lining behind a dark cloud, so also there is a palpable solution to some problems of builders. For instance, it is a well-known fact that the most beautiful of homes with the greatest market value, is rated on the kind of woodwork that the homes house. While teak, rose wood and mahogany take the cake in the price – race, unfortunately they are not the most sought-after because of the forbidding prices. But this certainly does not mean that quality woodwork in homes has taken a back seat forever. Builders and buyers are increasingly realising that the new teak happens to be rubber wood. Yes — rubber wood — because case studies of builders who have been putting them into use constantly, are vouching for its cost-effective, environment-friendly nature, and most of all, its ability to lend itself marvellously to a whole range of designs and models.
The dense grain character of rubber wood is said to be easily controlled during the kiln drying process. It has also been noticed that rubber wood resists shrinkage, making life easier for professionals who work on wood and deal with the fickle weathering moods of wood traditionally used in the making of furniture. The fact that the tree is extensively grown for commercial purposes in Brazil, the tropical regions of Asia, Africa and America and India, is ample proof that the use of rubber wood is catching up like never before.
A brief look at the latest buildings around the world constructed for official and domestic purposes will show that rubber wood is the byword in the world of wood.
Plywood made of rubber wood, is widely recommended by both sellers and users because rubber wood can be converted into uniformly thick, smooth and tight veneers, which is suitable for making commercial plywood. As far as India has been concerned, it has been declared as the third largest producer of rubber wood, but it will surprise you to know that we import a good amount of the wood to realise the needs of our country.
The Rubber Board based in Kottayam, Kerala, claims that “The development of the rubber wood processing industry in the country will help to generate employment, strengthen national economy, make rubber cultivation sustainable, and preserve the environment.” It is a well-known fact in the world of builders that there has been a major acceleration in the prices of rubber wood in the last couple of years, a thirty per cent increase from late 2006 that has leaped to another ten per cent in the last fortnight. Despite the hike in price, rubber wood is unanimously given the position of the number one user friendly wood.
When one takes stock of the situation, one realises that there is but one ‘magic potion’ that can solve several problems in one go — cultivating rubber wood. India is still in the stage of infancy cultivation of this commercial tree that started on a serious footing only during the eighties. We have miles to go — and achieve — bilaterally. There is an old Indian saying which when roughly translated, means, “An elephant when alive can fetch you a thousand gold coins and when it dies it still can fetch you the same amount.”
When one observes the rubber wood tree and its ability to be of utility to mankind, it will not be wrong to say that this saying can be extended to rubber wood tree because the tree is useful to mankind in more ways than one.