Dealers sell cheaper acacia wood as teak

Trick of the trade

Though heavier than teak, acacia wood is equally good provided it is seasoned, said a scientist at the Institute of Wood Science and technology (IWST). He said acacia is sold at Rs 400 per cubic feet, whereas teak costs between Rs 1,600 to Rs 2,000. But not many can make out the difference and only through testing, the wood species can be identified.

Equally good
However, since acacia wood is equally good for furniture, IWST is trying to popularise growing Acacia outside forests, by initiating measures in the field of agroforestry. The best teak wood in India comes from Hunsur in Karnataka and Baitul in Madhya Pradesh, the scientist said.

Dr S C Joshi, director of IWST, said wood was not easily available in India these days as tree felling has been banned in forests. “There is great demand for teakwood and many are importing from Burma, Malaysia and South Africa.

The imported wood is low in quality compared to Indian teak. Due to ignorance, people are easily cheated by dealers who sell imported teak for a higher price,” he said.  Lack of proper legislation on import and export of wood is one of the reasons why we are not able to curb import of low quality wood furniture, added the scientist.

IWST initiative
For the first time in the country, IWST is all set to develop sandalwood seedlings using tissue-culture. The method, which has been successful in experimental production, will be extended to commercial production in the next eight to 10 months.

Dr V K Bahuguna, Director General, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education told reporters that sandalwood produced through tissue-culture would lead to mass production of superior plants.

The institute is also planning to come up with ‘waste wood-plastic’ composites in which wood waste, mainly saw dust, will be used along with plastic to manufacture different items. Using wood and plastic in 50:50 proportion can result in eco-friendly products, Bahuguna added.

Nanotechnology in wood science will be adopted to develop thermoplastic composites and the outcome will have immense potential in creating smart materials with specific properties like water repellency, flame retardance, decreased gas diffusion and wear resistance. This technology will give a boost to composite-making industries reducing consumption of plastics.  Chemical modification of wood for better preservation has also been taken up by IWST.

Future plans include: Synthetic bio-diesel for wood wastes, thermowood and laminated veneer lumber (LVL); targeting interface between forest and agricultural ecosystems and technologies for increasing production and better utilisation of bamboo. The institute is also planning to have a museum and interpretation centre and training centre for wood processing.

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