Old coconut palm farms used for farming provide coconut wood. In order to collect the coconut fruit, the coconut palm was planted as a crop in sizable plantations throughout the tropics in the first part of the 20th century. The tree produces fruit for around 70 years before it is deemed to have reached the end of its economic life and is cut down to make room for new plantings. Millions of palm trees are cut down every year all over the tropics. The trunks have typically been discarded leftovers from this operation.
People have just recently started to investigate the possible business applications for this enormous alternative supply of lumber. As a result, coconut timber was commercially introduced in a variety of goods, including flooring, posts, and furniture. Coconut lumber is a feasible alternative to endangered hardwoods from a sustainable source, with products that perform on par with or better than traditional hardwoods.
Although coconut timber looks similar to mahogany in appearance, it lacks the iridescence and has a much more fibrous grain. With dark brown flecks, the color ranges from golden to almost ebony. Dark brown tones (high density), medium brown tones (medium density), and light golden tones are the three fundamental color categories that correspond to the density of the timber (low density).
Coconut trees don’t have heartwood, rays, yearly growth rings, or branches, hence the wood is free of knots and other flaws.
Uses in Construction
Coconut wood is mostly used for building construction. Trusses, purlins, walls, joists, doors, window frames, and jalousies can all be made of coconut wood. High density coconut wood (from the stem’s perimeter) can be used for load-bearing constructions like trusses and joints, whereas low density coconut wood (from the stem’s center) should only be used in non-load structures like walls and panels.
The size of sawn lumber is constrained by the small diameter of coconut stems; hence, the ideal width and thickness of boards that are typically recovered are 25mm and 50mm, respectively. This specific issue is resolved for structures that need for larger sizes of lumber through the glued lamination of the wood to the necessary dimensions.
Additionally, posts, power and telecommunication poles, trusses, parquet flooring, girts, floor joists, purlins, balustrades and railings, and other load-bearing constructions might all be made of high density coconut wood. Coconut logs must be appropriately handled if they are to be utilized in ground contact under open circumstances (such as as posts or poles for electrical cables).
The use of medium density boards for walling, horizontal studs, ceiling joists, and door/window frames is beneficial. Generally speaking, coconut wood with a density of less than 400 kg/m3 shouldn’t be used for structural framing. However, they can be utilized as ceiling and wall lining in the interior of a structure in the form of boards and shingles. The difficulty of nailing and subsequent splitting of high density wood finishes is an issue with coco lumber’s structural application.
Use in Furniture and high-value products
Due to its lovely grain and appealing natural appearance, coconut wood has the potential to be a useful resource for the production of furniture, novelty items, and other handicrafts. High-quality coconut wood products, such as furniture, decorative interior walls, parquet floors, and various novelties and curio items like walking sticks, ash trays, hammer handles, egg cups, plates, bowls, vases, etc., are on par with, if not better than, traditional wood species commonly used in the furniture industry in terms of appearance. Quality furniture and other high-value coconut wood items can therefore have a potential share not only in the domestic but also in the global markets with efficient product promotion.
Coconut wood has the potential to be used in the production of high-end, export-quality finished goods. However, untreated freshly cut lumber can be quickly infected by mold and staining fungi, especially if it is improperly stacked and exposed to a humid environment while drying by air. This is true of many other traditional wood species as well. Decomposition fungi and pinhole borers may potentially contribute to further deterioration during air drying. Therefore, preventive treatment is required if it is utilized to produce high-value export goods.
Kiln drying should be done to bring the moisture content of the coconut wood to the level most suitable for equilibrium with its placement in service because checks and cracks appear on the surface of inadequately dried coconut wood or in reaction to variations in relative humidity.
Coconut trunks and other sawmill byproducts can be used right away to make charcoal and generate energy. Although the diversity of densities within the stem causes variance in the energy potential, coconut wood shares many of the same features as other woods as a fuel.
According to studies employing the 2-cord double walled masonry block kiln, good quality charcoal for residential usage may be produced with an average output of 25% based on oven-dry weight. The heating value of charcoal and charcoal briquettes is greater. Compared to wood, they emit less smoke and are simple to manage.
Briquettes must be made using coconut trunk charcoal to improve its strength, density, and transportation characteristics before it can be used as fuel. There is already a method for briquetting coconut trunk charcoal. At a rate of 500 lb per hour, a briquetting facility in the Philippines creates 1.5 oz ovoid-shaped briquettes. The briquettes’ crushing and burning qualities are both good. Coconut trunk charcoal briquettes can be effectively bound together using sorghum grain.
Charcoal from coconut trunks can also be used to create activated carbon. For the production of numerous chemicals, including carbon disulfide, calcium carbide, silicon carbide, carbon monoxide, paint pigments, pharmaceuticals, molding resins, black powder, electrodes, catalyst reactors, brake linings, and gas cylinder absorbent, the product can be a dependable source of carbon. Coconut trash can also be used to make ethanol.
The majority of the demand for coconut lumber comes from the building sector. Huge quantities of coconut lumber are utilized as formwork and scaffolding in the construction of large buildings. Additionally, door jambs, siding, girders, trusses, and house supports are all made from graded and carefully chosen coconut lumber. It has also been demonstrated to be a reliable pallet material. The Philippines’ low-cost housing program, other government structures, and several resorts all around the nation all made use of a sizeable amount of coconut lumber. Each year, between 1.0 and 2.0 million cubic meters of coconut lumber are used for this.
Field observations might show a rise in demand for coconut lumber. The rise in the quantity of coconut lumber manufacturers and distributors is one sign. The pattern of growing coconut tree prices is another sign of expanding demand. In the Philippines ten years ago, coconut trees were freely available. One trunk might cost up to P800 (US$29.00) in 1995, depending on the trunks’ quality, accessibility to a highway, and distance from a buying or processing center. The typical purchase price in the Philippines could be estimated at P500 per trunk (about $15.00 USD), with the buyer managing the logging, handling, and shipment. Coconut logs with a diameter of 8 feet 8 inches can be purchased in Fiji for US$6.00 per.
Coconut wood has a noticeably reduced cost when compared to the common local lumber species. According to data from the Philippines, the cost of a board foot (bd. ft.) of commercially available hard wood apitong (Dipterocarpus grandiflorus) is P 38.00 (US$1.38) as opposed to P 800 (US$0.29). Feet for lumber from coconuts. At P 26.00 (US$0.95) per bd, tanguile (Shorea polysperma), a common commercial wood with a basic density that is lower than apitong, is nonetheless significantly more expensive than cocowood. ft.
Actual and projected housing needs, the construction of tall buildings, electrical and telecommunication poles, buildings for poultry and other livestock, the demand for grocery pallets, home and office furniture, novelty items, and curiosities for both domestic and export markets within and outside the Asia-Pacific region may all contribute to the current and future demand for coconut wood.
With a population of about 1.5 billion in the Asia and Pacific countries that grow coconuts and the assumption that 1% of the population would need housing facilities made of coconut wood, there would be a demand for about 15 million housing units, or 226 million cubic meters of coconut wood, if one housing unit required at least 15 cubic meters of coconut wood. Approximately 75 million dwelling units would be needed if it were assumed that 5% of the current population would immediately want homes constructed from coconuts. A demand of approximately 1.132 billion cubic meters of coconut wood would result from this requirement.
It should be highlighted that even at a 1% level, the demand for coconut wood for building in the Asia-Pacific region’s coconut-growing nations will outstrip the supply. Thus, cocowood can be in high demand just for housing needs. The need for coconut wood for basic dwelling units would have to compete with the demand for the wood for other uses, such as the construction of high rise structures, furniture, novelty items, etc.
Scaffoldings and form lumber are two items that the construction industry needs and wants to use coconut lumber for. The demand for coconut lumber is rising as a result of the construction industry’s rapid development in Asia and the Pacific, which is a key sector in boosting economic growth. It is believed that the expansion of tourism in the area and the development of the Pacific Rim’s economy have contributed to the rising trend in demand for novelty, odd, and related goods made of cocowood. Due to its natural sensual beauty, appealing clear-grained appearance, and long-lasting integrity, coconut wood furniture and other tiny, inexpensive novelty items have been reported to be gaining popularity in Europe and North American nations.
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