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Monkey Pod Wood Live Edge Furniture In Austin: Before You Buy

Monkey Pod Wood Furniture

Before You Buy

Imagine this: you're on the hunt for furniture. Not just any piece will do; you want something that's timeless, durable, and easy to maintain, so you decide to go with a solid wood piece.

You do a little bit of research. Come to find out, there's a massive amount of different types of wood to choose from. It's a little overwhelming!

No worries, though, we've got you covered. This article is part of our series on the woods and techniques we use here at World Interiors, detailing everything you need to know before you buy. A little education goes a long way when choosing furniture for your home, especially if you are looking for something stylish, but that has the quality to last.   Keep reading...

what is monkey pod wood?

One of the amazing materials we are using at World Interiors is a fast growing tropical tree that can be sourced responsibly, but that has amazing durability and character.  The Monkey Pod Tree (Scientific Name Albizia Saman), also known as Raintree, Suar, and Mimosa, is a hardwood tree native to Southeast Asia.   Due to its large canopy and natural beauty, many countries have elected to plant it on the sides of roads and in parks as an aesthetically pleasing way to provide shade.  It is a fast growing species, and can reach maturity in 20 years or so.  For our tables, we select a tree or two per acre, thereby allowing younger trees to grow in and mature.

Babul Acacia Tree

A Monkey Pod tree in Maui, HI.

the monkey tree in history & Culture

THE HISTORY BEHIND THE NAMES

Right now, you may very well be thinking, "Monkey Pod Tree? What kind of name is that?" It may bring to mind the image of some novel tree from another planet that grows monkeys as fruits. The reality isn't that far off! It's believed that it came from the monkeys that love to gather on these huge trees in order to eats its sweet, sweet seed pods. Others think that it came from a variation of one of its scientific names, Pithecellobium, which means "monkey earring" in Greek.

Additional novel names have also been given to this unique tree. Another popular name for monkey pod is "rain tree." It's been named this, partly due to its leaves, which curl up at night, allowing rain to easily pass to the ground. The Monkey Pod tree also adds plenty of nitrogen to the surrounding soil, making grass around it greener, and, during heavy flowering, the stamens from its flowers sometimes drop, rain-like, to the ground, hence the name "rain tree".

Culture Connection: Monkey Pod Tree in Movies

Disney movie lovers out there: remember the 1960 film Swiss Family Robinson? Amongst the ingenious MacGyver-like "life hacks" the Robinsons employed was the building of their iconic tree house home, but did you know that the tree they built it in was actually a 60-foot tall Monkey Pod tree? After filming, Disney left the set standing, but, as time progressed and typhoons swept through the area, the set was destroyed. The Monkey Pod tree where their home was, however, is still standing.




One of our signature custom live edge tables

  • The pulp inside are also sweet and edible! Children love eating the licorice-flavored fruit inside the seed pods of the monkey pod tree. It's even known as the licorice tree in the Caribbean!
  • The pulp can also be made into a lemonade-like beverage, similar to tamarind.
  • Monkey pod's uses

    Monkey Pod timber has been used by different cultures to produce a variety of products.

  • Across the world, it's used to create monkey pod wood furniture, such as coffee tables, chairs, and, like us, monkey pod dining tables.
  • Many other cultures, like those in its native region of South America, fashion monkey pod wood into souvenir bowls, spoons, and many other kitchen utensils.
  • Groups in Southeast Asia use various species include flooring, parquet, stair rails, veneers, and wardrobes.
  • In Thailand, local furniture makers have been using monkey pod wood to fashion many forms of artistic and functional furniture, including decorative carvings, twisted stools, kids' stools and furniture, and even animal figurines!
  • The stats

    density & hardness of Monkey Pod Wood

    The Janka Hardness rating for Monkey Pod wood is measured to be 900 pounds of force (4,010 Newtons). Its density comes in at 38 pounds per cubic foot.

    characteristics

    Monkey Pod wood's grain texture is typically characterized as a straight grain. The presence of knots and forks in the wood, however, tend to change up the grain wildly, adding tons of uniqueness to each and every slab. No two slabs are alike!

    Monkey pod wood is rated as moderately durable to very durable regarding decay resistance, and it is resistant to most insect attacks.

    As for sustainability, the Monkey Pod tree is not in danger of extinction any time soon. It is currently not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

    Crafting the Perfect Live Edge Table: Why We Use Monkey Pod Wood

    We use monkey pod wood for a few reasons: it's widely available and incredibly durable, yet it's beauty is second to none. This is why it's our wood of choice for our custom live edge slab shop!

    availability

    In addition to the roads, parks, and pastures around the world where Monkey Pod trees have been planted, Monkey Pod grows plentifully in its native regions of Central and South America.

    Durability

    As previously stated, monkey pod is very dense (measuring at 38 pounds per cubic foot) and very hard (rated at 900 pounds of force). This is great for our custom live edge tables which can range from anywhere from 5 feet in length to over 10! We take extra steps to improve the durability of the monkey pod wood, such as using 3-inch thick slabs as tops to our live edge tables. Monkey Pod wood is also very adaptable to a variety of climates and weather-tolerant as well!

    Beauty

    Monkey wood's beauty is what truly sets it apart from many other species. While the grain itself may be nothing special, it's the knots and splits that make all the difference. These creates very cool, interesting patterns that makes the table the center of attention for any room!

    In addition to the one-of-a-kind grain patterns, the contrast between the outer sapwood and inner heartwood come together to make a table that's trendy and oh so satisfying to gaze at every single time.

    Acacia Wood Table - Nottingham Live Edge Collection

    The Hideaway Bar in Austin, Texas

    On top of the crazily pleasing patterns and charming contrast, the live edge of each table varies greatly. Remember those splits we were talking about? Those are the result of how we harvest the slab from the tree. Unlike most tables, which are crafted from planked wood, a monkey table is a slab from its inception, being harvested as a whole piece from the tree, from bark to bark.
    This method causes each slab to vary widely in shape due to each tree's unique shape, formed over its lifetime. Some slabs are mostly straight, with very slight curves in their live edges, some hang wildly to the right or left, and some may have split in one end, resembling a tree with branches.
    The end result of every custom monkey pod table is a trendy piece that is sure to be a conversation piece for every dinner party, birthday, game night, and more!

    Interested in learning more about WI's industry-leading custom live edge program? Click here to learn more!

    Sustainability

    Acacia Wood Plantation

    First and foremost, Monkey pod trees are widely available (as stated above), however we take extra steps to ensure that we harvest all wood in a 100 percent eco-friendly fashion.

    Every monkey pod slab we use is sourced from specialized tree farms. This ensures that each and every slab in harvested completely sustainably.

    Wood Care: Tips For Maintaining Your Monkey Pod Wood Furniture

    It's important to note that this is a living, breathing piece of furniture. For a longer lasting piece, proper maintenance is vital! For a piece that can truly stand for generations, consider these tips:

  • Just like you, plants are made of cells that contain water. Too much and cells will swell, too little and they will shrink, causing cracking.
  • Wipe the furniture daily with a soft cloth (a slightly moistened cloth is advisable to ensure all dust stays on the cloth).
  • No need to worry about water spillage due to our water-based lacquer finish! However, you still avoid letting spilled water sit for over 12 hours, as this will leave a water stain on the finish.
  • Avoid exposing the wood to alcohol, deodorants, perfumes, nail varnishes and similar liquids. If spillage occurs, wipe immediately with a dry cloth. These liquids will pull moisture from wood when left, causing cracking. Alcohol such as red wine would also stain the wood.
  • Place your furniture carefully so that it’s not in contact with direct sunlight (this can cause fading and, in extreme cases, cracking).
  • Do not place furniture next to fireplaces or radiators as this can cause warping.
  • We recommend using placemats and coasters when resting hot drinks or dishes on the furniture.
  • We recommend occasionally rotating your monkey wood pieces to expose all angles to an equal amount of air and light to ensure even darkening over time.
  • Wipe down periodically with a slightly damp or dry dust cloth.
  • Avoid all cleaning tools with a rough surface. This will wear down the finish and increase the likelihood of scratching.
  • Avoid polish or cleaning products containing silicone, which can dry out natural wood over time.
  • Do not use detergents or any cleaning products that contain ammonia. These will take moisture out of the wood and wear down the finish much faster.
  • If scratching occurs, use touch-up marker to conceal the scratch. Be sure to test the marker on an unseen part of the table, such as the underside, to ensure that the marker matches the finish.
  • Check Out our live edge monkey pod slabs!

    All pieces stocked and shipped from our store in Austin, TX.

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