Monkey Pod Wood Furniture: Pros and Cons to Know Before You Buy — World Interiors, an Austin Furniture Company Skip to content
Section

Monkey Pod Wood Furniture

Before You Buy

You're on the hunt for furniture, something that's timeless, durable, and made of solid wood.You do a little bit of research. Come to find out, there are many of different types of wood to choose from.

No worries, though. We've got you covered. This article is part of our series on the woods we use, detailing everything you need to know before you buy solid Monkey Pod wood furniture.

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 plant it on the sides of roads and in parks to provide shade.  It is a fast growing species that can reach maturity in 20 years or so.  

Babul Acacia Tree

A Monkey Pod tree in Maui, HI.

the monkey tree in history & Culture

The history behind the name

Right now, you may very well be thinking, "Monkey Pod Tree? What kind of name is that?"

It's believed that it came from the monkeys that love to gather on these huge trees in order to eats its seed pods. Others think that it came from a variation of one of its scientific names, Pithecellobium, which means "monkey earring" in Greek.

 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 below.

Culture Connection: Monkey Pod Tree in Movies

Disney movie lovers out there: remember the 1960 film Swiss Family Robinson? Their iconic tree house home was built in 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 used as their home, still standing.

One of our one of a kind
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 furniture, such as coffee tables, chairs, and dining tables.
  • Many other cultures, like those in its native region of South America, fashion monkey pod wood into souvenir bowls, spoons, and 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, 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 against decay, 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 our custom live edge slab shop for a few reasons: it's widely available and incredibly durable, yet it's beauty is second to none.

    availability

    In addition to the roadsides and parks in Southeast Asia, Monkey Pod trees also grow plentifully in both Central and South America.

    Durability

    Monkey pod is a very dense wood. This is great for our custom live edge tables which can range from anywhere from 5ft in length to over 10ft!

    We take extra steps to improve the durability of the monkey pod wood, such as using 3-inch thick slabs as tops to construct 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!

    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.

    Acacia Wood Table - Nottingham Live Edge Collection

    The Hideaway Bar in Austin, Texas

    This method causes each slab to vary widely in shape due to each tree's unique shape, formed over its lifetime. Some slabs have very slight curves in their live edges, some hang wildly to the right or left, and some slabs 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 or game night.

    Sustainability

    Monkey Pod trees are widely available across Central and South America. But, we make sure to take extra steps to harvest the used in our furniture wood as eco-friendly as possible.

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

  • Wipe down periodically with a slightly damp or dry dust cloth.
  • No need to worry about water spillage due to our water-based lacquer finish. However, avoid letting spilled water sit, 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 could also stain the wood.
  • Place your furniture 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.
  • 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.
  • Avoid all cleaning tools with a rough surface. This will wear down the finish and can cause scratching.
  • If scratching occurs, use touch-up marker to conceal the scratch. Be sure to test the marker on an unseen part of the table to ensure that the marker matches the finish.
  • JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER!

    Be the first to know of all the latest trends, deals, and arrivals.