Merbau (Malaysia), ipil (Philippines), and kwila (New Guinea) are names applied to species of the genus Intsia, most commonly I. bijuga. Intsia is distributed throughout the Indo-Malaysian region, Indonesia, Philippines, and many western Pacific islands, as well as Australia.
Freshly cut yellowish to orange-brown heartwood turns brown or dark red-brown on exposure to air. The texture is rather coarse, and the grain is straight to interlocked or wavy. The strength of air-dried merbau is comparable with that of hickory (Carya), but density is somewhat lower (800 kg/m3 (50 lb/ft3) at 12% moisture content). The wood dries well with little degrade but stains black in the presence of iron and moisture. Merbau is rather difficult to saw because it sticks to saw teeth and dulls cutting edges. However, the wood dresses smoothly in most operations and finishes well. Merbau has good durability and high resistance to termite attack. The heartwood resists treatment, but the sapwood can be treated with preservatives.
Merbau is used in furniture, fine joinery, turnery, cabinets, flooring, musical instruments, and specialty items.
*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.