Reclaiming and Recycling Exotic Asian Woods

AsiaRain, a company based in McCloud, Calif., is taking wood from old Thailand railroad ties and milling it into extraordinary, charming flooring.

April 01, 2002

 

Old Thai railroad ties made of exotic wood are milled into flooring.

AsiaRain, a company based in McCloud, Calif., is taking wood from old Thailand railroad ties and milling it into extraordinary, charming flooring. The wood, more than 110 years old, is extremely valuable and unique, originating from virgin Asian rain forests.

“Probably the most exotic wood we have is a reclaimed Burmese teak,” says Richard McFarland, operations manager for AsiaRain. “It’s seems to be one of our most popular products. Even though it is more expensive, people love its rich, golden warmth. Another exotic species would be amboina, also known as narra or Hong Kong rosewood. There’s a whole host of exotic woods.”

The wood is sold by color — the classic Jungle mix and gold, blond, rose or cinnamon — rather than species. “The wood pretty much all looks the same before we mill it up, and positive identification of individual species is really difficult,” McFarland says. “In tropical hardwoods, there’s enough similarity between different species in appearance that it makes it awfully difficult to identify. That’s why we sort by color.”

Builders can choose select grade (clear with no character marks), character grade or variations in between.

While primarily designed for flooring, AsiaRain products also can be used for paneling and cabinet faces. In addition, the company offers stair parts and will introduce parts with a thicker dimension for use in furniture.

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