Botanical Name: Koompassia malaccensis

Kempas is a large hardwood of the lowland forests and swampy regions of the island states of Malaysia and Indonesia normally growing to height of about 55 metres.

A similar species Tualang, Koompassia excelsa, which also grows in the Philippines is often mixed with Kempas however, as is the case from Malaysia, it should be considered separately.

  • Density(average)
  • 1000kg/m3 green
  • 850kg/m3 dry
  • Durability Class 3
  • S2 green
  • SD2 dry
  • Hardness Rating (average)
  • 8.0kN green
  • 9.0kN dry
The timber dries quickly with low shrinkage rates between 2 to 3%, but has a tendency to split so care should be taken in the process, although it is very stable in service. No silica is present, however being so hard the timber is difficult to work particularly with hand tools.

The heartwood is dark pink to reddish brown darkening with age and often having yellowish streaks which slightly confuse it with the sapwood which is pale yellow to light pinkish brown. Apart from these streaks it is usually easy to define and is susceptible to lyctid borer attack.

In Malaysia and Indonesia, Kempas is often used as high quality finishing timber particularly for parquetry, strip flooring, panelling and other joinery and when treated, for external building timbers such as posts and beams and also for commercial application like bridges and wharfs.

In Australia most of the timber is used for internal joinery, step treads, window sills and flooring.