A complete guide to kwila furniture.


Kwila is considered one of the most durable furniture-grade timbers in the world, with a beautiful natural red colour and rich oils that give it everlasting properties. Strength and weather resistance makes it perfect for even the harshest of climates.

harrison kennedy setting

What is kwila?

The technical side 

Kwila, also known as Merbau, is a highly durable hardwood, that is termite resistant and ideal for outdoor use.

It is natural to the Indo-Pacific region, areas of far north Australia and Malaysia and is used in several outdoor applications such as decking, because it has immense capabilities to resist wood rot and shrinking when exposed to Mother Nature.

Kwila trees can grow as high as 60 metres tall and up to 1.5 metres wide, giving them much authority over smaller & faster growing species.

Professionally made Kwila furniture is characterised as being a deep reddish brown colour and has been known to hold onto this deep colouring, with the right maintenance, for up to 10 years unlike other species that tend to fade over time when outdoors.

Some popular uses for kwila that you might have seen are:

  • External decking
  • House posts and exposed roof joists
  • Window and door frames
  • Stair treads
  • Marine jetties
  • Saltwater jetty stumps
  • Outdoor furniture


Where does Kwila come from?

Timber used in the production of outdoor furniture is sourced from plantations using controlled production techniques.  These techniques enable the world’s forest resources to be maintained at a sustainable rate.

Our Kwila furniture comes from forests working with The Forest Trust (TFT), and are on a strict management program that employ sophisticated manufacturing techniques.

About TFT

TFT is an organisation that works with companies and communities to help them deliver their products responsibly. They are present in forests, fields & factories around the world to support the creation of products that respect the environment and improve people’s lives.

Through TFT’s work, they can make sure that a manufacturer’s wood supply is 100% traceable and monitored from source to final product.  In turn, this ensures that the forests and factories are managed legally and responsibly.

kwila tree

 Discover the features & characteristics of Kwila

  • Very durable timber to be able to handle extreme weather
  • Naturally resists cracking or splitting
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Deep reddish brown colour
  • Termite and insect resistant
  • Very dense timber
  • Wide trunk for a range of different widths of planks free of shrinkage and warping

What to expect when buying new kwila furniture.

As Kwila contains a large amount of tannin (resin or sap), when the timber becomes wet it will bleed the tannin onto the surface it is sitting on. If it is not cleaned up immediately, the tannin can stain porous ground surfaces, (such as concrete) so it is advisable to accelerate this process to attempt to remove the surface tannin from the furniture.

What you will need to do in order to bleed out the tannin, is hose the timber down with clean water until the tannin has stopped coming out of the timber and then allow it to dry. Depending on the amount of tannin in the product, this process may need to be repeated several times. It should be noted that as timber is a natural product, the amount of tannin is not measurable, therefore even by following bleeding instructions, it is still possible to end up with a small amount of residual tannin which could stain a surface.  So be as diligent as you can with this process. We recommend to use Timber Sealer after the bleeding to waterproof the bottom of the legs of chairs and tables to stop any tannin seeping out.

Don’t stop hosing until the run off water is clear and then use an old rag or towel to sop up any standing water on the timber, roughly going all over all of the furniture with the rag. It will take many hours for the timber to completely dry (depending on the weather), however using the rag helps to prevent water spots marking the timber while it dries.

Once your Kwila furniture is totally dry, and if you want to maintain the rich colour of your furniture, at this point it is recommended that you oil the furniture using a light decking oil, such as our Jarrah Oil.

It is important to note that you are not removing all of the tannin from the wood, just the surface tannin. This is important, because it is the tannin and the moisture within the timber that retains the tannin that helps to preserve your furniture, making it resistant to the elements.

bronx harrison

Maintenance for Kwila furniture

Maintaining your Kwila furniture is simple, a couple of hours over the course of a weekend and you will have your Kwila furniture looking brand new again.

The simple steps for re-oiling your furniture:

  1. Scrub down the furniture with warm soapy water to remove dust, dirt, old oil etc
  2. Let it dry
  3. Tighten up all bolts with your allen key
  4. Use sandpaper on coarse sections, if required
  5. Shake the tin of oil and pour a small amount into a container (like a takeaway container)
  6. Dip the sponge into the oil and wipe over the furniture, going along the grain
  7. Let it dry
  8. Dispose of any oil that is in your container at the end. Do not pour it back into the can.  See notes below.


NOTE:  The reason we recommend pouring the oil into a plastic container is because you should NEVER dip anything into the can of oil.  Dipping a sponge or brush into the can will release dirt and bacteria into the oil.  Once you put the lid on and leave it for 6 months, the next time you use it, it may have gone bad from the bacteria. The rest of the oil will be no good.

NOTE:  The reason we recommend using a sponge over a paintbrush is because there is usually a lot of excess oil that drips off a paintbrush, whereas with a sponge – the oil is released as needed.  This makes for a quick clean up time.

 kwila bar

As time goes on...

Over time, Kwila will form a medium grey patina like most woods.

This grey patina will not affect the structural integrity of the Kwila in any way, it’s just a sign of the Kwila’s maturity as a wood when exposed to the elements.

 Kwila furniture will provide comfort, style & functionality while letting you entertain, relax & enjoy for many years to come.


For more information on any of our outdoor furniture and accessories, visit our furniture showroom, call us on 07 3849 3866 or send us an email.