The Standard Malaysian Name for the heavy timbers of Hopea spp. (Dipterocarpaceae). Vernacular names applied include giam (Peninsular Malaysia) with various epithets, selangan (Sabah and Sarawak) with various epithets and other localised names too numerous to list here. Major species include H. ferrea, H. helferi, H. nutans, H. pentanervia and H. semicuneata. The sapwood is yellow and is poorly defined from the heartwood, which is yellow with a greenish tinge when fresh and turns deep red-brown on exposure.
Also known as Koki:r (Cambodia); Balau (Indonesia); Hin, Mai khaen fay and Mai la en (Laos); Thingyan (Myanmar); Heavy hopea (Papua New Guinea); Saplungan and Yakal (Philippines); Krabok-krang, Lao Tao, Takian Hin, Takian-Nu and Takian-rak (Thailand); and Sao xanh (Vietnam).
The timber is a Heavy Hardwood with a density of 865-1,220 kg/m3 air dry.
Only one species of giam (H. nutans) has been subjected to the graveyard test to determine its natural durability under exposed conditions. Of the 59 samples tested (dimension 50 mm x 50 mm x 600 mm), all were still serviceable after two years; only 5 per cent of the test sticks were destroyed in the eighth year and 80 per cent of the test sticks were found to be still serviceable after the fourteenth year. Compared to other Heavy Malaysian Hardwoods tested under the same conditions e.g. chengal, balau and merbau, this particular species of giam seems to be more durable. The timber has therefore, been classified as very durable under Malaysian conditions (Jackson, 1960).
Desch (1957) recorded that the timber, particularly the heartwood region, is exceptionally difficult to treat with preservatives. But for a timber which is naturally durable, preservative treatment is normally unnecessary.
Texture is very fine to moderately fine and even, with deeply interlocked grain.
The timber falls into Strength Group A (Engku, 1988).
Strength Properties of Giam
Modulus of Elasticity(MPa)
Modulus of Rupture(MPa)
Compression parallel to grain (MPa)
Compression perpendicular to grain (MPa)
It is easy to difficult to resaw and cross-cut. Planing is, however, easy and the planed surface is smooth.
Machining Properties of Giam
Ease of planing
Quality of finish
Ease of boring
Quality of finish
Ease of turning
Quality of finish
smooth to rough
Nailing property is rated as very poor.
The timber seasons very slowly, with only slight end-checking, splitting and surface-checking as the main sources of degrade. 13 mm thick boards take approximately 6 months to air dry, while 38 mm thick boards take 8 months.
Kiln Schedule B is recommended.
Kiln Schedule B
Moisture Content (%)
Temperature (Dry Bulb)
Temperature (Wet Bulb)
Relative Humidity (%) (approx.)
Shrinkage is average to high, with radial shrinkage ranging 1.4-2% and tangential shrinkage ranging 2.6-4.4%.
Though the form of the trees is sometimes poor, giam timber is generally free from major defects. Minor defects of the timber include occasional attack by 'pin' hole, powder post and longicorn beetles. Resin and bark pockets may also be found in the timber. The sapwood, which is light in colour, is sometimes attacked by sap-stain fungi.
The timber is suitable for all heavy construction, marine construction, ship and boat building (keels, keelsons and framework), posts, beams, joists, rafters, flooring (heavy traffic), decking, fender supports, mallets, vehicle bodies (framework and floor boards), heavy duty furniture, cooling tower (structural members), power-line poles, railway sleepers, columns (heavy duty), door and window frames and sills, tool handles (impact), telegraphic and power transmission posts and cross arms, container floor boards and heavy duty laboratory benches.
Information shared by "mtc.com.my".
Giam Solid Wood 2" x 4" (2 to 16ft.)
Giam Solid Wood 1" x 4" (2 to 14 ft)
Giam Solid Wood 1" x 3" (2 to 14 ft)