Thermally Modified Timber or TMT, as it is widely known, is simply timber that has undergone one of various heat treatments to reduce its natural sugars in order to improve its resistance to rot and decay in wet conditions. Since most American hardwood species are mainly suitable for interior use, the development of American hardwood TMT is opening up a whole new range of exterior applications, now launched in Indonesia.
The American hardwood pavilion, designed by Jarrod Lim with its striking white oak TMT, will introduce Indonesian architects and designers to the opportunities that this technology now offers. Several other American species, such as ash and tulipwood, have performed well in projects – all part of a programme by AHEC to expand the use of the world’s most sustainable hardwood resource. Red oak is also regarded as another suitable species. Products made from TMT include cladding and siding, doors, decking and garden furniture and the process also improves their stability by reducing humidity fluctuations.
Last but not least, American hardwood TMT is available in Indonesia. The material exhibited at IFMAC was processed by Omega Mas in East Java, near Surabaya. Managing Director Dietmar Dutilleux says, “We installed a kiln for treating timber earlier this year and have been working with some local species up until now. But this is the first time we have used American hardwood and the result for white oak looks good.” AHEC regional director John Chan is confident that using American hardwood species for TMT products will become more popular in Hong Kong and Mainland China in the near future. AHEC has recently received interest for TMT for the veranda of a hotel and rental apartments in Hong Kong, where there is an opportunity for the project architect also to try white oak TMT for doors.