(note from R. Bourdeix: text needs final validation from authors)
- High-density senile coconut logs can be reliably peeled into quality veneer using available spindle-less lathe techniques. 68% of the veneer recovered during trials had a density of 500 kg/m3 or more. However, appropriate machine settings and log preconditioning are required. Once peeled, the veneer can be dried and handled using standard industry equipment.
- The veneer produced differs from traditional wood veneers in that its minimum production thickness is 2 mm and its surface has a natural roughness that requires careful gluing and moderate sanding.
- The veneer produced can be used for a range of architectural and structural products. Optimum utility and value is likely to be achieved by exploiting coconut veneer’s colour, visual characteristics and hardness in architectural application. This requires quality production, batching the recovered veneer by colour and density, and grading it to a market-aligned standard.
- Coconut veneer can be reliably glued into structural plywood and LVL products but relatively low MoE and shear values mean that lighter competitor wood products provide superior performance. Viable structural products may result from blending coconut veneer with material from other forest resources
- A robust by-products suite is needed to use the significant quantities of residue generated on the harvest sites and at processing facilities. Coconut residues as fuel and as a base resource in community-scale composting appear to be cost effective and practical options. The use of coconut wood chips as a base for mushroom or plant growing mediums was largely unsuccessful. Trials with coconut wood biochar were inconclusive.
- Economic modelling of the coconut veneer value chain indicates that it is likely to be financially attractive for existing veneer producers and potentially additional small-scale processors to develop a viable coconut veneer industry.
- Fragmented community ownership of many coconut estates presents a risk to regular log supply and may be a significant impediment to establishing a coconut veneer value chain. Extension tools in estate planning and harvesting were developed to help address this risk.