Neem - other uses
CraftsNeem is in the same plant family as mahogany. Its wood can be used as a substitute for true mahogany because it is heavy and similarly red in colour.
In south India neem wood is used for making furniture such as cabinets and the base of drawers. It is an aromatic wood, also used for ornamental ceilings and panelling and is easily carved into toys, figures and small boxes. A really useful property of neem timber is that it repels pests such as termites. This makes it ideal for making packing cases and chests in which to store clothes. The timber is very durable so is good for making carts, agricultural tools, bridges and for boat building. Neem is also a good plant used for making poles because it will re-sprout after it is cut, and is thus easily pollarded or coppiced.
Gum from the bark of the neem tree is used as an adhesive for traditional Indian mural paintings. It is a clear, bright, amber-coloured material that blackens with age. It is mixed with black and blue dyes to provide a base for pigments to be painted on.
|Image: This rope and fibre was produced from neem fibres in Madras, India.|
The bark also yields a fibre that is woven into rope. Neem seeds can be used to make hardboard.