Teak is one of the few wood species in the world that are considered perfect in all aspects. It is strong, hard, and durable, and looks amazing even without any staining or colouring.
It is considered one of the most valuable woods on the planet because of its amazing qualities, which include its awesome natural appearance and incredible durability. Teak products are known for their longevity and will easily last many decades even when used outdoors and under extreme weather conditions.
Teak is used in all kinds of applications, ranging from outdoor furniture and flooring to construction, shipbuilding and many more. Here are some of the key teak wood properties that makes it a highly sought-after material:
About Teak Wood
Scientifically known as Tectona grandis, it is native to southern Asian countries, including India and Burma. It is also grown on plantations across Asia, Africa, and America. The trees are about 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall with a 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter.
It is a very hard, strong and durable wood that is considered suitable for furniture, construction and bodybuilding, among other uses. Due to its high demand and the fact that it is not naturally available in most countries, imported teak is one of the most expensive woods.
Some popular types of teak wood include Indian teak, Burmese teak, African teak, Indonesian teak, Thailand teak, and South American teak. Burmese teak is commonly called genuine teak because of its properties that are superior to all other types of teak.
Teak Wood Properties
The most awesome feature of teak is, of course, its gorgeous appearance that goes with any classic or contemporary style.
The heartwood colour is a golden or medium brown that weathers to a darker, silver-greyish hue with age and due to exposure to sunlight. If you want to retain the natural colour of your teak furniture, make sure to apply some wood oil or finish, especially when using it outdoors.
Teak generally has a straight grain, but the wavy or interlocked grain is also not uncommon. The texture is uneven and coarse with a moderate natural lustre.
It is rich in natural oils, which can cause raw wood surfaces to sometimes feel greasy or oily.
Teak is a strong and heavy wood. The average dried weight of teak is about 655 kg/m3. Moreover, the sapwood of teak is nearly as strong and hard as the heartwood, which means the entire tree can be used in woodworking applications.
Teak is a naturally durable wood. That means it can be used in heavy-duty applications and in exterior projects without the fear of easy damage. It is an extremely strong hardwood that doesn’t catch scratches or dents easily. The heartwood of teak is rated extremely durable.
Being highly durable and strong, it doesn’t require a lot of care or maintenance even when used outside.
Janka hardness test, which is an indicator of the hardness of the wood, rates teak as 1,070 lbf, i.e. this much force is needed to embed a 0.444 inch steel ball into teak heartwood. Teak is harder than many popular woods, including pine, cedar, mahogany, and poplar.
The good thing is that Teak is not too hard to work with. And it stains and finishes really well.
Teak is resistant to natural elements and forces that can cause wood to rot. These include resistance to water, pests and rot. Teak can be used outdoors and in places where it is exposed to water or weather conditions. It doesn’t rot or decay easily and will last for decades. Teak has ample natural oils, which increase its durability and resistance.
Teak is completely resistant to termites, bugs and worms, though it can be sometimes prone to marine borers and beetles and treatment is recommended. It is also resistant to fungi, which makes it suitable for use in marine applications.
The high silica content also makes it resistant to skidding or slipping, making it suitable for building anti-skid flooring.
Teak is very dimensionally stable which means the wood doesn’t shrink or expand a lot when in contact with water or due to changes in temperature. The shrinkage coefficient of teak is only 5.3%, as compared to 8.6% of Red Oak and 7.2% of Ipe, which makes it a superior choice for flooring and decking.
Teak is considered very easy to work with both machine and hand tools. The only negative point is that the high levels of silica content in teak can often cause blunting of the edges of cutters. Teak is also easy to glue and finish. If the surface is oily, it can be wiped clean with a solvent before applying glue or finish. It doesn’t corrode or lose colour when in contact with steel.
Freshly cut or sawn teak usually has a mild, leather-like smell.
Teak Wood Availability & Price
The natural population of teak is only limited to some South Asian countries. Other than that, it is extensively grown in plantations around the world. Even after that, due to high demand, teak is one of the most expensive woods in the world.
One of the benefits of teak is that its lumber can be available in large sizes. It is also one of the costliest non-figured woods out there.
The export of Burmese wood is almost prohibited, so you’ll not find it easily anywhere. Most of the teak wood available in the market comes either from plantations or from other Asian countries.
Teak Wood Uses
Teak is considered suitable for a wide range of applications. Common uses of teak include furniture, ship and boatbuilding, veneering, construction, outdoor applications, carving, turnings, and speciality wood objects.
- Furniture: As one of the pricey timbers, teak is now only used in high-end furniture items for modern homes. Popular teak furniture examples include wooden sofas, beds, chairs, and exterior furniture.
- Exterior Construction: It is a wonderful choice for exterior construction and building a range of wooden items like decking, flooring, docks, outdoor furniture, gates, and more. Teak furniture and items are resistant to moisture and weather and will last very long without much maintenance.
- Boatbuilding: As a wood that is naturally resistant to water, rot and fungi, teak is often the first choice for applications in the marine industry, including building the parts of boats and ships, decks, docks and interior work.
- Veneer: It is also a great choice for veneers. Teak veneer costs less than real wood and can be used with plywood and other wood options to achieve the looks of genuine teak.
- Carving: Though teak wood is hard, it is easy to carve using the right tools and methods. If you are using chisels, know that the silica of teak might quickly dull your tools.
- Turning: It responds quite well to turning and can be used for making a wide variety of turned objects, including pots for the kitchen and plants.
- Flooring: Not only is teak very strong, but it is also a stable wood, which means it doesn’t expand or contract a lot due to humidity changes, which makes it ideal for flooring in both interior and exterior environments.
Though the sapwood of teak is nearly as strong as the heartwood, it is not resistant to water or decay due to the lack of natural oils and should not be used for marine applications.
Where to Buy Teak Wood Online?
Teak wood properties such as its superb strength, easy workability, and unmatched durability have made it a favourite among woodworkers and wood traders worldwide. Its strength allows it to withstand extreme weather conditions, while its workability makes it easy to carve and shape.
If you are looking to buy teak, you should know that many of the variants of teak being sold out there may not be genuine teak. Many wood species that either look similar or share similar properties are also sometimes sold as teak or its variants. This is why you must always buy wood from a credible supplier.
As an FSC-certified timber manufacturer & supplier in the UK, White Knight Consulting Ltd is your best choice to buy genuine teak wood online at the best price. We only sell genuine and sustainable teak species that are locally processed by our skilled artisans at the company mill to maintain quality. Contact us to enquire now.