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What is Teak?

By Edited Mar 9, 2016 0 0

You’ve probably used teak furniture a time or two in the past, but this remarkable wood simply isn’t given enough credit for its unique properties.

Teak is the most expensive wood on the market, which surprises many people before they learn about what makes it so interesting.

Teak Trees

Teak trees are deciduous trees from the Verbenaceae family. They look similar in shape to a tobacco plant, and can grow to well over 150 feet tall, and live for over 100 years. Teak grows best in well-drained, fertile soil, and warm tropical climates. The tree itself grows in the tropics and is usually found in counties such as Indonesia, Laos, India, Thailand, and Myanmar, as well as many countries in the Caribbean and Africa. 

The trees have greyish brown branchlets and are beautiful, with white, fragrant flowers that bloom from June to August. The leaves are hard and rough, but underneath the scaly bark you’ll find a dark gold wood, which will turn a gorgeous dark brown once exposed to sunlight and air. Over time, it will slowly turn a silvery-grey if left outside in the sun.

The trunk is branch-free up to around 80ft, which makes it perfect for use in commercial lumber. 

Teak trees have a large amount of rubber and oils inside the tight grain of their wood, as well as antibacterial properties, which make them naturally water resistant, and also resistant to termites and other insects. 

Teak is very oily and sandy, which makes it perfect to work with and means that furniture will last for years. Teaks are almost indestructible, compared to most other trees, and teak is the strongest wood in the world.

Teak Uses

Because teak is naturally much more weather-resistant than almost every other type of wood, it is especially popular for use outdoors, and ages well, even when untreated with oil and varnish. 

Along with being used in the home, teak has also been use in traditional Southeast Asian medicine for centuries. The astringent and antiseptic properties in the leaves assist in reducing swelling and it has also been used to treat diabetes. 

Many people believe that teak wood is harder than other wood. In fact it’s actually far more dense, which means it resists rot and decay, and does not get stained easily. Because it’s so dense, it has a high weight to volume ration, which of course means that it will be very strong and heavy-perfect for use outdoors. Teak is also used for door and window frames since it is so stable and strong.

Teak gained popularity with boat makers, and has been used as boatbuilding material for thousands of years. Even the decks of the Titanic were made of teak, and this wood could be used again, over one hundred years later.

In addition to being resistant to termites and water, it is also resistant to mildew, fungi, and rot. Its density means that it has a low shrinkage ratio, which makes it the perfect wood for exposure to water and damp conditions. It’s also very popular for boat decks, since as it wears down through the bands it becomes naturally “non-slip.”

Humans have been using teak for over 2000 years, and it first gained popularity in India, while Thai royalty and the ancient burmese believed teak to be a royal tree. It’s the perfect addition to any home, and will last for a lifetime. 



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