Teak Wood 101
The Teak Tree, or Tectona, is one of the tropical hardwood birches, included in the family Verbenaceae. This tree is originally from the plantations of South East Asia, and can grow to a height of 30 – 40 m. As part of its life cycle, this tree sheds its leaves every year at dry season. Its longevity is very great, the Teak tree often living to an age of 100 years. Teak is especially noted for its capacity to withstand changes in the weather and season. One of the reasons for this is the ability of the Teak to bend, but not break, in the face of high winds.
Many other hardwoods are used for outdoor furniture and in fact a lot are even marked as “teak substitutes”. There is no substitute for teak and no other hardwood in the world will perform to the same high quality standards as teak in outdoor conditions. Teak is simply the best hardwood in the world for outdoor teak furniture.
Teak is a close grained hardwood with high natural oil and rubber content. It is one of the hardest, strongest and most durable of all timbers, highly resistant to any rotting and almost impervious to the effects of hot sun, rain, frost or snow. These characteristics combine to make it the ideal timber for all outdoor applications. It has been the number one choice of boat builders for centuries.
Also, the Teak tree resin typically has an oil in its Galih (Cambium/heartwood) that is highly water resistant. This content alone can protect the Teak from decay, insects, and bacteria. At the same time, the combination of unique Teak tree content and thick fibers make it easier to cut and then later sculpt into pleasing forms. Because of this special characteristic, not found in other trees, there has always been interest in using Teak wood for various types of furniture. The teak trees found in South-East Asia forests reach a height of up to 150 feet, have reddish-green leaves with rough skin, and heartwood that is brown to dark gold in color. Of the main teak producers in the area, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Philippine, and Malaysia, Indonesia’s teak is considered of the highest quality in the world.
Cultivation and conservation of the Teak tree in Indonesia is managed by the government of Indonesia, Perum Perhutani (Forestation Company of Government). The largest producer of teak in Indonesia is Java. Its geography and weather are highly suitable to Teak tree plantations; Java Island is also a manufacturing center where many furniture workers are employed to process the wood of the Teak tree into unique and beautiful furniture. To get teak wood of the highest quality, there are some things that must be carefully attended to in the retrieval process. The older Teak trees, of up to 40 years in age, are the best ones to be cut. In fact, the older the Teak tree, the better will be the quality of its wood. Before cutting the Teak tree, the water content must be drained from the tree by making a cut at its under side. This draining process takes time, 1 to 2 years, in order to get the Teak tree dry enough that it can be cut into Teak wood, and so ready for its main use as the material for furniture and other products.
In India, Teak wood, because of its durability, is used – in addition to its use in furniture and other products – in the production of door and window frames. In Denmark, noted the world over for the stylishness and practicality of its furniture products – with teak, once again, as the main material – because of the increasing demand, and decreasing supply, the price of their furniture products has greatly increased – while in Indonesia, Teak wood is exported abroad and also used as the main material for furniture.
Our teak wood:
More Than Teak uses teak (tectona grandis) hardwood for exterior furniture applications. Teak is a dense and durable hardwood suitable for outdoor applications where resistance to the elements is required. Teak has qualities unlike any other wood and is dense, rich in oil, almost impervious to splitting, buckling, and rot making it termite proof. Teak has been prized for centuries as one of the worlds most durable and stable woods for outdoor use. Traditionally used on boats and in outdoor furniture, teak has also been widely used for flooring/decking as well because of its superior ability to withstand the elements. When amortized over the years, taking into consideration its quality and longevity, teak wood is one of the better investments around. Teak should be used wherever the distinguished look of one of the world’s most prized woods is desired. Maintained properly, a quality piece of teak furniture will last for many generations.
We use Javanese teak in the manufacturing of our furniture. The very first plantations on the island of Java were planted long ago by the Dutch, who were the colonial power at the time, in the mid 1800s making them some of the oldest teak farms in the world. These plantations are now owned by the Indonesian government agency Perum Perhutani, which is responsible for the control of these teak farms allowing the felling of a limited number of trees each year and the reforestation of these farms.