Teak Hardwood


Teak, also known by its botanical name Tectona grandis (Verbenaceae), is a hardwood species with a uniform dark golden-brown heartwood. It is typically straight grained, but can sometimes be wavy, with a coarse, uneven texture and an oily feel. The sapwood is white to pale yellow, and darkens to a mid to dark brown on exposure. Teak is known for its durability, ease of working with, and attractive finish. It is a popular choice for high-end furniture, both interior and exterior, as well as for decking and cladding. It is a more expensive hardwood species due to restrictions on harvesting, but is considered worth the investment for its superior quality.

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Also Called:
Burma Teak,Mai Sak, Djati, Sagwan, Tegina, Tekku, Jati Sak, Gia Thi, Rosawa, Tik

Durability Notes:
Teak very durable and resistant to termites and fungi. The sapwood is vulnerable to the powder-post beetle. The heartwood is highly resistant to preservation treatment although the sapwood is moderately resistant. Some say Teak is the ultimate wood - durable, attractive and works well.

The drying and seasoning of Teak is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Teak - The wood dries slowly but well, though there can be large variations in drying rates. There is small movement in use. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Teak is a hard, medium-density wood, strong and durable. Teak is naturally acid and fire-resistant. The wood is relatively easy to work with both hand and machine tools but does have a blunting effect on tools due to its silica content. Pre-drilling is advised for nails and screws. Provided cutters are kept sharp, it drills, carves, turns and moulds well. It can be brought to a good finish and paints, varnishes, oils and stains well.

Typical Uses:
Domestic, outdoor and office furniture joinery, flooring, kitchen cabinets, harbour works, boat and ship building, oars, decking, laboratory benches, vats, plywood and decorative veneers.

Spiritual Properties:
Teak is said have the mystical properties of the khodam spirit which resides in the sacred tree. Teak wood emits auspicious energies and blessings. Teak wood is considered holy wood. It is said to have healing properties.

Moisture Content:
12-18% KD

Although this particular species has not been fully assessed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species a close relative - Philippine Teak is considered as critically endangered and in our industry Burma Teak has become increasingly challenging and expensive to source indicating that this too could be considered in the same category (Philippine Teak was last assessed in 1998 and considerable changes in awareness and more stringent forestry controls may have had an impact and the results of the latest assessment is due soon) for more information and latest updates please visit http://www.iucnredlist.org and type in the botanical name of the species into the search box. It should also be noted that one unintentional shortcoming of the Red List is that it only considers the risk of extinction; broader issues dealing with habitat destruction or deforestation are not considered. Also, it does not necessarily take into account the maturity of the trees (i.e., centuries-old trees are cut down, and subsequently replanted with saplings) Therefore we hope that further assessments will consider this long term commitment to re-growth.

Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Extremely expensive due to tight restrictions on foresting. Silt or grit can be apparent in the timber blunting cutters and chisels. Finishes well and is naturally oily. Used for 'high end' external furniture and decking. Would recommend more environmentally friendly alternatives such as Accoya, Iroko

Commonly asked questions about Teak Wood

Is Teak a hardwood or a softwood? Teak is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Teak hardwood or softwood? - Teak is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Teak family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Teak? Teak can be described as brown, dark brown, light brown, yellow/brown, orange,

Is Teak good for outdoor use? or is Teak good for exterior use? Teak is most suited for exterior/external use. Teak can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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