Teak has a place of distinction among woods. It is durable beyond belief for outdoor use, and is considered by many to be the luxury wood for generations of enjoyment. The unfinished wood has been known to last for more than 100 years outdoors. Recently, teak furniture manufacturers are starting to have custom finishes for their products. Choosing finished over natural teak, however, is an environmental as well as personal choice.
You may buy teak furniture in a variety of different stains and finishes. Interest in teak has prompted the use of custom finishes so that the furniture may easily be added to existing home decor. This is good news for many buyers. But it is important to know about the teak manufacturing process. You may change your opinion about custom finishes.
Teak wood is a hardwood that grows in the dry, hill areas of Southeast Asia. In recent years, great effort has been made to control its use for manufacturing by using only teak grown in tree farms rather than natural forests. The goal has been to manufacture teak using sustainable resources to protect the environment. The furniture made from teak actually uses very little energy at all.
When untreated teak is discarded, it naturally decays in landfills. It is an excellent choice for our ecology because it comes from the earth and eventually returns to it. This is a point of pride for many manufacturers who have been making high quality teak furniture for generations.
Conscientious teak manufacturers salvage their teak scraps to use for other products such as parquet flooring. The smallest scraps will be used as fuel for the manufacturing process itself. Nothing is wasted.
Because teak takes long to mature for use, at least 40 years, care is taken to harvest only older trees. The harvesting process is time consuming. Once a tree is selected, it must be drained of its water content for up to two years. A special cut is made along the tree allowing it to drain slowly.
Harvested teak must be slowly dried in a kiln. It can take months to dry the teak properly to about 10 to 16 percent moisture content. The entire process of harvesting and kiln drying is closely monitored. Once the moisture is removed, the teak is then ready to be used. The dry wood is nearly impervious to weather and insect damage.
The best teak furniture features tongue and groove joinery. Carefully crafted joints are secured with high quality waterproof glue to make lasting joints. Proper manufacturers work hard to avoid poor quality work that ultimately leads to furniture splitting.
Countries that grow teak have also implemented teak protection programs that govern its use and cultivation. These countries recognize teak as an important part of their economy. The number of trees felled each year on a teak farm is controlled, and farms are reforested with new trees to replace those that are used. Protecting teak involves local social systems, providing for local employment. Entire cultures have developed around manufacturing teak.
Ultimately, teak is an excellent choice whether custom finished or not. It has earned its solid reputation. Deciding to leave it natural or not will depend upon your environmental perspective.