Teak and Plantation Teak
Teak Tectona grandis Heartwood yellowish, olive or
light to dark brown. More or less variegated or streaked. Highly
resistant to decay.
VITAL STATISTICS: Tropical. Height 150 feet to 160 feet. Trunk
diameter of 6 feet to 8 feet. The Asiatic teak may achieve a huge
trunk circumference of 40 feet. Distribution: southern India, Thailand,
Burma and Java; also Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the East Indies.
Grown in commercial quantities throughout Southeast Asia, numerous
plantations have recently been developed within this natural range
and also in tropical areas of Latin America and Africa. Because it
can be harvested in as little as 16 years it is an ideal plantation
species. As the forest grown teak becomes increasingly hard to bring
out, plantations are a cost effective answer.
DESCRIPTION: Teak naturally grows in groups among other tropical
species. It is a very hard, heavy, strong wood, distinctively oily
to the touch. This oil in the wood makes teak very durable. It is
a "natural preservative" making all applied treatments totally unnecessary.
It is resistant to insects, fungus, and marine borers; termites won't
touch it! It is also resistant to rot and moisture damage. When first
cut, it is a tawny golden color streaked with dark brown and gold.
The color lightens as it dries and can look white when it has been
aged and sun bleached, as on boat decks.
USES: Teak is one of the most valuable of all woods. It is
expensive due to its scarcity and because it is so difficult to harvest
and transport. The over-riding advantage of teak is its unique ability
to prevent rust and corrosion when in contact with metal. This makes
it invaluable in the shipbuilding industry and exterior millwork
applications Teak finishes well and when stained can look like ebony
or mahogany. Due to its oil content, pretreatment is, at times, necessary
to ensure good glue bonding. Teak works well with both hand and machine
tools. Because of the presence of silica in the grain it has a tendency
to dull tools, but this can be overcome with proper tool usage. It
is readily available as veneer and as lumber. Teak is used principally
in shipbuilding and in the construction of expensive boats and yachts.
Because of its decay resistance, it is used extensively as exterior
decking, millwork, trim and windows; also for garden furniture, park
benches and many marine applications. Indoors it is used for flooring
and paneling in banks, auditoriums and offices. It is strongly associated
with Scandinavian, Chinese and modern furniture design and decorative