Why is Teak Wood So Expensive?
Teak has become a very valuable wood in our day and age. It is a type of wood that can be used for a variety of different woodworking projects and is well known for its amazing characteristics. Due to high volumes of logging, there are fewer and fewer teak forests, and only Myanmar has a supply of Teak.
Teak wood is expensive because of its durability, its resistance to rot, pests, and water, and its beautiful look. Its high price is due to the lack of wood on the market, and the regulations on teak forests. It ranges anywhere from $7 to $41 per foot.
There is much to be learned about teak wood. It has a rich history that stretches across continents and people as well as a high price on the worldwide market today. If you still can't understand why it is valued so highly, read below to learn more about this amazing type of wood.
History of Teak
Throughout time, teak wood has been used for a variety of different things. It was first used by native tribes in Southern Asia to build their homes, but it also served as the tools with which they were able to build those homes. Later it was used in the construction of ships and even as a tea so that people could access its healing properties. The British actually used teak wood to create their navy ships. Its phenomenal properties and characteristics have helped to shape its uses in the old world and in our world today.
Teak wood is found in Myanmar, Thailand, India, and Laos and has been grown in Indonesia since the 16th century when Buddist monks brought it over from Myanmar (Burma). As natural teak forests began to disappear due to excessive logging, more teak plantations began to pop up all over southeast Asia. Some of the first teak plantations were started in Sri Lanka around 1680.
Teak plantations are now commonly found in India, where they grow teak for export. About the same time teak plantations began in southern Asia, the Myanmar people found a new way to grow teak plantations while also planting cash crops to keep up with the heavy expenses. This and other factors have allowed teak to become a more worldwide trading product.
While this has helped people continue to use teak widely, the best teak is still found in natural forests, or in other words, Burmese Teak. In the early 1900s teak plantations started in Nigeria, Brazil, Panama, Costa Rica, and other places that had the right conditions.
Today, teak is commonly used to make furniture. Its durability and water resistance make it optimal for outdoor furniture and other carpentry work. It continues to be a vital part of our woodworking world. Once it was used to build ships, but now the wood itself is shipped across all the world.
Uses, Advantages & Disadvantages
Teak is a hardwood with a rich golden brown and red color that runs grey in the weather. It has many potential uses and applications. Its water resistance makes it the best choice for outdoor furniture, shipbuilding, decking, and other general construction needs. It has quite a few really good advantages that make it optimal for these kinds of situations, which has led it to become so popular. We will go over a few of these below.
Advantages: Teak wood is a great hardwood!
- Durable: Teak is one of the most hard woods on the market today. It has an incredibly tight wood grain that makes it hard to break. It's the perfect choice for situations that involve lots of weight, wear, and tear.
- Water Resistance: This characteristic is what has made teak so widley know and loved. It has a very high concentration of oil within its grain, making it very resistant to weathering like rain and snow.
- Versatility: It is also a very versatile wood. It can be used to make whatever you desire because it holds nails and screws very well. It also can be painted, stained, or left plain and still have a beautiful apperance and great function.
- Resistanace: As mentioned before, teak has phenominal resistance to a variety of different threats. Not only does it repel water, but it also gives off an aroma that keeps insects and termites at bay. It is also very durable against acid stains and won't rot as quickly or as severely as other woods will.
- Maintance: Teak wood requires very little maintenance. You can even leave it out unprotected for long periods of time and it will maintain the same integirty and appearance it had at the beginning. When you do want to freshen it up, you can do a light sand and a little polish and it will look just as good as when you first got it.
As you can see, there are a variety of reasons that this wood is not only widely used and loved, but also why it costs so much money. It has all the characteristics to make amazing creations, but that doesn't mean that you will get all of those good qualities for free. It will definitely come at a price, but it's a price that will get you the results you need and desire.
Disadvantages: Teak wood may be hard to find!
- Price: As we have talked about, teak is very expensive. It is one of the best woods on the market, but it is also one of the most highly priced. Some of the many reasons behind such a high price is the supply and demand which drives the price up. There is also a lot of civil unrest in the countries producing teak, especially teak that comes from Myanmar. This makes exporting the wood more expensive. Bans have been placed on exporting the logs out of the countries they are grown in as well. To add on to the many reasons, teak also just takes a really long time to grow and is not able to be harvested as quickly as other woods becuase of regulations and policies that are in place.
- Availability: In conjuction with the price, the availabilty of the wood is also quite limited. It peaks and then decreases and getting it shipped to the right place at the right time frame has become incredibly difficult.
There are not too many disadvantages to teak wood, but the few it does have to carry a lot of weight for suppliers trying to make high-quality products that are still affordable for consumers. As a consequence of this, many teak alternatives have come into existence. They may visually look like teak, but they don't have the same durability or strength. Do not be fooled by their good looks and cheap price tag. While teak is very expensive, it will outlive all of its alternatives meaning you won't have to buy it over and over again as it wears away and becomes ugly.
Best Finish for Teak Wood
Maybe you want that nice weathered gray look that teak gets when left out in the sun for too long. Or maybe you are going for the classy appearance of teak wood that has been finished and polished off. Either way, there are great treatments that will help you attain whatever look you may want. You can stain, or paint teak wood with no problems making it any color you want while still preserving the beautiful grain of the wood. Let's talk about the best types of finish to be able to not only preserve the teak furniture you have but also keep it looking beautiful.
Across the internet and forums, people mention Teak Oil as one of the best ways to finish off teak wood. It helps it to maintain its color and furthers the integrity of the wood. Teak oil is exactly what it sounds like; it is an oil made of tung and linseed oil that pairs perfectly with teak wood. It normally gives off a golden brown sheen. Since teak oil is specifically designed for teak wood, it is absorbed really well to help preserve the wood over time. There are quite a few really great teak oils on the market today that you may want to consider using.
- Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil: This oil is highly reccomended by outdoor furniture builders and ship builders alike. It helps to preseve the wood and gives it a golden natural look. In addition to creating a great teak oil, Star Brite also offers an entire package that comes with teak cleaner and teak brightener. It may take a good chunk of time to prep and apply all the coats and cleaners, but in the end it will be well worth the effort you have put into it. While its made for teak, it can also be used on other woods to help them have the same beauty.
- Rust-Oleum Watco Teak Oil: This oil is a marine-grade oil that also helps to preserve and protect the wood. It has a beautiful apperance that can also be used on mahogany and other woods. It will normally last for about a year at a time, but that all depends on the cracking and wear it is subjected to. It can be bought online or in a local hardware store for about $22 to $25.
- MinWax Teak Oil: This oil is known to protect against moisture and UV rays that are constantly a threat to you wood. It is a durable finish and works on all types of hardwoods. It can be found on Amazon for about $22 to $25.
Other than the oils mentioned, there are many stains and varnishes that one can try in order to create whatever masterpiece they may be working on. Whatever you may choose, it may be helpful to buy one that will protect and seal off the teak wood so that it maintains the color you want and helps to keep your wood looking good as new. Be sure to make sure you find one that is non-toxic and will be used to strengthen the wood rather than cause it to deteriorate faster.
Reusing Teak Wood
If you don't want to pay the very high price to get your hands on some teak wood, you can opt to buy a used teak wood creation like patio furniture and reuse it to create what you need. Since teak is so durable and strong, it will normally last a long time, giving you the option to buy teak wood and still be able to use it for years to come.
There are quite a few things that can be created even after the wood has been kicking around for years and years. It is important to be able to know where it will still have great uses that don't including going to the dump. One thing that looks cool (even when it is very old-looking) is chairs. You could make old teak into a chair for your front porch, or you could find an old teak chair. You could also transform old teak into a bench. The ideas are endless, but you can definitely reuse the wood.
All it may take is a few simple steps like sanding it down slightly and then finishing it with either oil or stain that will keep it looking a little fresher and prolong the life even further. Reusing and finishing teak can be a great adventure and it will be ready in no time!
In the end, it may be an expensive wood, but it is because of its durability, strength, resistance, appearance, and versatility. Each of these characteristics makes it some of the best wood around. Another reason for its high price can be understood by a thorough understanding of its history. It comes from South East Asia and sometimes the supply is low and the trees are still in the process of growth!
Whatever the reason may be, teak wood is definitely worth the wait and it will supplement your life with new outdoor furniture or a nice new canoe or fishing boat.
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