Teak has become such a popular choice for house owners that it is advisable that you should know something about this wood. Teak is a dense, coarsely grained hardwood which in the dry state weighs an average 40 lbs per cu.ft. The grains in teak are in most cases straight but sometimes they are wavy also.
There are three grades of teak, premium / A, B and C, with A topping the charts. As wood textures go, teak has a coarse and uneven one. The wood has a pleasant aroma, when freshly sawn is akin to the smell of leather but looks dull. It also has a slightly oily feel, which has been attributed to the high oil content present in teak. Teak has a high level of silica which blunts most blades.
The best thing about teak is that it is long lasting. Teak has been used to build ships because it can withstand the rigors of Nature better than any other wood. Check out the park benches in English parks; they have been made from the timber taken from the wooden decks of old ships. Some of the benches are more than a century old.
The high content of resinous oil in the wood makes teak very durable and plays a major factor in making it resistant to termites and other wood boring insects. Good teak is also resistant to water and chemical reagents as well as acids. There is also no reaction when it comes in contact with metals; bolts, hinges and so on.
Since there are so many retailers and online sites selling teak furniture, you are always at a loss to find out whether the claims they are making are true or not. Here is a detailed guide on how to spot the difference between the different grades of teak. You could check the label or ask retailers what grade of teak the furniture is made of.
Premium Grade Teak: Term covers usage of the mature heartwood section of the teak timber. It is a uniform ‘warm honey’ colour, close grained, oily to the touch, very dense and rich in protective oils. Burmese Grade A teak will contain mostly a straight grain while Indonesian plantation grade A teak contains more of a unique curvy grain. This grade of teak makes up only 20-25% of a mature log therefore making it far more expensive to purchase. A very strong wood, that is naturally resistant to the elements and should easily last a lifetime. Teak wood is produced from the center of the tree (commonly known as the ‘heart’ wood). A grade A piece of teak will be produced from a tree from 30-50 years of age.
characteristics: close grain, warm/honey color, oil rich and knot free. No streaks of white, no knots on top side, very few (live knots only – where there is discoloration but no fill – on the underside) knots, and these knots have to be less than 0.5 inch in diameter, and present only once in every 3-4 linear feet. This kind of wood is used in machine made teak furniture, since it is risky for the manufacturer to allow a cottage industry person to play with expensive, high quality wood and expect mediocre to bad results.
The characteristics of Premium Grade teak
Grade A teak will be uniform in color and in grain. The wood will not have sap or knots and black grains. When sun light falls on teak, it will have a shine. Good quality teak will not have pin holes and will be with no defects.
Look at the cross section of this Trinidad arm chair as an example and note the closeness of the grain and the even honey colour throughout:
Grade B Teak : Teak wood grade B is also great. Its quality is not as high as A grade teak but its still fine for furniture. B grade teak wood is taken from the outer part of the heart of the tree. It still has a good concentration of natural oil. The color is a bit darker than the one you find in A grade teak wood, it caused of using tone equalization with some treatment. The touch is same as smooth but less shiny than A grade.
Grade C Teak: Term covers usage of sapwood from the outer sections of the log which is the living section of the tree. It is used by the tree to transport water and minerals to the rest (crown) of the tree. It is much softer then heartwood, very patchy with a high contrast in colour (light/dark) and very easy to damaged. With large colour variations, virtually no protective oil content, large water content and the allowance for large knots (even dead knots that are removed then filled using wood filler) it is considered an inferior wood to use. Due to its lack of practical usages, it is extremely cheap to buy and in fact in the old days the sapwood was thrown away as it was considered worthless. It has none of the characteristics of teak heartwood and it is not even recommended for indoor use due to the certainty that it will split and warp in a short length of time. Sapwood is the section of the timber used to pull water to the rest of the tree. Consequently, it has extremely high levels of water and no natural oil whatsoever. You might as well buy cheap Pine furniture as it will last just as long if not longer! This grade of teak makes up around 40-50% of a mature log and 100% of immature logs.
The characteristics of grade C or sap wood
This is the lowest grade of teak and factories sometimes doctor the wood with chemicals to make it look like grade B. The wood in this grade is darker than the other grades; the grain is very clear and is usually dark also.
This is just a basic teak guide; as you go around the stores and do your research you will become quite an expert in indentifying teak and the different grades.
Teak Wood has a dark color in places, mixed with a very white color in places. The white is the young sapwood. There is an allowance for dead knots (where the knot was weak, has been gouged out and filled with epoxy or putty) These knots may be on the top side or the bottom side.
Here is an example of untreated grade C teak.
Did Something Bad to Buy C Grade Product?
Definitely NOT. Using a C grade product may be a wise decision. If using grade A products, we will waste a lot of wood is still useful. It is a waste of natural resources because the rest of the production of waste. This is certainly a not eco friendly.
By using some treatments, C grade product will not look too bad, the price is cheap but looks pretty good
Consider the following picture, grade c products on treatment with teak oil with a little wood stain. Whether you can receive this type of product like this?
We call also this C grade is GREEN Furniture for less waste of natural resources