Teak is a genus of tropical hardwoods with a scientific name of Tectona. Teak is a hardwood native to South and Southeast Asia and is typically part of a monsoon forest, growing on small hills, well away from the shore line. Teak is a deciduous tree, dropping its leaves in the dry season and is not included in a tropical rain forest. It is a huge tree, and can easily grow 30 to 40 meters tall. Teak possesses a big concentration of oils and minerals, making the wood waxy and rubbery. This creates a surface that is waterproof and bug resistant, as well as a dense, straight grain to refuse bending. Teak is often golden to dark brown, however it can have a reddish tone. If left raw and unprotected to the elements, it can dim to a silvery gray, though an annually oil application can keep the natural complexion. Teak is native to Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, The Philippines and India.
Teak has been utilized for a minimum of two thousand years and is referenced in poetry from that century. Teak logs last as the main structural component in buildings centuries past in India, and also in thousand year old temples. This shows the amazing function of Teak to last when stressed is placed on it. Teak was a huge 18th Century export for China, where flooring, cabinets, paneling and multiple different wood elements were exported to Europe. Teak was frequently used for art objects, though the hearty wood made this a tasking process, requiring much resharpening of tools. Later in the Victorian Era, this was hugely overcome and Teak art creations became more main stream.
The durability and salt water repellent characteristics made Teak especially valuable to the Royal Navy, and beyond World War I, when numerous old warships were being scrapped, the crew members were in awe by the great condition of the Teak decking and decided to keep the wood. A lot of it became lawn furniture, creating the tradition of teak patio furniture. The Royal Navy was not the only one using Teak; the unique qualities of this wood made it popular around the world among ship builders in the sailing age. There is an momentous whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan, held in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut that was built in 1841 and had hard service with several around the world tours but still looks like new.
The ever growing ease of Teak fabricating led to Teak becoming a major component of the Danish avant-garde style of furniture, very excepted in the 50s and 60s. This furniture is now undergoing a renaissance in popularity and original Teak furniture from this time is very excepted with collectors and others.
It is also heavily manufactured in Indonesia, there Dutch traders grew tree farms in 1816. Perum Perhutani, an agency of the Indonesian Government, operates the tree farms today. They strictly limit trees taken and new harvests to ensure very high quality wood. Tests have displayed that Indonesia Teak can grow twenty meters in fifteen years. Today Indonesia and Burma, indubitably known as Myanmar, have become the world’s biggest exporters of Teak.
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Patricia Woods is a interior design specialist with a passion for teak furniture. For more information on Patricia and her line of teak garden furniture, click here.
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