Did you know? Some Facts about Teakwood.
The Latin name for Teak is Tectona Grandis and Tectona is part of the mint family. The Teak tree is a deciduous tree common to South East Asia where it is native to Burma (Myanmar), Thailand and Indonesia. They are forest trees that can grow to 150 feet in height, they form an important part of the forest composition and are a natural home to many animal species.
Tectona, Teak is a hardwood tree, reputed to be the strongest wood in nature, that can take 20 years to reach maturity. It has been known for Teak trees to grow to as large as 2 metres in diameter, all the more damning when such magnificent trees are ripped out of their natural habitat. By opening natural forest to logging activity, as we have seen in many tropical forests around the globe, the natural microclimate that is home to the world’s most endangered tribal peoples and their way of life, is seen to leave behind devastated animal species, and plants – some of which carry answers to the world populations most worrying medical conditions. As forests are the lungs of the world, soaking up Carbon Dioxide and replacing it with Oxygen, their destruction is utter madness. Historically, that is exactly what has happened because of teakwood and other precious timber trees became highly valued by boat builders and home furniture makers, the world over, and still is to this day.
Teakwood tree resin bears an oil in its Cambium (heartwood) that makes it highly water resistant, plus giving it protection from decay, insect penetration, and bacterial infection. Teakwood has thick fibres, plus a natural mineral composition that includes silica and rubber. Naturally, this makes it an ideal wood for boat building.
There is an answer to the problem of forest plundering for boat building.
Many teak wood plantations have sprung up, in which the teak trees are grown specifically for use in boat building and decking, as well as to produce garden furniture, that will not rot. Plantations have been grown in Mexico and Costa Rica and the Americas.
Mature trees that are grown to their optimum age are harvested at between 20 and 25 years. Teak is a faster-growing tree than most other species. Due to their long grain and mostly know free condition teakwood is ideal for working into its finished condition when sanded it becomes lustrous and beautifully smooth.
Teak-wood farming is a sustainable exercise and allows for intercropping, i.e. growing other food crops alongside, making management and cash flow considerably easier.
The major environmental benefit is that plantation growing of teak-wood removes the necessity of tearing ancient trees from their forests and avoids environmental destruction in the process.
Buying teak for your boat? Check it out and ask for certification that the teak that you wish to buy is high-grade plantation grown teak-wood.
Because teak-wood is plantation grown the cost is mitigated, remember though that a 20-year growing cycle requires a substantial return on investment for the farmer, so teak-wood is still going to be costly.
Although a fine teak-wood deck for your boat will still cost a pretty penny, however, it will not cost the earth!
Author: Roger J Langley