Genuine Teak is one of the world’s most well-known and coveted woods. Its heartwood is light-medium to medium brown, with a tint that can range from muted gold to a pale red. (Its color darkens as it ages.) Sapwood colors are a pale white, off-white or a pale yellowish brown. But it is the wood’s great toughness, rot resistance and durability — versus some rather bland aesthetics — which make it so popular.
Its grains are typically straight (although sometimes wavy, or even interlocked) with a high natual oil content. This generally makes for favorable working characteristics, although the wood does possess a high silica content.
Sustainability: Not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Ship decking, boat building, veneer, flooring, furniture, exterior construction, docks, bridges, carvings, turnings, and other small wood objects.
Comments: Despite an abundant supply — originating from both a wide natural range and a plethora of plantations scattered around the world — Teak remains in constant demand and, thus, has a rather stout price. (… in spite of being an unfigured wood noted for its generally forgettable aesthetic qualities.)
Teak has always done well in aquatic environments — used in boats and ships, as well as docks, bridges and marinas — as it is resistant to shipworm: a wood-boring sea mollusk. Teak’s sawdust contains naturally occurring organic compounds (called “quinones”) that inhibit the growth of the fungi which cause wood rot.