Furniture makers and designers often recommend teak as a great material to use in creating quality pieces for the home. If you’re considering buying teak furniture, hear what Jamie Lim, Regional Marketing Director of Scanteak, has to say about why this wood is a good choice and how to look after it.
What are the different types of wood typically used for furniture?
There are two main categories of wood: softwood and hardwood.
Softwood trees grow quickly and can be harvested in larger quantities at the same time. The timber is soft and light, making it easier to work with than hardwood. This is why furniture made from softwoods such as cedar and pine are usually more affordable.
Hardwood trees are stronger and usually richer in colour. They also have more beautiful grain patterns. As hardwoods are more durable, they can be used for floors, decks, doors and predominantly furniture. Because they’re so prized, they can be difficult to procure, which in turn makes them more expensive. Hardwoods include ash, oak, mahogany and, of course, teak.
Why is teak used largely by the furniture industry?
Teak is a coveted material to work with, especially in Southeast Asia. As it’s indigenous to this region, it can be obtained at a lower cost than other hardwoods native to the northern hemisphere. It also withstands the tropical climate much better than non-native timbers, which can warp and crack more easily.
Teak has a very high oil content compared to other hardwoods, which makes it more resistant to tropical weather and insects. Thanks to its resistance to moisture, it’s also commonly used as a veneer for chipboard or plywood.
How should we care for teak furniture?
After the necessary treatments and varnishing, teak is incredibly easy to maintain. Spills can be immediately wiped up, and oiling – an optional step – can be done to enhance the beauty of the wood once every few months. Teak can be cleaned with mild soapy water, and oiling only requires a few drops of oil on a soft, dry cloth.
Other precautions can be taken. Some people like to coat unvarnished furniture with a layer of beeswax, which can help to protect outdoor teak furniture from the elements. You can also use coasters to protect the wood from scalding hot cups. And we don’t recommend placing glass or plastic coverings on teak furniture, especially dining tables, as this can lead to excessive moisture build-up.
How can we ensure we’re buying teak furniture made from sustainable sources?
Ask your preferred furniture store if their factories carry any of the common certifications such as the Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), SVLK (Indonesia’s timber legality assurance system).
See Scanteak’s range of Scandinavian teak furniture at one of their 12 showrooms island wide.
6694 0173 | scanteak.com.sg
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