When it comes to choosing teak, you have two choices. Finished or natural. Teak furniture manufacturers are starting to have custom finishes available, and they are quite complementary to all types of decor. You may discover that you prefer to leave it natural once you learn about how teak is manufactured, and what makes it so distinctive. Environmental concerns may be right at the top of your list when it comes to choosing teak for your home.
Teak is a very durable wood. It has proven that it can last over 100 years with care. Many choose to purchase teak furniture because they know that it will last for generations. The unfinished wood has a reputation for holding its own even outdoors. Learning about how it is manufactured may generate respect for the wood in its natural state, and you may just decide to leave it the way nature grew it.
Teak is a hardwood. It thrives in dry, hilly areas in Southeast Asia, though many think that it comes from the tropical forests. The popularity of teak has risen faster than its manufacturers can supply it. So governmental controls exist to protect the luxury wood from over harvesting. Most furniture made of teak these days comes from teak tree farms. The countries that grow it truly wish to preserve it as a sustainable resource because of the social and economic value it brings to these places. Teak actually is energy efficient in its manufacturing process, and this helps local economies thrive.
When a finished piece of furniture is discarded, the chemicals in the stain and finishes leach into the ground as it decays. But unfinished teak will decay naturally and not harm the earth at all. Manufacturers who have been creating teak furniture for years know this, and are pleased that their products come from the earth, sustain the earth, and give back to it.
All teak scraps are generally used for something, no matter how small. Some will be used for parquet floors. Others will be used to fuel the kiln drying process for more teak products. But nothing goes to waste during manufacturing.
Teak trees do not mature until nearly 40 years have passed. Growers must take care to harvest mature trees only. They select trees carefully, and then cut the trees to drain them of excess water. The special cutting technique allows the water to drain slowly without harming the wood.
Once the teak trees are drained, they must be dried very slowly in a kiln. The slow and steady heat in the kiln allows the wood to dry very slowly over several months. Over time, the wood dries, and it compacts into very dense layers of wood. The dense, dry wood is rock hard and can withstand being in the weather and attacks from insects like termites.
High quality teak furniture always uses joinery known as mortise and tenon. The joints are carefully glued together with waterproof adhesive designed to last a lifetime. The joints are crafted so carefully, that you can hardly notice them at all.
Teak tree farms are protected by the countries that have them. Their governments work to protect the tree farms so that their people can work and the economy will be supported. Tree farms ensure that more trees are planted than are felled each year. Governing the use and cultivation of teak make certain that teak will be available long into the future.
Once you realize how unique teak really is, you may decide to leave it unfinished. It certainly is beautiful as is. If you support the environment, then you may wish to support natural teak. But, having it custom finished is always an option open to you. The pieces last for generations, so the projected damage to landfills may not be an issue. Knowing more about teak will help you decide.
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