Teak Oil

Teak is a kind of hardwood tree from the southern and southeastern portion of Asia. While there are actually three different species of teak, the most common – conveniently called Common Teak – is almost always the variety used for construction and crafting. What makes teak so special, and useful for construction and carpentry purposes, is the unique teak oil contained in the wood.

Teak oil offers a variety of useful and unique attributes and protections to its wood. First and most famously, teak oil acts as a waterproofing agent. With the protection of teak oil, an object made of teak does not have to be treated or proofed to be left out in the weather or any other moist or wet environment. Teak items can be left outside in rain, sun, and show without fear of damage. Historically, south Asian people even used the wood to make nautical equipment such as boats and docks because the teak oil offered such fine protection against water. Teak oil also protects its wood from other weathering affects, such as sun and wind. Because of this, teak has become a very popular material for outdoor and patio furniture.

Teak oil also provides an odd stylistic attribute to its wood. As the wood ages, either naturally in trees, in pieces of furniture and flooring, or even through exposure and weathering, the oil in the wood will actually change with the conditions. Over time this creates a shift in the color of the wood. The brown lightens, taking on a silvery gray patina, almost like aged bronze. This coloring is quite beautiful, and is sometimes more highly prized that the standard look of teak. Collectors have even focused on a particular make and style of furniture affected by this aged teak oil. Made in the 1950’s and 60’s, this style has come to be known as Dutch Modernism, and is highly collectable today.

Teak oil remains in the wood long after the tree has stopped growing, so anything made from teak retains the attributes and protections offered by the oils for years, even decades. Teak oil makes the wood almost immune to age, so be sure that any teak pieces you buy you’ll like, not only tomorrow or next year, but for the next twenty years, because it will last that long. Teak oil also makes the wood very easy to clean; all you need is a little soap and water. For extreme stains such as wine, there are cleaners that work with the teak oil in the item to remove the stain.

For those shopping for true teak items, let me give a word of caution: some other varieties of wood are mistakenly being advertised as “teak” items. These items, whether furniture or flooring or anything else, are not always made of true teak and so they do not have the protective oils in the wood. Many types of these woods offer similar types of protection to different degrees, but none are as efficient and proven as true teak. Teak oil can only be found in true teak wood, so if you want the weathering and strengthening protection offered by teak oil, not to mention the unique coloring it gives as it ages, you have to verify that a piece in question is made of true teak. If you want to be absolutely certain of the wood you buy, then you can use the trees real name, Tectona Grandis. Also, keeping mind that true teak is almost exclusively harvested in southern Asia. If the teak you are considering buying is from another area, consider that the wood may not be genuine. Tectona Grandis is called Common Teak as well, and you can use this name when talking with reputable dealers. By buying a piece of furniture or flooring made of true teak wood, you ensure that you will benefit from the remarkable attributes of teak oil.

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