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Old 07-11-2007, 08:46 AM   #1
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What is the deal with teak wood? I do not get it.

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Old 07-11-2007, 09:20 AM   #2
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Do you mean "how to 'finish' it or 'treat' it"?


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Old 07-11-2007, 09:25 AM   #3
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No, Just the whoel teak wood deal. Every sales add I have ever seen that had teak would add something like "full teak". "must seel teak". "great teak wood layout" And the like.

I have seen a few sail boats with teak wood. It looked nice and such, just what is the big deal. Am I missing something?

I may be wrong, but isn't there much better wood more able for the job?
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Old 07-11-2007, 11:27 AM   #4
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Teak is a little like gold. It conjures up romantic (in a ships way) warm feelings. There is no doubt that teak is one of the great timbers both for boats and furniture. It has a great colour and works well however it will dull tool edges pretty quick. It is notoriously difficult to glue due to its natural oils so if you are working with it be warned. Its the oily nature that makes it so good in boats and resistant to rot. One thing I will say is that the Rainforests where teak grows are dwindling fast. I'm a cabinetmaker by trade and served my apprenticeship making fine teak furniture. However I now use strictly local recycled timbers. I am replacing the toerails on my boat and will be using a timber called Crows Ash sometimes referred to as Australian Teak which has similar properties. I got it from a demolition site where it had been used as roofing timbers. Ive been to the Rainforests of Indonesia and didn't like what I saw. Teak I love it but its time to leave it in the ground IMO.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:35 PM   #5
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The natural oils that Triton mentioned make it suitable for use in exposed locations, where it is durable even when not treated with oil or varnish. Teak is also very resistant to the attack of termites.

It works well, and looks nice. It is a supply and demand thing. People desire it and the supply is dwindling, making it expensive and perhaps setting the gold standard in lumber.

An alternative wood is Mahogany, but......

Mahogany has a generally straight grain and is usually free of voids and pockets. It has a reddish brown color which darkens over time, and displays a beautiful reddish sheen when polished. It has excellent workability, and is very durable and slow to rot. These properties make it a favorable wood for boat making, as tradition has shown, as well as for making furniture and upholstery, (Chippendale), musical instruments, and other durable objects.

The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored wood, originally the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban Mahogany. It was later used also for the wood of Swietenia macrophylla, which is closely related, and known as Honduras Mahogany. Today, all species of Swietenia are listed by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and are therefore protected.

Because of dwindling forests, today one can buy all sorts of composite lumber alternatives, (plastic, foam, foam core) much of it derived from petroleum. People want wood, that is authentic, looks nice, it looks rich. Most people do not want plastic that sort of looks like wood, but settle on it because of price.
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Old 07-11-2007, 05:21 PM   #6
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Yeah, that teak wood...who needs it.

If you look at my blog, I think you'll see what a teak Jones will cost you.
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Old 07-11-2007, 06:12 PM   #7
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Wood! Did somebody mention lumber?

I was just working on my home project, and thought of my last trip to the lumber yard. I walked in there with my tape measure on my belt, just inspecting their inventory, when this clerk ask if he could help me.

"Sure" I said, and ask, "How long is your lumber?"

He ask, "Well, how long do you want it?"

To which I replied, "Well I want it a looong time; I'm building a house."

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Old 07-12-2007, 04:30 AM   #8
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Aloha daytrader,

The 'deal' with teak has to do with its many wonderful characteristics, many or most of which are simply unequaled by any other wood. Qualities such as: 1) virtually impervious to attack by various fungi (fungus + warm, dark, moist places = rot), and 2) a teak deck, left untreated will age with a beautiful silver-like patina, but most importantly, provide a wonderful skid proof/resistant footing, irrespective of being wet or dry. Just MHO, but I don't think you'll find a safer, friendlier (to bare knees and feet), or more beautiful deck anywhere. Spend a little time on a wet, pitching GRP or steel deck, and then repeat, standing on a teak deck... a whole different world!

Having said that, teak, especially in a tropical environment does require maintenance, which personally I hate. I'd much rather be sailing than working on my boat. As such, I have replaced most of the teak topsides (windlass and winch pads, handrails, eyebrows, etc.) with stainless steel, and used DuraBak for the non-skid deck areas. It works well for me!

All the best to you.

John K.
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