Facts About Burma Teak
Teak is the world's most valuable and
versatile hardwood. The rare beauty of teak, its rich
golden brown luster, decorative grain and unique
properties of strength and resistance to wear have made
it the best wood for marine use.
Teak has been prized by the shipbuilding industry for
centuries. Teak has been used on aircraft carriers,
tall-mast graceful clipper ships, cruise ships, refined
yachts, dinghies as well as rugged workboats. Exterior
teak decks are valued because teak is the only wood that
withstands the harsh effects of sea water and broiling
sun and does not split, crack or warp.
The decks of
the Titanic were covered with teak and the wood is as
good today as the fateful night in 1912, when she sank.
Sunken logs recovered from the Rangoon River in Burma,
under water for more than 150 years, were as durable as
the day the tree was felled.
ideal In boat interiors where there is high humidity,
for doors, hatches and cabinetry because it does not
warp, twist or expand which could make opening doors and
drawers impossible. Unlike most woods, teak does not
crack when in contact with water because of natural oils
and remains stable even under months in the hot sun or
submersed in ocean waters.
develops a unique non-skid property underfoot, even when
wet due to a high silica (sand) content giving traction
when walking on a wet teak deck. Teak needs no paint or
varnish and over time will develop a silver gray patina.
Snow storms, monsoon rains, tropical heat and even
scorching desert conditions do not diminish the strength
of teak. Teak has natural resins called techno quinines
that repel termites, marine borers and resist rot.
Teak is a
precious resource and only four countries in the world
have natural teak forests; Burma, Thailand, Laos and
India. Thailand once had 35 million acres of natural
teak forests but has now been reduced to a few thousand
acres. Felling of teak trees in Thailand has been banned
since 1982 and forests are tightly controlled. Teak is
probably the best-protected commercial species in the
world. Elephants are still being used extensively to
extract teak because of their low impact upon the
environment. Burma (renamed Myanmar) now exports 80% of
the world's natural teak supply.
Teak is not
a tropical rainforest species and grows sparsely in
mixed deciduous forests. In its natural environment
there are only 1 to 5 trees per acre in the best growing
areas. Burma established plantations in 1856 with some
very farsighted foresters who saw the need to treasure
trees for future generations. Teak seeds from Burma have
been used to start plantations in Africa and Central
other regions of the world cannot match true Burma Teak.
Varying climatic conditions, topography, soil type,
drainage, elevation, rainfall, length of dry season and
professional management result in vast differences in
quality, hardness, texture and coloration. While
plantation wood is suitable for parquet flooring, garden
furniture and other small moldings, it is generally not
suitable for marine use.
Due to the
high price many yacht builders have tried to replace
teak with oak, ash, maple, mahogany or cherry. Others
have tried to promote substitutes species such as
Afromosia as "African Teak". These
woods may be suitable for various applications but only
Burma Teak is indispensable on a boat. Burma Teak is
truly a gift of nature for the marine industry.