Teak is native to the islands of Indonesia, where it has long been regarded as a remarkably useful and versatile wood. It is, indeed, pretty remarkable: it's one of the strongest woods in the world, as well as one of the most resistant to rot, fungi and mildew. There are plenty of places in Indonesia where as a result almost everything has been built from it for centuries; homes and other buildings, boats and various fishing-related apparatus, railway cars, even shipping containers. As time moves on a lot of these structures are being replaced by ones made of metal, which means that huge quantities of reclaimed teak are now coming out of Indonesia.
Why Reclaimed Teak?
There are plenty of excellent reasons to choose reclaimed teak furniture:
Making Sure You Get The Real Deal
With reclaimed teak furniture experiencing such a surge in popularity, there are inevitably ripoffs and knockoffs appearing all over the market. There are two main things to look out for when you're searching for reclaimed teak furniture:
Wood that isn't reclaimed. It's true that Grade A teak is generally cheaper when it's reclaimed--but it's still more expensive than commercially produced teak of grades B and C. This means that there are a few manufacturers out there selling cheap, new teak and trying to pass it off as reclaimed. Look out for phrases like "reclaimed look" and "recycled style", and don't hesitate to ask where the wood was sourced from before you buy.
Wood that isn't teak. There are several woods that look quite a lot like teak to the uninitiated, and the one you'll most commonly find being used in "teak" furniture is nyatoh. When correctly treated, the two woods can indeed look very similar--for a while. Over time, nyatoh will prove itself to be much weaker and far less resistant to damp, mildew and termites than its cousin. It's a great deal more prone to bending, warping and splitting, too. Before you buy, double-check that your teak really is teak--you'll thank yourself for it in years to come.
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