Why Teak

  1. What is Teak?
  2. What do the natural oils do?
  3. Where does the teak come from?
  4. Why does wood need to be dried?
  5. What is moisture content?
  6. What is the moisture content of timber used in Scanteak furniture?
  7. What is Kiln Drying?
  8. Can two pieces of teak furniture be exactly the same?
  9. Why does my teak furniture have 'eyes'?
  10. How are pieces of wood joined together?
  11. How long can Teak last?
  12. How do I maintain my Teak furniture?
  13. How do I restore the colour of Teak left outdoors?

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1. What is Teak?

Teak (Tectona), is a tropical hardwood tree native to the south and southeast of Asia, and is commonly found in the monsoon forest. They are large trees, growing to 30-40 m (150 feet) tall, and shed their leaves in the dry season. They have reddish-green leaves with rough skin, and heartwood that is brown to dark gold in color. They can live for 100 years old. Teak has the ability to bend, but not break, in the face of high winds.


2. What do the natural oils do?

The Teak tree has natural oil that is highly water resistant. Hence, it is suitable for use in exposed locations. It is durable even when not treated with oil or varnish. This oil content can protect the Teak from decay, insects, and bacteria. Therefore, it is very resistant to termite attacks. The timber is used in the manufacture of outdoor furniture, boat decks, and other articles where weather resistance is desired. It is also used for indoor flooring and as a veneer for indoor furnishings.


3. Where does the teak come from?

Of the main teak producers in the area, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Philippine, and Malaysia, Indonesia's teak is considered of the highest quality in the world. The teak in Scanteak furniture comes from teak plantations in Indonesia. Closely monitored by the Indonesian government, our teak plantations are ethically sourced, sustainable and are certified by the Rainforest Alliance.


4. Why does wood need to be dried?

Wood drying is to ensure that any shrinking is limited to the drying process. This is to keep further dimensional change in wood to a minimum. It is probably impossible to completely eliminate movement in wood. In order to minimize the changes, wood is usually dried to a moisture content that is close to the average equilibrium moisture content to the surrounding air which it will be exposed.


5. What is moisture content?

Moisture content is the percentage of moisture that remains in a piece of timber after drying.


6. What is the moisture content of timber used in Scanteak furniture?

At Scanteak, our teak wood is dried to the moisture content of 8 -12 %, which is far drier than the industry average of 12 – 15 % in Singapore. Scanteak uses a method called Kiln Drying to dry timbers.


7. What is Kiln Drying?

The process of kiln drying introduces heat to timbers. This may be directly, using natural gas and/or electricity or indirectly, through steam-heated heat exchangers. In the process, deliberate control of temperature, relative humidity and air circulation is provided to give conditions at various stages (moisture contents or times) of drying the timber to achieve effective drying.

The timber is stacked in chambers, called wood drying kilns, which are fitted with equipment for manipulation and control of the temperature and the relative humidity of the drying air and its circulation rate through the timber stack. In kiln drying as in air drying, unsaturated air is used as the drying medium. Almost all commercial timbers of the world are dried in industrial kilns.


8. Can two pieces of teak furniture be exactly the same?

Unfortunately, they cannot. While the design of the furniture may be the same, as is the case with all wood furniture, the pattern of every piece differs due to the wood grains, which comes from the tree’s growth rings. These grains/rings are to trees as fingerprints are to humans. There may be natural variations in colour, as the timber from each tree has different shades.


9. Why does my teak furniture have 'eyes'?

These are due to the knots in the original tree trunk. These are natural imperfections and do not compromise the integrity of your furniture. In fact, many exploit the patterns of these knots for artistic purposes.


10. How are pieces of wood joined together?

There are various methods of joining wood without nails or screws. Here are some examples that are commonly used in Scanteak furniture: Mortise and Tenon, Dove Lap Joint, Finger Joint (or Box Combing), Miter Joint, Scarf Joint.


11. How long can teak last?

Several decades, even up to 100 years and more.


12. How do I maintain my teak furniture?

To keep indoor teak furniture looking rich and beautiful, a thin coat of teak oil is all that’s needed. Oiling can be done about 3 times a year, with a bit of teak oil and a dry cloth. Do make sure that the furniture has been wiped down with a damp cloth and dried before oiling. 
Occasionally, you can use a mild soap solution to clean your furniture. To help protect your wood against mould, mix white vinegar and water (with a few drops of lemon juice for fragrance), and wipe your furniture down.


13. How do I restore the colour of teak left outdoors?

  1. Wash outdoor teak furniture with little soap and water to get rid of the oxidation as well as the dirt on the surface.
  2. Let the wood dry overnight.
  3. Sand the wood with fine grain sandpaper. 320 grit is recommended. Sand lightly to avoid scratching and follow the direction of the grain when sanding. Do not sand against the grain. The original color of the teak will start to return right after sanding.
  4. Use a dry cloth to wipe away any residue from the wood. The wood must be clean before applying the teak oil.
  5. For the maximum effect, use a brush lightly and evenly and apply the strokes a minimum of three times. Between coats, allow one hour to pass so that the oil can fully saturate the wood. After the oil becomes dry you should clean the surface oil off of the wood, which will not affect the color since that oil has already penetrated into the pores.
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