Often referred to as the King of Hardwood, teak is without a doubt one of the best woods available in the world. This is especially true when it comes to furniture manufacturing. Teak is a wood that is not only boasted on for its beautiful grains and bright hue, but it offers a type of resiliency that most woods couldn’t even dream of standing up to. In fact, giving its inability to crack, warp, rot, or corrode, a good teak root coffee table or a teak root dining table investment could be the last coffee table that you’ll ever need to buy. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? It’s true, but this doesn’t mean that buying a teak table won’t come without its fair share of difficulties. Given its immense popularity coupled with its price tag and unique resiliency, there are a lot of manufacturers that will try to pass lesser material off as teak. This is why it pays to know how to spot real teak wood.
Know The Physical Characteristics
The first thing that you need to know if that there will be no specific color of teak wood, so identification this way will be out of the question. This is unfortunate, but the color of teak wood can vary depending on the species of tree that it comes from as well as which part of the tree that it comes from. That doesn’t mean that teak wood doesn’t offer a range of specific colors because that it does. Colors can range anywhere from dark golden-brown to yellowish-white. Knowing the exact type of teak you’re looking for can be extremely handy when you are making a purchase.
The outer layer of the tree is known as the sapwood and this is the part that will be yellowish in color. While it might provide a beautiful and unique yellowish color, it will offer a less than resilient profile. And, this is because this section of the tree has a higher moisture content, therefore making the wood weaker and more yellow than the rest of the tree.
The core of the tree is known as the heartwood and its colors can range from golden brown to darker brown. This wood is extremely hard, strong, more expensive, and usually more sought-after as opposed to sapwood.
Pay Close Attention To Stains
It is good to be able to identify teak wood by color, but what about when stain comes in to play? You’d be surprised at just how many manufacturers out there stain teak wood. And, when they do this it masks the original color of the wood. If you notice that the piece that you are interested in has a stain coating, you’ll have to come up with another way to identify the type of wood that you are dealing with. The best place to start is with age. Inquire about the age of the wood to ensure that you get the type of wood you want. Why is this important? Teak wood gets darker with age.
Consider The Grain Of The Piece
The grain is also something that you’ll want to pay close attention to when trying to identify natural and authentic teak wood. The grain of a teak wood tree is generally straight. It will be almost as if you are looking at straight streaks or lines. These streaks and lines should also be a much darker color than that of the rest of the wood. All that being said, it is also important to know that there are some woodcuts of teak that can appear somewhat wavy. It will not be so wavy that it will look curly, but it will be just slightly wavy. If the wood grain doesn’t look straight or at least mostly straight, you’ll want to start questioning the piece. It might be possible that its fake or the manufacturer is trying to pass it off as a fake.
A Leather-Like Smell
If you look up any information on teak, you’ll find that it is an extremely oily wood. It is the oil that this tree naturally produces that gives it a lot of its unique properties. In addition to this, the oil helps the tree resist disease. However, it is this oil that also makes the wood stand out in a different way. And, this is the smell. The natural oil produced by the tree gives off a leather-like scent. This is one of the ways that you can tell if you are actually dealing with teak or not.
Check The Weight
Another great way to identify teak is by weight. You already know that teak is extremely resilient and durable. It is these properties that make it hefty in weight. It is hard to say how much the piece should weight given the overall size and design of the table, but you can expect teak wood to have some heft to it. If you pick the table up, you should know that you have grabbed a hold of something sturdy. Despite this, it is still somewhat dense. Lifting the piece should feel as if you are lifting something heavier than a piece of particleboard. If you lift the piece and it feels light and porous, chances are you are not dealing with real, natural teak.
Creating A Master Checklist
Above are all the characteristics of teak wood. It might not seem like a lot of information, but there is a lot there and some can easily be overlooked or forgotten. If you are going to buy a natural, authentic piece of teak wood furniture, you are going to pay a hefty price for it. Given this, you’ll want to make sure that you are actually getting what you are paying for. Some of the very best ways to do this are by making sure that the piece adheres to all the standards listed here. There might be some exceptions that you’ll run into, but these should be extremely rare, far, and few in between. If your piece doesn’t match these standards, you are likely dealing with a fake.
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