The world-wide reputation of Thai teak is based on the combination of many desirable properties present in it: its durability and high resistance todecay; its uncommon ability to hold its shape under varying moisture conditions; its moderate hardness which combined with strength; its being easy to work with tools; its decorative properties; its lightness.
Perhaps, the most valuable asset of teak lies with the fact that it contains a resin or oil which makes it almost immune to the attack of white ants and deteriorating fungi. While the timber in the standing tree is subject to decay and various other defects, once converted, it is practically imperishable inform of lumber, veneer, plywood, flooring, or other manufactured products. Also as the result of its oily substance, it is not affected by the ordinary acids and when placed in contact with iron. It is not stain by rust. These specialqualities of teak display in no other known wood, and certainly are responsible for its being desirable for many specific purposes, especially in connection with boat and ship building, decking, and flooring.
Teak lumber and veneer contract and expand to a surprisingly small degree;the danger of drying cheeks is thereby greatly reduced. This undoubtedly is the result of the practice of partial seasoning prior to felling of the tree by mean of girdling. Teak veneer is tough and strong and does not crush or benteasily, and without being springy and is resistance to splitting. And since the oily matter in the wood is evenly distributed, the veneer dries flat and easy to lay.
Another unusual feature of teak, which is not commonly known, is remarkableability of taking dye. It has been said that pieces of teakwood furniture dyed more than a thousand years ago are today as black as the day they were dyed.Perhaps, it was this special quality of teak that all early Oriental furniture made of teak were invariably dyed ebony black. This common practice of early Oriental artisans has led the Westerners to believe that the true color of teak is black. The majority of Americans has not had the opportunity to learn of its natural color, although they have long been familiar with the name of teak.
Teak’s scientific name in Tectona grandis its local Thai name is ‘Sak’. To most Thais, there is one only kind of teak but experts classify teak in to five different type according to the color and texture of wood:
1. Saktong (Golden Teak)
A large percentage (75%) of Thai teak is comprisedof this most desirable variety. It is very beautiful with a fine-grain wood in a yellow gold color. It grows in a suitable environment.
2. Sak Kee Kwai (Buffalo Dung Teak)
An infrequently found variety (10%),It is slightlydarker than Sak tong and Its wood is a bit harder. Sak Kee Kwai grows naturally on poor soil in the driest of teak forest.
3. Sak Yuak (White Teak)
The percentage is low (10%). Its shade is a lightercream-yellow color, and its wood seem to be softer compared with Sak Tong. SakYuak grows naturally near the streams and in humid area. Has a thick sapwood.
4. Sak Kai (Oily Teak)
This variety has acquired its name from the wood’s oily or glossy texture, which may be cause by chemical substances in the soil. Sak Kai is rare with its share constituting only 5% of total production.
5. Sak Lai Dam (Black Striped Teak)
Sak Lai Dam is the most beautiful variety of teak thanks to the black(or dark violet) stripes between the annual rings. The stripes may be because by chemical or mineral deposits in the ground. Sak Lai Dam is in great demand for making veneer slices for plywood and thus it fetches the highest price paid for teak. The percentage of total teak of Sak Lai Dam is about 10%Black stripes can also sometimes occur in the other varieties (1-4) of Teak.