This is the next installment in our “Timber Suppliers in Brisbane” educational series about various timber species. This installment is about New Guinea Teak.
New Guinea Teak is a plantation timber from Papua New Guinea. Teak is also grown on plantations in Fiji, the West Indies, the Solomon Islands, Africa and Indonesia. It grows naturally in the monsoon forests of Vietnam, India, Thailand and Myanmar.
Teak heartwood is a rich, golden brown with occasional tinges of grey or red. Teak has a straight grain but is prone to longitudinal streaks and textures ranging from smooth to coarse, thanks to a high degree of porosity in its rings. Freshly cut New Guinea Teak can vary in colour, with streaks and blotches, but they diminish with prolonged exposure to light.
Teak has a feel described as “greasy” thanks to an oleoresin which also lends New Guinea Teak a distinct aroma when freshly cut. This oleoresin makes Teak easy to work, even though it is a firm, strong, durable timber. While Teak is workable, it tends to blunt cutting edges due to a high silica content. This can be worked around by using tungsten-carbide blades.
Teak holds fasteners such as screws and nails very well. Occasionally, pre-boring can be helpful when nailing. The oleoresins tend to wreak havoc with some glues, so only freshly-dressed surfaces should be bonded. However, Teak easily accepts stains and paints, along with varnishes, waxes and polishes. Steam bending isn’t appropriate, though, and the dust from sanding Teak can irritate the skin.
Teak has great above-ground durability, rated at 40 years. It will last 25 years in the ground. It provides resistance to termites but not borers.
Teak is a favourite timber for boatbuilding for the rails, hatches, bulwarks, weather doors, decking and planking. For general construction, applications include decking, flooring, cladding, framing and fascias. Teak is also used for furniture, panelling, lining, carving and parquetry.