Do you ever wonder what makes certain wood species more popular than others? Like home decor styles, the primary reason isn’t necessarily about quality but simply about the changing winds of trends. The principle of supply and demand comes into play, promoting a shift within the industry to meet ever-changing demands, as long as the supply of raw materials holds out. Often there is some lag time as certain species increase in popularity, and sometimes the industry simply can’t keep up.
One currently trending lumber species is Teak. Once used almost exclusively within the boat-building industry, in vogue Scandinavian and minimalist looks have brought it indoors for all kinds of applications: ceilings, wall panels, flooring, and more. The consistent grain and honey brown color make Teak a highly sought-after species. However, its price point and limited supply make it inaccessible for many. But don’t worry: even if Teak is out of the question, you may still be able to achieve that modern aesthetic you desire. Simply consider a less popular species: Afromosia.
Comparing Afromosia with Teak
Originating in West Africa, Afromosia is often sold under the name “African Teak,” precisely because of its similarity to that more well-known species. Because of its silica content, Afromosia is a great choice for exterior projects. Because it’s not as water resistant as Teak, though, it’s not in high demand from boat builders like Teak is. Another dissimilarity between Afromosia and Teak is that the former species displays a gorgeous honey brown hue immediately after sawing; you don’t have to wait for dark and blotchy streaks to fade, like you do for Teak.
Because Afromosia doesn’t have the same oily texture as Teak, it can be more easily finished. With excellent stability and hardness, Afromosia can easily be milled for applications such as trim, flooring, and windows. At one point, Afromosia could be purchased for half the price of Teak, making it an excellent alternative.
Considering the Future of Afromosia
As an increasing number of former Teak customers realizes the benefits of Afromosia, this species has become listed in the CITES Appendix II. Our hope is that as Afromosia harvesting is tightly regulated, its long-term viability will be positively affected. In the meantime, though, you may notice longer lead times, increased prices, and decreased availability.
Ironically, the reason Afromosia requires protection is that it hasn’t been in demand for long. When it wasn’t considered a valuable species, it was often simply considered a byproduct of other African species, such as African Mahogany, Sapele, or Utile. Now it’s no longer being wasted, and the protection that’s come along with that makes it potentially more available in the future as a great alternative to Teak.