It’s difficult to plan with the future of the Teak market in doubt. Plantation Teak is gaining popularity as a result of the frequent restrictions on timber exports from Myanmar. For as long as we can lawfully import this highly renowned wood, we at J Gibson McIlvain Lumber have resolved to continue to supply only real Burmese Teak.
Despite the fact that plantation Teak is still Tectona grandis, its properties differ from those of old growth Teak due to soil chemistry in a different geographic area. The most notable outcome is a lower amount of silica, which is a key component of this species’ weather resilience. Furthermore, both the color and straightness of grain are affected by soil chemistry and climate.
Teak’s vertical grain and golden hue aren’t the only features that make it attractive with mariners, but they are important ones. Plantation Teak has lacked the uniform hue of old growth Teak in much of what we’ve observed. Pin knots also disrupt grain flow, which has far-reaching consequences.
These knots retain water, reducing Teak’s natural weather resistance. Because the naturally formed forest canopy from older, taller trees precludes the possibility of lower branches, old growth Teak does not have these issues. However, in a plantation, the rapid growth rate combined with the lack of forest canopy allows for significantly more lower branches, resulting in the damaging pin knots.
J. Gibson McIlvain will continue to offer FEQ old growth Burmese Teak to our customers, particularly those in the boat-building industry, for as long as possible. All of our Teak comes from mills that are environmentally and legally conscious. At the same time, we recognize that the volatile Teak market, as well as other trade sanctions, are complicating the market by bringing in new competitors.
If you decide to hunt for Teak elsewhere, you’ll need to carefully consider your options. In particular, you’ll want to be sure you can purchase previously dried boards (for external applications) and can get the sizes you require. We’d also advise buying from an authorized importer, because you could be held liable for any supply chain issues. You’ll also want to go with a company that has a track record of providing high-quality lumber.
We wish that plantation Teak had the same features as Burmese Teak because of the market’s continued volatility and complexity, but it doesn’t. Afromosia, often known as “African Teak,” is a better option to seriously consider. Its silica content helps it rival the weather-resistant features of Burmese Teak, and its muted hue makes it resemble oxidized Teak.
J. Gibson McIlvain can deliver your Burmese Teak or Afromosia order directly to your job site throughout the United States, as well as any other hardwood, softwood, millwork, or plywood products you require.