True teak is dark golden yellow turning dark brown or almost
black upon prolonged exposure to the air. An irregular figuring of darker
streaks or marks is quite common. The narrow sapwood is grayish or white.
The wood has a distinctive leathery smell but no appreciable taste. The
luster is dull. The timber has an oily surface when first cut that gives
a sticky feel to the hand. The grain can be a straight stripe
to an occasional mottle. The wood has a coarse texture. Teak has excellent
strength properties, which make the timber suitable for a wide range of
In general, teak works very well although it is rather hard on tools. Thin cutting edges are essential in all tool processes. Good quality steel tools perform best if the spindle
speeds are somewhat reduced. Worked edges of the wood remain sharp. Mortising and drilling operations can be done quickly and cleanly. Teak can be varnished and polished effectively and
takes nails and screws fairly well. Glue processes are best done on freshly machined or sawed surfaces because the oily nature of aged surfaces sometimes presents problems in bonding.
Teak is one of the outstanding timbers of the world due to
its valuable properties of durability, strength, weight,
workability and good appearance. It is the most useful in
ship building for decking surfaces,
while the veneer and plywood are used for paneling in fine
homes and offices. Teak is in demand as a furniture wood.
It is also used in products exposed to acids because
of its chemical resistance. Carvings and turnings frequently
are made from teak.