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General Description
Tree & Wood Descriptions for: Tectona grandis

Product Sources

Some materials (semi-finished or finished products) from this species are reported to be available from environmentally responsible or sustainably managed sources.

Although it is higher in price than most other imports, Teak is reported to be available in veneer and lumber forms. Its consumption on the United States market is reported to be rather tiny compared to other domestic hardwoods. The wood is reported to be offered as an expensive option by many US shipbuilders, with most imports originating from Burma, which is reported to be the source of Teak with superior and the most desirable qualities. Good quality teak is reported to be difficult to acquire, and imports are usually in transit for about two months. Although US importers usually have some in stock, orders for the timber are reported to be slow to fill and can take up to a year.

The following species in the database have been suggested as potential substitutes for Teak:

Afrormosia (Pericopsis elata )

Kindal (Terminalia paniculata )

Iroko (Chlorophora excelsa , C. regia )

Freijo (Cordia goeldiana ) for shipbuilding

Itauba (Mezilaurus navalium )

The following species in the database are reported to be similar in properties to Teak:

Courbaril (Hymanaea courbaril )

Andaman padauk (Pterocarpus dalbergioides )

Yellow sanders (Buchenavia capitata )

Indian white cedar (Dysoxylum malabaricum )

- stiffness only

The following species is reported to be superior in strength properties to Teak:

Burma padauk (Pterocarpus macrocarpus )

Tree Data

Teak trees are reported to attain heights of 130 to 150 feet (39 to 45 m) under favorable conditions. Stems are reported to be often clear of branches to 80 to 90 feet (24 to 27 m) high. Trunk diameters are reported to be often from 36 to 60 inches (90 to 150 cm), and older trees are typically fluted and buttressed. Plantation trees are reported to grow to heights of 150 feet (45 m), and can be ready for harvesting after only 60 years. Teak logs are reported to be very heavy, and are rather difficult to transport. Standing trees are sometimes girdled and left to stand for two to eight years before they are harvested. This practice is reported to allow moisture in the tree to dissipate, and hence make the logs less heavy and easier to transport.

Sapwood Color

The clearly demarcated sapwood is white to pale yellow in color.

Heartwood Color

The heartwood in its purest form, is a uniform dark golden-brown, without markings. But most other heartwood found in this species is dark golden yellow, which turns into rich brown with darker, chocolate-brown markings upon exposure. There is moderate to high color variation between boards. Often very variable in color when freshly machined showing blotches and streaks of various shades. After exposure to light the wood will tone down to the golden-brown shade.


The grain is generally straight, but occasionally wavy.


Texture is coarse and uneven. The wood is somewhat greasy and may contain white shiny deposits.


Wood surfaces are dull, and the material is reported to have an oily feel.


Freshly-milled wood is reported to have an odor similar to that of leather, but there is no distinctive taste.

Movement in Service

Seasoned wood is reported to have very good dimensional stability, and retains its shape well after manufacture.

Natural Durability

Natural resistance to attack by decay fungi and termites is reported to be very high in the heartwood, and teak's resinous oil is reported to act as a natural insect repellant. The sapwood is susceptible to attack by powder-post beetles.

Resistance to Impregnation

The heartwood is reported to be extremely resistant to preservative treatment. The sapwood also has low permeability, but the wood has a high natural resistance to decay which tends to offset its poor response to preservative treatment.

Resistance to Chemicals

The timber is reported to be resistant to water and numerous chemical reagents, including acids, and will not cause rust or corrosion when it comes in contact with metals.

Toxic Constituents

Sawdust from machining operations is reported to cause skin irritation in some individuals.

Silica Content

The timber is siliceous. Amount is reported to vary, but may be up to 1.4% (of ovendry weight). Silica level of 0.05% is considered to be enough to affect the machining properties of wood.