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The virtues of teak

The virtues of teak

Mankind’s relationship with teak began in around 2000 BC in tropical Asia, where the wood was used to build temples and palaces. Teak’s solidity and resistance to torrential rains during the monsoon seasons naturally made it highly sought-after by architects of the period.

Rain, teak’s beauty lotion

Rain, teak’s beauty lotion

Most teak benches fabricated by Tectona over the last four decades have not moved; they remain as robust as ever, including those in public venues with a high level of use. The only external sign of their age is the silver-grey patina arising from the protective oil; not only does the patina make the benches weather-resistant but it lends a certain grace and beauty.

A watery tale

A watery tale

More than four millennia later, in the 18th century, shipbuilding yards of the British Navy were constructing the decks of their vessels from teak. This wonder material was impervious to sea water and imparted exceptional longevity to these decks. A century later, at the end of their sea life, the vessels were dismantled and their teak reused by woodworkers to fabricate outdoor furniture, including the famous benches which to this day welcome passers-by in parks and public gardens on the other side of the Channel.

Designed to last

Designed to last

Teak is indigenous to humid tropical forests, where the prevailing conditions forced it to adapt by developing exceptional resistance to water and the passage of time. It is composed of straight rigid fibres that are particularly closely grained, ideal for cabinetmaking; above all though, the fibres secrete a protective oil or oleoresin that renders the wood rot-proof and impervious to water, insects and rust. The end result of these adaptations is an attractive tree whose vertical cylindrical trunk can be cut in entire sections, which are put to good use by Tectona in particular.

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