Grades of Teak Furniture
Teak furniture is made from teak
wood, and is manufactured by several methods. It is important to
understand the grades of wood, the process for the wood, and the
Teak Wood is graded by appearance, knots (and their location) and by the
kind of wood. There are three main grades in teak wood.
Grade A Teak wood is
produced from the center of the tree (commonly known as the 'heart'
wood). A grade A piece of teak will be produced from a tree from
30-50 years of age.
characteristics: close grain, warm/honey color, oil rich and knot
free. No streaks of white, no knots on top side, very few (live
knots only – where there is discoloration but no fill – on the
underside) knots, and these knots have to be less than 0.5 inch in
diameter, and present only once in every 3-4 linear feet. This kind
of wood is used in machine made teak furniture, since it is risky
for the manufacturer to allow a cottage industry person to play with
expensive, high quality wood and expect mediocre to bad results.
Grade B Teak wood has a
warm color with occasional streaks of black and some splotches and
discoloration. Grade B teak wood has more allowance for knots per
linear feet. Grade B teak wood is sometimes used in “semi machine
made” product. Semi Machine Made implies that personnel use
electric saws to cut the wood, but there is no concept of a jig and
fixture to make all the slats the same size or make the process
repeatable. Semi Machine made product does not allow the end
consumer the luxury of finding a replacement part, since all parts
are unique and made to fit a specific piece. Semi machine made also
means that the tenons “float” in the mortices (the joint is not
exact, and there are gaps). This is usually filled with epoxy, and
generally the furniture comes completely assembled, because the end
customer would not tolerate the sloppiness.
Grade C Teak Wood has a
dark color in places, mixed with a very white color in places. The
white is the young sapwood. There is an allowance for dead knots
(where the knot was weak, has been gouged out and filled with epoxy
or putty) These knots may be on the top side or the bottom side.
Grade C teak wood is most often used in “hand crafted” outdoor
teak furniture. This is completely outsourced to the village
industry and follows no process for drying and manufacture. Hand
crafted also means that the tenons “float” in the mortices (the
joint is not exact, and there are gaps). This is usually filled with
epoxy, and generally the furniture comes completely assembled.
In summary – Grade A teak wood will most likely be machine made. Grade
B and C will most likely be “semi machine made” or “hand
Machine made makes the parts
precise and interoperable. This implies that if a part on your chair
or table breaks, you can get a like replacement.
Semi Machine made furniture is
a cheaper method of manufacture, more prone to error, and every
piece is unique, with little possibility of replacing parts exactly
“Hand Made” – means
everything in that piece of furniture was made without jigs and
fixtures, and that there is a wide variation between items, plus the
incidence and danger of warping (mainly in the legs).
So, in conclusion – Grade A
teak combined with Machine made production and kiln drying (not air
drying) offers the best furniture.