Teak is one of the most popular premium woods and is known for its rich golden color, beautiful grain and resistance to the elements. However, due to the high demand and limited supply, the cost of teak has become too high for many, leading to the emergence of its "wood cousin" Suar wood.
The pure elegance of teak furniture
For those who can afford it, teak wood furniture is the obvious choice based on their elegance, beauty and durability.
Real teak wood (the technical name, which most people never use, is Tectona grandis) comes from Myanmar; a country with 51 million inhabitants in Southeast Asia, formerly known as Burma. Myanmar's forests contain nearly half of the world's naturally occurring teak trees. Although teak is also grown in other parts of Southeast Asia, it is considered by many to be inferior to genuine Burmese teak.
Teak has never been cheap, and has become increasingly expensive in recent years. Government regulations in the area have led to a decrease in logging to maintain the country's ecology. However, these restrictions have also caused the price of teak furniture to rise significantly.
One of the reasons why teak is considered more valuable than other hardwoods is its organic structure. There is an abundance of natural oils and rubber locked into the tight grain of teak, far more than your average hardwood. Teak also retains these oils and rubber better after it has been treated and kiln dried. Because of these unique properties, teak has more natural weather-resistant properties than almost any other type of wood.
There is an old saying... you get what you pay for... and that saying certainly applies to teak furniture.
Remnants and recycled teak furniture
Since it can take about 80 years for a teak tree planted today to be ready to be harvested and used to make beautiful teak furniture, it is becoming increasingly difficult (and more expensive) to source new teak. This is one of the reasons why old teak wood is often reused to make new furniture.
Not only is this more practical economically and environmentally, but these beautiful pieces also have the same durability and beauty as the original teak furniture. In addition, teak wood that comes from old buildings, boats, furniture and the like has a certain historical charm, even if it gets a new lease of life as a piece of furniture.
The affordable beauty of Suar wood furniture
Suar wood furniture is also known for its beauty and durability. However, due to its affordability and durability, Suar wood is often used to create economical versions of Teak furniture. Unique to Suar are the slightly more exaggerated grain patterns that can lead to some of the most stunning pieces of eye catching Suar wood furniture .
Suar wood furniture is also more durable than Teak furniture. Suar trees, also known as Albizia Saman or Monkeypod trees, are very fast growing species, which makes sustainable cultivation possible. The Albizia Saman tree species is widespread, abundant, and not threatened with extinction.
Suar (or Albizia Saman, if you want to get technical) was originally a South American native, but has spread in several other tropical countries, including Hawaii, Latin America, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Because of the humid environment that helps Suar trees grow so strong and hardy, Suar trees must be properly kiln-dried before being processed into beautiful pieces of furniture. Suar furniture is fairly heavy but extremely strong. Properly dried Suar wood is highly resistant to decay and dry wood termites.
Teak vs Suar wood furniture: A nice choice
You really can't go wrong with either one, so the choice is yours.