Author Topic: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves  (Read 1768 times)

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Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 408
Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« on: August 22, 2018, 12:01 AM »
It’s enough to make a grown man cry.  Teak appears to disappearing from shelves at your local lumber yards, plywood shops, and hardwood lumber resellers.

Back in 2014 it was relatively easy to find teak hardwood for your outdoor projects.  Over the past for years it’s becoming very scare, and hard to come-by.  It’s very sad.  I often preferred teak over clear cedar for outdoor furniture projects.  It was easier to apply teak wood dyes to teak vs cedar, teak doesn’t split easy like cedar and marine varnishes generally last longer on teak vs cedar. 

Teak is really a go-to hardwood for creating highly durable outdoor furniture without coughing up a pretty penny for Mahogany.   

It’s very sad to see teak becoming so scarce.  Does anyone know what causing the Teak to disappear from store shelves?  There doesn’t seem to be much on Google. 
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Offline Svar

  • Posts: 1422
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2018, 12:34 AM »
Teak is really a go-to hardwood for creating highly durable outdoor furniture without coughing up a pretty penny for Mahogany.   
Where I live furniture grade teak is 3 times more expensive than mahogany. Are you talking about genuine teak?

what causing the Teak to disappear from store shelves?
Woodworkers.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 12:47 AM by Svar »

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4835
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2018, 12:53 AM »
I’m with Svar on this one...within the last several years teak has become 2-3 times the price of mahogany. I was flat out surprised when I needed to purchase a small piece for a repair.

As an example, a 4/4 board 2” wide by 36” long was $32. If I were building a traditionally sized teak table in the 6-8’ range, the material alone would be in $3000-$4000 range.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 01:08 AM by Cheese »

Offline Roseland

  • Posts: 568
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2018, 03:19 AM »
Does anyone have experience with Accoya for outdoor furniture?

Andrew
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Offline bruegf

  • Posts: 794
  • Michigan
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2018, 07:25 AM »
I have several hundred board feet of real (burmese) teak, mostly 1x2 and 2x2 by 4' and 5' long that I bought many, many years ago for a boat project that I never started.  I'd be willing to part with most of it if anyone is interested.

Fred
Fred

Offline ElectricFeet

  • Posts: 62
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2018, 07:42 AM »
...
It’s very sad to see teak becoming so scarce.  Does anyone know what causing the Teak to disappear from store shelves?  There doesn’t seem to be much on Google.
Some countries ban raw wood exports of teak now and only allow it to be exported in a worked form. The thinking goes “why should we allow other countries to strip our natural resources and make profits from the finished goods if we can make those profits ourselves?”

This was a response I got from a chamber of commerce a few years ago when I was doing some research for a friend who sells teak chairs, which are imported by another company. He was trying to find a source of teak in Indonesia who could send raw wood for him to make the chairs himself, but due to export restrictions, he had instead to find someone who would manufacture the chairs there.

This may not be the case in your country, of course, depending on trade agreements, but it’s possibly the reason.

Offline Untidy Shop

  • Posts: 2658
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2018, 07:58 AM »
It's a rainforest timber which is increasingly becoming rare due to crack downs on illegal deforestation, increased national parks, export quotas and world wide timber stewardship regs and guidelines.

https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/government-orders-cut-teak-production-bans-private-timber-operations.html

And -

https://forestlegality.org/content/logging-and-export-bans

http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5023e.pdf

https://www.thedollarbusiness.com/magazine/teakwood-all-hail-the-king-of-hardwoods/11308



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Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 408
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2018, 08:38 AM »
Teak is really a go-to hardwood for creating highly durable outdoor furniture without coughing up a pretty penny for Mahogany.   
Where I live furniture grade teak is 3 times more expensive than mahogany. Are you talking about genuine teak?

what causing the Teak to disappear from store shelves?
Woodworkers.

I’m talking about genuine Teak.  I would think the ridiculous price per a board foot is playing a role in the disappearance of Teak from store shelves.  I was looking online, Teak prices are just insane. 

It’s too bad there’s so much politics involved.  Most of the damage done to the Teak forest wasn’t done by wood workers. Most of the deforestation was done by locals for use in houses and clearing for farmland. 
 
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Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 151
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2018, 10:08 AM »

I’m talking about genuine Teak.  I would think the ridiculous price per a board foot is playing a role in the disappearance of Teak from store shelves.  I was looking online, Teak prices are just insane. 

It’s too bad there’s so much politics involved.  Most of the damage done to the Teak forest wasn’t done by wood workers. Most of the deforestation was done by locals for use in houses and clearing for farmland.

No matter how you slice it, it comes down to environmental concerns.  Folks hate seeing rainforest destroyed for various things and want it stopped,  they then go and buy stuff using the same wood from those rainforest and don't connect the dots.

Wood is one of those things that should try to be more local.  Cutting down trees on the other side of the world and shipping them in crazy.  It makes sense for countries to put limits on sending out raw material like that.  Straight up logs get shipped from the US and Canada to china, get turned into furniture and then sent back for sales.  Thats something that makes no sense. 

So while folks may want these materials, you can't really complain if countries are trying to protect their resources or the environment.   

Local procurement/disposal of stuff should be what everyone wants.  It makes people make better decisions and more balanced ones.  Use less stuff, throw away less stuff.  You can't ignore the problems by sending it away.   It's to easy for people to never want to see a single tree cut down where they live, yet at the same time go building their home and the stuff in it out of tons of wood that came from someplace else.   If they want wood stuff, and it has to come from more local places, they will take a more balanced approach to stances.

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 781
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2018, 10:19 AM »
While there is nothing quite like teak, there are some good alternatives out there that I would prefer to western red cedar.

Cumaru
Ipe
Massaranduba
Purpleheart
Port Orford Cedar

Of those, Cumaru and Ipe are probably the best looking when finished.  Ipe dulls blades due to high silica content, but if I were making a nice table or a garden bench, that's what I'd choose, and just amortize a saw blade into the cost.

Massaranduba (Brasilian Redwood) is not oily, but it has a sap like a rubber or gum tree that provides natural protection against moisture.  The gum makes it almost impossible to glue and hard to finish - it's hard to protect the original redwood-like color.  I'd buy Massaranduba decking for an adirondeck chair that I was screwing together - it holds screws very well.

Purpleheart is good if you want the silvery weathered look rather than the original color.

Port Orford cedar is in a class with sandalwood for smelling good.  If you are looking for something in a semi-protected, moist place, try it.

----------------------------------

On another note, I don't think that any of the serious deforestation that has happened is due to woodworkers who are hobbyists or small custom shops.  Large commercial furniture makers, architectural woodwork/flooring/decking, ship building, and so on who are on the high end are another matter.  Local use of hardwoods is overstated (most people know which trees are worth something overseas, and don't consume it locally - certainly true in the few places I've been), but clearing land for farming is a big deal, and export controls are playing a bigger role also.

On the other hand, many commercially important trees are now being grown on plantations.  Teak is one of those trees, but I'd be willing to bet that small shops will not see that wood - it is probably already contracted out to big buyers.  Weyerhauser has lyptus plantations in South America.  I've used plantation lyptus before in projects, and I like it.  Unfortunately, teak trees take much longer than lyptus to mature, and some trees like dalbergia rosewoods take a hundred years or more to mature to the point where there is enough commercially valuable wood to justify growing the tree.  Overall, though, I think properly managed plantations (e.g. long term, not single species) and other managed growing programs are the key to preserving quality exotic woods for future woodworkers.

I also agree with @DeformedTree on local use.  I have local species that I've cut and dried that I could never have gotten at a lumber yard.  I have a local guy with a good sawmill mill cut the slabs to my specifications.  It ends up costing me less than $.75/board foot, and saves nice trees from the mulch shredder.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 10:29 AM by HarveyWildes »

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3656
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2018, 02:18 PM »
A few years ago, I watched a large area of land being cleared for a shopping center go be constructed. The forest was mostly oak and maple. The machinery used was big and they were knocking down some huge trees. Large and small, the trees were fed into a giant  chipper, sometimes two or more trees at a time. No logs were saved. Everything went into the chipper. The entire pile of chips went into many trailers to be hauled, I was told, to Maine where they were used for chip burning furnaces. I forget what was being manufactured as a result of the steam. I just remember seeing all that potentially beautiful lumber being whittled down for use in furnaces. Around where I live, I often see straight logs being cut into short lengths to be split for fireplace use. I have been guilty as charged for that problem until I began to realize that those logs had more value than going into wood stove.
Tinker
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Offline jarbroen

  • Posts: 52
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2018, 06:34 PM »
One more alternative for an exterior hard wood - Batu.
I just used a bunch for my deck and railing.  Not cheap but not way more expensive than TK cedar (and actually cheaper than clear cedar!).
I think the 5/4x6 decking was $3/lf and the 2x4 was $4.40/lf.
I've not worked with Ipe but it seems like the Batu is easier to work with. It's still a hard wood to mill and gives you nasty splinters though!
I was able to machine hundreds of tenons and mortises in the Batu with almost zero issues.  I finished with the Penofin exterior hardwood formula and it was an easy one coat wipe on.  It also took glue really well - we'll see how my joints hold over time.

It's also supposed to be super fungus and bug resistant.

All that's great but the best part is it looks really cool.  A very warm reddish/brown with some interesting variation.
My supplier gets it from Kayu.

I also agree with the guys saying buy local, even though I'm a hypocrite. :)  I try to use NW species in the rest of my woodworking, we have plenty of cool choices.  There just aren't any real local options for a good exterior hardwood.  We don't have the climate that generates stuff like Ipe, Ironwood, etc.  Clear cedar is awesome but the prices for that have gotten ridiculous and for a deck it just doesn't last long enough.

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 78
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2018, 10:29 PM »
I built my coffee table and TV stand out of the Red Balau decking.  Definitely gives you splinters and is hard on blades, but we really like the color of it.

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 408
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2018, 02:59 AM »
We’ll all have to reminisce about the good old days when teak used to be $5-6 bucks per a board foot.  Those days are long gone.

Balau wood is hard to come-by in Canada.  Usually white oak, Mahogany, cedar, cherry wood are easier to come by for outdoor projects.  I’ll probably have to look to Mahogany for it’s reliability as a good outdoor project wood.  iPE is available but costly.  I’ve never been a fan of the dark grain pattern in IPE. 

I wish we had more Cyprus wood available in Canada. It’s one of more flexible project woods for outdoor projects. 
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Offline jobsworth

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Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2018, 10:48 AM »
My lumber yards have plenty of Teak, however its priced so high that its affordability is out of reach for me and as other have said there are alternatives that are cheaper and more cost effective to make.

Unless you have a client willing to pay the money for Teak.

Offline JSlovic

  • Posts: 100
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2018, 11:43 AM »
Harvey
I recovered my deck in purpleheart several years ago. It was 1/2 the price of Ipe and weathered to a lovely silverly brown. I'd oil it every spring and it would look great all year. 

Tinker
I agree about the clear cutting and chipping of what would otherwise be useful logs.  Fortunately there's a local mill here in the Atlanta Eutree.com that recycles "urban forest" logs.  I'm planning to get some stair treads from him for a project next year

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 807
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2018, 09:22 AM »
"Straight up logs get shipped from the US and Canada to china, get turned into
furniture and then sent back for sales.  Thats something that makes no sense."

Makes sense from a profit perspective. If you want to get around the labor laws
and safety regulations and environmental reporting requirements then you move
your production overseas where they put a lower value on the value of a mans'
life or the future of the planet. No, I'm not a tree-hugger, just stating the obvious.

When laws and regulations here make it more attractive to ship raw materials outside
the US, manufacture a product, and ship it back and STILL make a greater profit than
if the work was done here then this is what will happen every time. Stockholders and
fund managers care about profits and dividends, nothing else.
-----
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Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 151
Re: Teak disappearing from Store Shelves
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2018, 11:34 PM »
"Straight up logs get shipped from the US and Canada to china, get turned into
furniture and then sent back for sales.  Thats something that makes no sense."

Makes sense from a profit perspective. If you want to get around the labor laws
and safety regulations and environmental reporting requirements then you move
your production overseas where they put a lower value on the value of a mans'
life or the future of the planet. No, I'm not a tree-hugger, just stating the obvious.

When laws and regulations here make it more attractive to ship raw materials outside
the US, manufacture a product, and ship it back and STILL make a greater profit than
if the work was done here then this is what will happen every time. Stockholders and
fund managers care about profits and dividends, nothing else.

I wasn't commenting that the business case doesn't work.  It's the big picture of moving raw materials around the world like that is the reason we won't have a world before too long.  It's exactly the problem with many things.  We undervalue things which then causes the economics of it all the get out of wack and not align to a big picture reality of things.  The economics on such things shouldn't work, but since we undervalue (price) end items, and ignore/undervalue the human factor (labor), we get economics and overall ways of doing things that should never be.

It also is why you have countries that put limits on such things leaving their borders as raw materials. Sure a few people make a few bucks short term, but long term everyone looses.