With many new Teak suppliers entering the market, it’s easy for Teak customers to get excited about increased availability and options. However, with options always come differences. How can you be sure that the Teak you’re buying is really going to be the best fit for your job? Sizing and drying are two of the key aspects of Teak that you’ll want to make sure to ask about before you commit to a particular supplier.
The Question of Size
Before you start asking about Teak availability and sizes, you need to understand some things about Teak. Even though it’s not quite like an S4S dimensional product, it isn’t sold exactly like rough-sawn lumber, either. Typically, Teak is sold in sizes close to the finished product, with a variety of thicknesses, lengths, and widths — not unlike dimensional softwoods. At the same time, though, Teak is rough sawn, providing leeway when it comes to both length and width. It’s also sold in bundles that include random widths and lengths.
As a result of this scenario, it’s important to realize that price differences and quantities can vary greatly, depending on the sizes that you need.
Because Teak is fairly expensive, every board foot counts; however, you can’t avoid purchasing some overage. The goal is to make sure you’re getting enough Teak in the sizes your project requires, without buying unnecessary overage.
The best way to achieve that goal is to provide specific dimensions to your supplier, when you ask for quotes. If you do so and then receive two quotes from different dealers that are dramatically different, you should see that as a red flag and ask follow-up questions about exactly what you’d be getting.
The Issue of Re-Drying
Exotic hardwoods like Teak are almost always kiln dried to European standards of 12-15% moisture. For those planning to use Teak in an exterior application — such as docks, decks, or siding — that moisture content is just fine. However, if you’re using it for a project for which precision is important — yacht building or interior applications, for example — it’s important to have it re-dried to the North American standard of 6-8% moisture.
If you fail to secure re-dried Teak for such purposes, you will undoubtedly have some major movement problems during installation and beyond. So when you request a quote from a lumber supplier, you’ll want to ask if that price includes re-drying. Keep in mind that re-drying increases production time and the level of waste.
At J. Gibson McIlvain, we always try to secure as much information about how a customer plans to use the Teak they purchase. As a rule, we re-dry our exotic lumber, but we do leave some reserved for those applications that don’t require re-drying. Whether you choose us or another supplier, you’ll be glad you asked the right questions ahead of time about your Teak.
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.