How to Tell Teak Wood

Written by wade shaddy
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How to Tell Teak Wood
Teak is a dark brown chocolate colour with some red. (wet wood image by sumos from

People have used teak wood for centuries. It has a water repellent nature that comes from natural oils in the wood. These oils also darken after the teak is cut, imparting a deep rich hue to the wood. Teak is a hardwood, but not as hard as maple or oak. It has a resilient, pliable quality and is not brittle or prone to splitting or cracking like other hardwoods.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Table saw

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  1. 1

    Scrape at the surface of the wood with your fingernail if it is raw unfinished wood. If it is teak, it will smell similar to vegetable oil, not an unpleasant smell.

  2. 2

    Cut through the wood with a table saw if it is raw unfinished wood. Wait 30 minutes and look at the fresh cut that the saw blade made. Hold the wood up so the light reflects off the edge. You should be able to see pinhead droplets of oil glistening along some of the grain.

  3. 3

    Lay a piece of freshly cut wood out in the sun. If it is teak, it will change from light brown with some green streaks to a consistent dark reddish brown in two weeks.

  4. 4

    Look closely at the wood if it is already finished. If it is teak, it will be a dark chocolate colour with a red tint to it. You should see well-defined black grain. The grain will have half and half bold and fine texture. The grain pattern will have some zigzag patterns running intermittently through it.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are going to glue teak, wipe down the points where the glue will make contact with acetone to remove oils from the teak. Oil will prevent glue from sticking.
  • Teak will continue to darken for months.

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