Why is Reclaimed Teak so Good for Furniture?
Raft is the world’s leading manufacturer and largest retailer of 100% recycled teak. Here’s why reclaimed teak wood is such a good material for furniture...
We love reclaimed teak. In fact, Raft has become the largest retailer of completely recycled teak in the world. In our own factory in Yogyakarta, Java, we employ over 300 skilled craftsmen to hand-make all kinds of indoor and outdoor furniture. This is everything you see on our website and in-store, from our dining tables to bookcases to beds.
Reclaimed teak is exceptionally durable and hard wearing, so indoor and outdoor teak furniture tends to last a lifetime. It’s also versatile, beautiful and full of character. What's more, it’s environmentally friendly because reclaimed teak furniture is recycled from old wooden structures.
Where Does Reclaimed Teak Come From?
The teak tree (Latin name: Tectona grandis) is a tall, hardwood, deciduous tree with small white flowers and large papery leaves. It is native to South and Southeast Asia, where they traditionally use timber everything from houses to boats to carvings. Teak wood is exceptionally hard wearing and is full of rich natural oils which make it resistant to termites and pests. Plus, it's weatherproof even in exposed locations.
Teak is abundant in Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. However, Indonesia is really the home of teak cultivation. For decades a special government corporation has managed sustainable plantations. Teak structures are everywhere in the country: houses, public buildings, railway cars, shipping containers, boats and much more.
Yet, as great as teak is, sadly it can’t withstand earthquakes. Today, new houses in Indonesia are built from metal to protect them from earthquake damage. That means used teak is now in plentiful supply - particularly in Java. And that’s a brilliant source of high-quality wood that we can recycle into beautiful furniture.
“It makes sense to use reclaimed teak. Not only is it a beautiful, weathered material that is effectively indestructible. It’s also the right thing to do.” - Mick, founder of RAFT.
6 Reasons why Reclaimed Teak is Perfect for Furniture
1) It will last a lifetime and more
Thanks to its rich natural oils, teak is exceptionally durable and hardwearing. It’s hard, heavy and very strong. A piece of furniture like a dining table or cabinet crafted from reclaimed teak is something you only need to buy once. It can easily withstand all the wear and tear of everyday life - even if you have children!
2) It’s beautiful
Reclaimed teak wood, seasoned in a solar kiln, has a mature grain and a rich colour quite unlike ordinary plantation woods. And the great thing about teak is that it just goes on getting more beautiful with age.
3) It’s full of character
Furniture that’s been handmade from reclaimed teak is always interesting. Each timber comes with history - whether it’s a traditional Javan home or an old railway car. That means every item is completely unique and full of character too. The nicks and marks in the wood - the beautiful little imperfections - are reminders its history.
4) It’s versatile
Teak’s natural strength and beauty mean that craftsmen can use it for all kinds of furniture. At the Raft factory, our artisans make everything from very rustic tables from teak roots to smart teak beds in a choice of colour finishes.
5) It’s equally good outdoors
Teak’s oils make it naturally weather-proof - which is why it’s used for external buildings in so much of southeast Asia. That means that seasoned teak timbers are perfect for outdoor uses like garden furniture sets.
6) It’s environmentally friendly
Finally, reclaimed teak furniture is made from wood that has served its original purpose and would otherwise be discarded. By rescuing and re-using it, this means less wood needs to be grown in plantations. At Raft we’re pioneering the manufacturing process by using solar-powered kilns to dry and season the timber. This also means our reclaimed teak is as green as it gets.