Timber has always been reverently viewed upon and has had an integral part in Indian Architecture since ancient times. Timber was used for construction of temple roofs, fences and railings, walls, floors and even foundations.India too has a rich variety of timbers and as per ancient texts, wood was classified in terms of its texture and hardness, which further determined its usage. Trees in India were also looked upon with sanctity as necessary steps such as prayers and pleas were made before a tree was cut down. Even after that, a cut tree was kept in the work shed for up to 6 months so that the wounds resulting from the axe could heal. Only after these, was timber sawn, cut, planed, turned and finished.
One of the most sought after wood in the field of furniture making and construction around the world, and especially in India is Teak. Teak is a tropical hardwood tree species native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh. It has small, fragrant white flowers and large papery leaves that are often hairy on the lower surface. The heartwood is yellowish in colour which darkens with age and the sapwood is whitish or pale yellowish.
Durability can be considered as one of the most significant advantage of Teak wood. Teak's natural oils make it useful in exposed locations, and make the timber termite and pest resistant. Teak is durable even when not treated with oil or varnish. It is long-lasting and can withstand wear, pressure, or damage.
Teak furniture and other objects made with teak has now become a status symbol. Due to its aesthetic appeal, durability, strength, elasticity, anti-decaying property and resistance to heat, sun-light and moisture has made teak to be one of the highly demanded wood in timber industry. And since it can be easily carved, teak can used to make a number of products like interior furniture, garden furniture, windows, doors, frameworks, boats, ships and so on. Teak wood furniture can last for a very long period of time, therefore if you want to invest and not want to keep wasting money on cheap soft furniture, it is most advisable to invest on teak wood furniture as it can last for even more than hundred years. Once seen primarily on elegant yachts and in the most extravagant estates, teak wood is now a premium wood of choice for designers of hotels, corporate headquarters and upscale homes. Apart from its natural beauty, teak is one of the most valuable of all woods. Teak is popular for usage in Residential Teak Decking, Marine Teak Decking, Siding, Flooring, and Teak Plywood.
Kerala is home to some of the world’s oldest teak trees. Nilambur teak forest houses the most sought after and the oldest teak woods in the world. The world’s first teak museum and the oldest teak tree in the world, Kannimari, is also situated in Nilambur, thus making it the heaven of Teaks. The Nilambur teak, which received the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag, making it the first forest produce to receive it, is famous for its quality. It is known for its unique features like the large size, durability and its distinctive colour. It also possess high resistance to fungal decay and also exhibit antioxidant properties and is viewed upon with sacredness by the local tribal community. Due to these qualities, combined with the incomparable aesthetic appearance, superior mechanical and physical properties, during the colonial era, the Bristishers used to transport the wood to London and other parts of the world to manufacture luxury furniture.
Besides commercial purposes, teak also has medicinal and culinary uses. It has anti- asthmatic, wound-healing, anti-diabetic and laxative properties. It is also used for its ability to cure dermatology related issues. The flowers are known to support hair growth. The leaves are also used for making soups and stews.
As one of the most esteemed timber, teak certainly has its commercial uses. But environmentally, teak plays a major role in supporting our ecosystem by aerating the atmosphere and preventing erosion. And as aforesaid, the ability to withstand a number of damaging factors and ease in crafting, along with easy maintenance, has certainly made teak one of the most durable timber.