How Teak Trees Can Pay For The Whole Farm (video)
Categories: On The Farm, Tips & Tricks, Extra, Green, Nature
Darin Smith of Belize Off Grid explains how teak trees that are planted with each $49,000 1/2 acre home-farm in the community could eventually pay for the farm itself. Here is an interesting read on teak plantations in Costa Rica.
Teak has been used as a boatbuilding material for over 2000 years (it was found in an archaeological dig in Berenike, a port on the Indian Roman trade). In addition to relatively high strength, teak is also highly resistant to rot, fungi and mildew. In addition, teak has a relatively low shrinkage ratio, which makes it excellent for applications where it undergoes periodic changes in moisture. Teak has the unusual properties of being both an excellent structural timber for framing, planking, etc., while at the same time being easily worked, unlike some other similar woods such as purpleheart, and finished to a high degree. For this reason, it is also prized for the trim work on boat interiors. Due to the oily nature of the wood, care must be taken to properly prepare the wood before gluing.
When used on boats, teak is also very flexible in the finishes that may be applied. One option is to use no finish at all, in which case the wood will naturally weather to a pleasing silver-grey. The wood may also be oiled with a finishing agent such as linseed or tung oil. This results in a pleasant, somewhat bland finish. Finally, teak may also be varnished for a deep, lustrous glow.
Teak is also used extensively in boat decks, as it is extremely durable and requires very little maintenance. The teak tends to wear in to the softer 'summer' growth bands first, forming a natural 'non-slip' surface. Any sanding is therefore only damaging. Use of modern cleaning compounds, oils or preservatives will shorten the life of the teak, as it contains natural teak-oil a very small distance below the white surface. Wooden boat experts will only wash the teak with salt water, and re-caulk when needed. This cleans the deck, and prevents it from drying out and the wood shrinking. The salt helps it absorb and retain moisture, and prevents any mildew and algal growth. Over-maintenance, such as cleaning teak with harsh chemicals, can shorten its usable lifespan as decking.
Items made from teak are very very expensive. Take for instance this plank of teak wood for $11.49 for a 36" piece. Anywhere you find it, teak costs a lot, and is in short supply. Where people plan to insert teak farms, a happy place between economics and sustainability, green-loving-capitalism all works together to bring back a rare tree with invaluable properties, help the planet, help people, and provide much needed lumber. It sounds expensive that the bench below is almost $700.00, but if you're in the teak-growing business, that's a great thing!