Everything You Need To Know About Teak Furniture Indonesia
In this post, we share everything you need to know about teak furniture Indonesia, what type of wood used, how it is made, and other important points you need to know before you decide to buy teak furniture from Indonesia.
Teak wood in Indonesia is not used only for outdoor furniture, as a matter of fact, most of the indoor furniture in Indonesia is made of teak. It’s just not as popular as teak for outdoor in the foreign market. So let’s talk about this gorgeous wood…
Table of Contents
Why Teak Furniture?
The main reason why you want to buy furniture made of teak wood is strength and durability. Teak wood has been a material for making furniture since our ancestors. It has high natural oil content to protects itself from rotting and to wood-eating insects.
For its water-resistant properties, in addition to being used as a building material, teak wood is also used as a material for shipbuilding by our ancestors. You can still find hundreds of years old teak wooden boat in operation now.
And also because of its water-resistant properties, teak wood is the main material to built outdoor furniture by the Indonesian furniture manufacturers. But in this post, we will discuss teak as indoor furniture material only, you can read about teak outdoor furniture on this page.
The second reason why you want to buy teak furniture Indonesia is that it’s beautiful, it has gorgeous wood grain that dense, rich color and interesting patterns that appeal and pleasing to the eye.
Strong and gorgeous, what else can you expect from a piece of furniture?
However, because of its high natural oil content, we can’t apply solid color paint on teak wood. The natural oil will turn paint color pigment and make it look like someone has spill red wine over your bed sheet.
How Teak Furniture Indonesia is Made
Just like any other wooden furniture, it started with a log. Teak wood is harvested and sold to furniture manufacturers in various sizes, both length and diameter. It was sold either by the government bureau or by an individual owner.
The selected teak log than transported to the sawmill facility, to be cut into slabs with various thicknesses which depends on the product requirements. Than it stacked with a small wedge to let them air-dried for a week or two before it’s fully dried in the kiln.
Air-dried step is necessary to prevent damage due to shocking heat in the kiln, bowing and cracking can be reduced with air-dried lumber. But some manufacturer might skip this step and goes straight to kiln room.
Then it goes to kiln-dried room, it will take around 2 weeks to fully dried teak wood. But for small components such as slats, it was cut and formed before the kiln or after air-drying. This greatly reduces the time spent in the kiln because it is small and because the small component doesn’t easily damage like big ones.
After the teak plank is fully dried, they were cut into a rough dimension for further process, which is machining. They will be formed into its final size and shape as the product requirements, complete with holes and other detail required.
Then it goes assembly step, they glued the planks and joinery to formed teak furniture final shape. Wooden dowels and screws are used to make strong joinery.
Sanding and finishing are the next steps on the production, it may sound easy, but on this step, it will determine the teak furniture Indonesia final look. So, when you see the uneven or rough surface on your furniture, then this step is responsible for causing it.
The final step is packing and delivery. Each step of teak furniture manufacturing must be strictly monitored for efficiencies and quality. Efficiency is to gain profit for manufacturers, and quality is for you to become a happy buyer.
5 Points to Know Before You Buy Teak Furniture
After you know how it’s made, now here’s the important point you need to know before you decide to buy teak furniture Indonesia.
1. Pay Attention to The Wood Quality
Teak is just like any other type of wood, they have their own characters and also a quality difference between one and the other. Most of the time, the quality of teak is determined by where they grow and how well they’re maintained.
What do we mean by where they grow…every plants love to grow on fertile soil and perfect landscape and terrain, lots of sunshine and water resources are ideal for every tree to grow. However, this is not the case to achieve high-quality teak wood.
Good Indonesian teak wood usually comes from limed soil terrain and rare water resource. Just enough nutrients to keep them grow slowly but not too much that makes them “fat”. This kind of condition is ideal to produce a tree that has really dense cambium and solid grain.
When the teak tree grows too fast due to abundant nutrients, the final result of its plank is kind of soft and easy to crack. And also, they are more prone to shrink, bend, and twisting.
In the island of Java…the, the best quality teak wood usually comes from central and east Java, the city of Blora in central java and Pacitan in east java are well known for its highest quality teak wood. While west java has very fertile soil that produces not so good quality teak wood.
However, you can’t say that teak from west java is bad, it still good enough to make a piece of furniture, it was just not as good compare to the area we mentioned above. it’s just like comparing a BMW M5 to a Lamborghini Aventador. they both great car but different quality standard, well…you got the point I guess…
The second point that determined the quality of teak wood is how well they’re maintained. in Indonesia, there are 2 major sources of teak wood which are wood that planted and cared by the government forestry bureau (PERHUTANI) and wood that come from people forest.
Teak wood from Perhutani is well managed by choosing the best terrain to plant their tree, make sure they have enough nutrients, cut bad trees or bad branches, and make sure they are protected from disease.
On the other hand, there’s teak wood that comes from people’s forests, means they just grow like that on someone backyards or farm and doesn’t really maintain or anything. It has the same properties as the wood from Perhutani, just not as good in its appearance.
Because of the different treatments, teak wood that comes from the Indonesian forestry bureau has higher quality and resale value compared to people’s wood. Or we can say its more expensive, much much more expensive than people’s wood.
We only use Perhutani wood to make an item of grade-A furniture, and for people’s wood, we use them for grade C and B furniture.So how to tell the difference between good quality teak wood and the not so good zone?
Well…it’s hard for ordinary people who have no experience in the woodworking industry. But for the most part, you want your teak furniture Indonesia made from a big diameter tree that grows on good soil.
In able to know how or where the tree is planted, you can tell the difference from how tight the wood grain on its surface or on the end grain. A tight grain means it comes from big and old trees that grow on good lime soil, wide grain means they grow on very fertile soil which we mention above.
And to know that they are using a big diameter tree is to look at how wide the surface of its components are. We are not talking about small items like chairs because you know…they are small. We are talking about a wide surface that needs to have plank joins like tabletops, doors, side panels, etc. its not always true but for most cases, the wider the plank the better it should be.
Look for natural defects. Small wood knots are tolerable, but only 3 or less “live knots” in a square meter. You should avoid big knots because they can crack eventually, and they not look so nice.
Also, look for patches, they are not tolerable in many cases unless you buy reclaimed wood outdoor furniture. If you have many patches it means wooden material used is not so good in quality, so in our opinion you better avoid them.
We divide our teak furniture Indonesia into 3 different grades, as you can see the difference in the picture below. And you can read more detail about grade difference and their price our pricelist page.
2. Construction Detail
Usually, our standard production time to make a product, let say dining table, are 4 – 5 week, but did you know that we can make the same shape dining table in only one week? (let’s call it one-week table), how can it be?
Well…construction detail is the answer, you know…in order to make good quality teak furniture Indonesia, we must make sure the wood is properly kiln dried and have a good construction. it’s started by properly dried them in the kiln, in the standard kiln-dry oven it takes about 2 weeks to dry them. even more, if the wooden plank is so thick.
On a one-week table, no need to do that, just use freshly sawn timber and do the modest carpentry, do the sanding and finishing than sell it. It’s that fast, but is it good? of course NOT…! it doesn’t matter how good the quality of the teak wood that we are using, it will be almost useless if it’s not properly dried.
We all know that high humidity is a cause of damage such as cracks, bending, color fading, moldy, and another unwanted result. Yes, it’s not always happening but let’s not gambling on something that is already known for sure.
Good joinery and constructions are also the keys to producing good quality furniture. On one week’s table we use glue and some screw here and there and it’s done, it’s a fast process, yes it is joined and look nice for the first time but let see is it holds for a year, or even a month?
We do not buy furniture and use it only for a year, right? so you should take a closer look at the joinery, ask them (the manufacturer) what technique they use, what glue, and even what screw material they use.
Nitpicky..? let it be, You can measure how well your vendors know their stuff by doing this, and also you can see how serious they are in the production and how good they do customer handling, or service should we say…
To make a piece of furniture with good construction takes time and skill, and that’s equal to more cost on the production. But it is a must in furniture manufacturing, otherwise, forget about a quality product.
3. Hardware Detail
Hardware plays an important role in the overall quality of teak furniture Indonesia products. You can use the best quality wood to make a piece of furniture, but when the hinges break, for example than the good wood is useless.
Furniture hardware for indoor is usually factory-made. It’s readily available in the store here in Jepara. On the label, it stated made in Germany, or America, or somewhere else in the world. But let’s face it, It was all made in china. And to be honest, China made high-quality stuff too. It’s made from electroplated steel, stainless steel, or aluminum. But for antique reproduction furniture hardware, it uses brass casting hardware locally made.
Hardware is also taking parts on teak furniture Indonesia price, not much but it’s quite noticeable. Let’s take an example with a drawer runner, a pair of low-quality runners cost only $1 per drawer, while medium quality price $2,5 and the good ones cost almost $5.
The difference is not that big but take a look at the percentage…it’s huge. Imagine you buy 5 drawer chest, $20 difference between low and high-quality one, multiply it by 40 feet container which can load about 200 pieces, so…you see?
Discuss with your vendor what kind of hardware they are using, ask them to provide you samples of a low, medium, and high-quality hardware. That way you know exactly what you get when you buy furniture from Indonesia.
After you touch and see by yourself what hardware they are using, you can clearly see the difference between low and high-quality pieces. It’s really doesn’t matter where it’s made, china or made in mars. If it’s really good stuff, it will look and feel good stuff.
4. Finishing Detail
Always ask for color samples from your vendors and regularly check your finished product.
How to tell the difference between high-quality furniture finishing with a low one? in our opinion, it’s really hard to tell the difference based on material or let say brand used. Because they are freshly finished, even the cheapest and lowest quality brand doesn’t wear that fast, so the best option for this is to ask for a warranty, that’s it…
However, you can tell the difference by how good the craftsmanship is put into the final product, antique finishes should look and feel like antique, solid color should have an even color all around, fine sanding furniture should be smooth and really…finely sanded.
It may sound easy but trust me, it takes a lot of quality control stuff going on to make a consistent quality furniture finish.
Another important point that we have to remind you about teak wood finishes, don’t ask for solid color paint. It will look ugly over time unless you consider yellowing paint to be a shabby look, fine then…
5. Beware of Prices That Are Too Cheap
Cheap is good for most of the time, but if it’s too cheap then you must questioning the quality. Please compare everything with everyone if you want to buy teak furniture Indonesia, gathered all data you can get, and educate yourself to make a final conclusion.
Comparing vendors is not impolite or unethical, it’s a must in business. Just don’t do it in front of them. Collect and compare your data, quality is more important compared to a cheap price.
Tips To Buy Teak Furniture From Indonesia
The best tips are sum up in the statement above, compare everything. Find the best vendor that suits to your business value.
The second tips are always to ask for a sample from your vendors. It can be wooden samples, finishes, fabrics, leather, foam, etc. Make it as a master sample to control quality for the furniture you bought. Without it, you can’t argue if there’s a problem in the future.
Next tips, if it’s possible for you. Place your company quality control personnel in your vendor production facility. You can send directly from your company or hired independent QC from a reputable company.
The buyer’s quality control personnel can help both parties. You as a buyer will get the product as promised. And for vendors, the existence of QC buyers can save production time and minimize problems in the future.
In conclusion, Indonesia teak furniture is a good product to add to your collection. With a little knowledge about the wood and how to make it, you can find a good manufacturer who can cooperate for long term business relationships.