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  teak 101

Timeless style. Unrivaled durability. Sustainable materials. Natural beauty. Incomparable value.

All of these are perfectly good reasons to invest in furniture made from Tectona Grandis, otherwise known as teak wood. When you buy from Thos. Baker, you also get elegant design, premium workmanship and a 30-day money-back guarantee. But that's not all you'll love...

Just the Facts
  • Teak is a deciduous hardwood tree indigenous to the dry, hilly terrains of Indonesia and Southeast Asia
  • Teak is extremely dense-grained and highly resistant to rot, warping, shrinkage and swelling
  • Its high natural oil content acts as a natural preservative to the wood so it can be left outdoors for decades
  • Teak ages gracefully (unlike some of us) into a refined silvery-gray patina that can also be restored its original warm honey color
Teak is comfort and beauty

Unlike some of us, teak ages gracefully—sort of like Sean Connery or Catherine Deneuve. Over time it develops a silvery gray patina that can be left in its natural state or revived to a warm honey glow with a light sanding or the application of a little teak oil. Teak is very smooth to the touch and does not splinter. It remains very neutral in temperature compared to plastic or metal furniture and has a faint, pleasant aromatic smell. Well made teak outdoor furniture is typically classic in design with clean architectural lines and timeless style. This is an important attribute for something you could expect to have on your patio for the next decade.

Teak is earth-friendly

Our furniture is made from harvested trees grown on plantations following sustainable-yield practices. This process is managed and controlled by PT Perum Perhutani, an Indonesian government agency tasked with preserving this natural resource for generations to come. You can find cheaper products crafted from "gray market" trees culled illegally from non-regenerating resources. But we think you should avoid this for obvious reasons. You might also consider that the manufacture of teak wood products is significantly more energy efficient than metal or plastic furniture fabrication. In other words, putting resin or cast aluminum furniture on your deck is not necessarily a better alternative for our environment.

Teak is an unparalleled value

Durability and timeless design make teak outdoor furniture one of the best values available in home furnishings. Divide the cost of a fine quality teak dining set over the number of years of expected use and you will find our furniture is practically free. Okay, not quite free. But you get the point. In other words, choose your pieces carefully. They are likely to be around for many years to come.

We use only the highest grade materials

At Thos. Baker, we use only "one side clear" teak heartwood with a mix of straight and free grain. Components are visually matched to a high degree of color uniformity. There are minimal "live" knots and no dead knots or sap lines. You will not see any wood filler, inserts, gaps, cracks or bowing on our furniture and we use only premium quality glues that dry transparent.

All of our joints are old-fashioned mortise and tenon with dowel inserts. (For those of you who did not take "Shop" in high school, a mortise is a squared hole and a tenon is a squared finger that fits into the mortise. We will not get into how one makes a square hole. The workers like to keep that a secret--sort of like how a magician saws a lady in half but not really.)

We insist on kiln-dried wood

At Thos. Baker, all of our teak is kiln-dried to 15% or less moisture content before manufacture. Why do we take this extra step? Freshly felled teak has about 40% moisture content. Leave it sit in the sunshine for a while and it would probably dry to a 25% moisture content level on its own. If you make a piece of furniture out of teak with 25% moisture content and put it on your patio in Scottsdale, it will probably dry out and crack. (Kind of like your skin if you sit out on your patio in Scottsdale, but we digress.) If you take that same piece of teak wood and put it in kiln oven for two or three weeks you can take the moisture content down to 10-12%. A chair made from that wood can sit outside in Yuma, Yakima or Yazoo City for as long as you please and hold its own.

Machine made furniture is best

Teak furniture manufacturing in Indonesia is generally categorized as either handmade, semi-machine made, or fully machine made. Contrary to intuition, the words "handmade" and "furniture" do not go well together when it comes to teak outdoor furniture. Handmade means hand tools. An Indonesian “factory” that makes handmade furniture looks an awful lot like a village with guys sitting around in their yards whittling. This makes for intriguing tourist photos and captivating cocktail party chatter but less than perfect furniture. Handmade chairs will have things like "character" and "unique detailing" but no two will look precisely alike. They are also the cheapest chairs you can buy since labor is relatively inexpensive in Indonesia.

Semi-machine made furniture is produced using power tools in a factory. Cuts and bores are more precise although pieces are ultimately fitted by hand. A skilled, experienced worker with proper training and resources can produce very fine semi-machine products with a high degree of uniformity. Of course, semi-machine made furniture is more expensive to produce than handmade furniture but is almost always worth the difference.

Full machine factories exclusively use power equipment, tooling, dies and processes intended to take the variability out of manufacture. Two chairs from a full machine factory will be indistinguishable from one another. At Thos. Baker, most of our products are fully machine made including all our chairs and other, high volume pieces. We selectively use semi-machine manufacture where our quality standards can be met at a more competitive cost (which we pass along to you).

We guarantee you will love your furniture

Like most things in life, we think you get what you pay for. At Thos. Baker, we pride ourselves on offering the very finest quality teak outdoor furniture available at prices that are reasonable. Our direct-to-consumer model and demanding quality standards offer you the very best value in premium teak. We encourage you to shop around and prove it to yourself. We think you’ll be back. And just to make certain you are perfectly comfortable in your new Thos. Baker furniture, we offer a 30-day money back guarantee. If you are dissatisfied in any way with any product you buy from us, send it back in the original packaging and we will refund your purchase price less shipping and handling. Likewise, if something arrives damaged or you want to exchange it, we will be happy to remedy that at our expense.

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