Teak has a golden-brown colour. The freshly machined surface can be remarkably variable in colour, with unsightly blotches and streaks, but after a short period of exposure it tones down to the familiar golden-brown shade. The wood contains an oleo-resin and has an odour similar to that of leather.
Teak is indigenous in Burma, India, Thailand and Vietnam and is virtually naturalized in Java and it has been extensively planted for timber or as an ornamental within its natural range and throughout the tropical regions of the world.
Teak is world famous for its durability and stability, combined with good strength and working properties and pleasing appearance. Recognition of its outstanding qualities for ship building led to the development of the teak trade in the 19th century and it is still considered one of the best timber for this purpose, though its use is limited by the high price. It has since become popular for flooring, furniture and cabinet work.
Natural resistance to attack by decay, fungi and termites is reported to be very high in the heartwood, as teak’s resinous oil is reported to act as a natural insect repellent.