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Old 22-11-2014, 10:26   #1
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Natural Alternatives To Teak

On another thread, Astrid suggested some alternatives to teak:
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Originally Posted by Astrid View Post
If you want to replace your teak with wood rather than man made, there are alternatives to teak that are sometimes less expensive and pretty much as good. These include ipe, iroko, jarrah, greenheart, and hinoki cypress. True teak, because of its demand and over harvesting is now extremely expensive, but shop around for the alternatives.
Thank you Astrid.

Being a woodworker, that really got me thinking. So I looked through The Wood Handbook and found the following woods and would like to open a discussion about their uses in marine applications. I know many will be eliminated quickly but I won't make that decision. If its uses included boats or marine applications, it made the cut.

This is the list of woods from the Wood Handbook and their applications in boats and/or a marine environment. I'll start with North American woods.

Locust, Black
Black locust is used for round, hewn, or split mine timbers as well as fence posts, poles, railroad crossties, stakes, and fuel. Other uses are for rough construction and crating. Historically, black locust was important for the manufacture of insulator pins and wooden pegs used in the construction of ships, for which the wood was well adapted because of its strength, decay resistance, and moderate shrinkage and swelling.

Oak, White
White oaks are usually cut into lumber, railroad crossties, cooperage, mine timbers, fence posts, veneer, fuelwood, and many other products. High-quality white oak is especially sought for tight cooperage. An important use of white oak is for planking and bent parts of ships and boats; heartwood is often specified because of its decay resistance. White oak is also used for furniture, flooring, pallets, agricultural implements, railroad cars, truck floors, furniture, doors, and millwork.

Sassafras
The wood is moderately heavy, moderately hard, moderately weak in bending and endwise compression, quite high in shock resistance, and resistant to decay. Sassafras was highly prized by the native Americans for
dugout canoes, and some sassafras lumber is still used for small boats. Locally, sassafras is used for fence posts and rails and for general millwork.

Port-Orford-Cedar
Some high-grade Port-Orford-cedar was once used in the manufacture of storage battery separators, matchsticks, and specialty millwork. Today, other uses are archery supplies, sash and door construction, flooring, interior woodwork, furniture, and boats.

Redcedar, Western
Western redcedar is used principally for shingles, lumber, poles, posts, and piles. The lumber is used for exterior siding, decking, interior woodwork, ship and boat building, boxes and crates, sashes, and doors.

White-Cedar, Atlantic
The wood is lightweight, rather soft, and low in strength and shock resistance. It shrinks little in drying. It is easily worked and holds paint well, and the heartwood is highly resistant to decay. Because of its high durability it is used for poles, posts, cabin logs, railroad crossties, lumber, shingles, decorative fencing, boats, and water tanks.

White-Cedar, Northern
The heartwood of Northern white-cedar is light brown, and the sapwood is nearly white and is usually narrow. The wood is lightweight, rather soft, low in strength and shock resistance, and with low shrinkage upon drying. It is easily worked and the heartwood is very decay resistant. Northern white-cedar is used for poles and posts, outdoor furniture, shingles, cabin logs, lumber, water tanks, boats and for wooden ware.

IMPORTED


Afrormosia
Afrormosia is often used for the same purposes as teak, such as boat construction, joinery, flooring, furniture, interior woodwork, and decorative veneer.

Angelique
The strength and durability of angelique make it especially suitable for heavy construction, harbor installations, bridges, heavy planking for pier and platform decking, and railroad bridge ties. The wood is also suitable for ship decking, planking, boat frames, industrial flooring, and parquet blocks and strips.

Greenheart
Greenheart is used principally where strength and resistance to wear are required. Uses include ship and dock building, lock gates, wharves, piers, jetties, vats, piling, planking, industrial flooring, bridges, and some specialty items.

Iroko
Because of its color and durability, iroko has been suggested as a substitute for teak (Tectona grandis). Its durability makes it suitable for boat building, piles, other marine work, and railroad crossties. Other uses include joinery, flooring, furniture, veneer, and cabinetwork.

Kaneelhart
Uses of kaneelhart include furniture, turnery, boat building, heavy construction, and parquet flooring.

Mahogany, African
Principal uses for African mahogany include furniture and cabinetwork, interior woodwork, boat construction, and veneer.

Mahogany, American
The principal uses for mahogany are fine furniture and cabinets, interior woodwork, pattern woodwork, boat construction, fancy veneers, musical instruments, precision instruments, paneling, turnery, carving, and many other uses that call for an attractive and dimensionally stable wood.

Manbarklak
Manbarklak is an ideal wood for marine and other heavy construction uses. It is also used for industrial flooring, mill equipment, railroad crossties, piles, and turnery.

Oak (Tropical)
Utilization of the tropical oaks is very limited at present because of difficulties encountered in the drying of the wood. The major volume is used in the form of charcoal, but the wood is used for flooring, railroad crossties, mine timbers, tight cooperage, boat and ship construction, and decorative
veneers.

Opepe
Opepe is a general construction wood that is used in dock and marine work, boat building, railroad crossties, flooring, and furniture.

Peroba de Campos
In Brazil, peroba de campos is used in the manufacture of fine furniture, flooring, and decorative paneling. The principal use in the United States is shipbuilding, where peroba de campos serves as substitute for white oak (Quercus alba) for all purposes except bent members.

Purpleheart
The unusual and unique color of purpleheart makes this wood desirable for turnery, marquetry, cabinets, fine furniture, parquet flooring, and many specialty items, such as billiard cue butts and carvings. Other uses include heavy construction, shipbuilding, and chemical vats.

Roble
Roble is used extensively for furniture, interior woodwork, doors, flooring, boat building, ax handles, and general construction. The wood veneers well and produces attractive paneling.

Sucupira (Angelin, Para-Angelim)
Sucupira, angelin, and para-angelim are ideal for heavy construction, railroad crossties, and other uses that do not require much fabrication. Other suggested uses include flooring, boat building, furniture, turnery, tool handles, and decorative veneer.

And then there's Teak:
Teak is one of the most valuable woods, but its use is limited by scarcity and high cost. Because teak does not cause rust or corrosion when in contact with metal, it is extremely useful in the shipbuilding industry, for tanks and vats, and for fixtures that require high acid resistance. Teak is currently used in the construction of boats, furniture, flooring, decorative objects, and decorative veneer.
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Old 22-11-2014, 11:42   #2
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

Julie - Great to see someone thinking outside the box.

I have been thinking of trying a local Australian wood which is growing all around the area where I live. It is called grey box (eucalyptus microcarpa). It is extremely hard (3900 on Janka scale), very heavy (has a specific gravity of 1.12 when dried, so sinks in water) and rot resistant.

I've got a substantial amount of greybox from large tree branches which dropped in the yard, which has dried slowly in the shed over about 10 years.

I plan on lining the foredeck from the anchor winch to the bow for a trial. Rather than the standard 12mm thick planks with flexible caulking, I am considering a 3 mm (1/8")veneer strips glued to the deck with a hard graphite/thickened epoxy mixture between the planks. Dimensional change will be limited if veneer thickness is kept minimal.

West Systems has a description of the technique on page 41 0f this tech sheet.
http://www.westsystem.com.au/files/f...and_repair.pdf

Being much harder than teak, I'd expect the a fairly long life out of the thin veneer.
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Old 22-11-2014, 12:03   #3
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

you did not mention any mexican hardwoods including ipe and others which are incredibly inexpensive, yet rot free.
mahogany is not an anti rot wood, as air as well as fresh and salt water all cause it to rot. sneaky wood. is beautiful but not for anything structural.
kiln dried teak will not do same things green teak will do. is not recommended for boat works, especially replacing of green teak parts that failed. good for interior panelling and such.
i have arbutis ratlines. excellent in weather.
i have huanacaxtle wood nav light boards. excellent as long as it is protected, if not protected, might crack longitudinally. strong and does not rot easily. someone said huanacaxtle wood is ipe. i am not ceetain, a sth eipe i have seen when finished looks much different than the wood of my nav lightboards. beautiful stuff. excellent for cap rails and other exterior wood work.
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Old 22-11-2014, 12:16   #4
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

G'Day Julie,

I'm surely not an expert (where have you heard that before when someone is about to spout off?) but there are many Australian timbers much used in yacht construction, and which do not appear on your list. Many are from the Eucalyptus families, and they range from the above mentioned Gray Box through Spotted Gum (not a periodontal issue), King Billy, Blue Gum and many others that escape my memory. There is also the famous Huon Pine and from New Zealand the related Kauri.

I wish that I could recommend a book with info on these great timbers, but don't know of one; I am sure that such exists.

Good luck with your quest, and let us know what you find.

Jim

PS... Our boat's hull is Western Red Cedar, the fitout is mostly New Guinea Rosewood, the laminated deck beams, knees and ring frames are from Queensland Mable (a Eucalypt) and the overhead is Tasmanian Ash (another Eucalypt). Hatches and companionway trim are plain old Teak. A real hodge podge!
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Old 22-11-2014, 12:22   #5
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

Common aspen has quite good rot resistance even better if treaded with oil & tar mix. Best I know under bare feet (or but), light and good insulation properties.
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Old 22-11-2014, 13:37   #6
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

Ipe is also a great replacement for teak but very heavy


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Old 22-11-2014, 13:38   #7
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

Cork?
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Old 22-11-2014, 14:04   #8
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

Apitong/Keruing is another good hardwood for use on boats. Its most often used as trailer decking. We have sampson posts made out Apitong and they have held up very well after 30 years on deck. Here is a chart comparing strength and weight between a bunch of common woods that you may find useful.
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Old 22-11-2014, 15:18   #9
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

I've never heard of grey box but I'd love to hear how it works out.

Ipe was listed in the Wood Handbook but there was no mention of it being used in a marine environment. Not that that means it's not an acceptable wood. I know Ipe is used for exterior decks but it is very expensive, comparatively.

Astrid mentioned Hinoki. I know Hinoki is used in Japan to make an ofuro, a Japanese soaking tub. You fill it and let the wood soak until it swells enough to stop the leaks.

I've worked a lot with African Mahogany and Honduras Mahogany. I've never allowed either to be exposed to the elements. I should take some scrap pieces and let them ferment in the back yard. I've used Cocobolo for fretboards. It's dense and oily and very pleasing to the eye but I have no idea how it would hold up to the elements. If I have any scrap I'll thorw that into the back yard experiment.

Cumaru has been mentioned as a teak deck alternative but people have had problems with it twisting badly. It's grown in South America.

One time I was looking at Purpleheart to use for a solid body guitar. It was very heavy and I ruled it our for the body or neck.

The one thing about teak is it doesn't corrode metals when in contact. That would be important if considering using another wood for a deck.
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Old 22-11-2014, 15:38   #10
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

As a instrument maker, you have probably heard of Sapele. I have a boom gallows made from it. Vanish has long since fallen off and it looks, better(?) than some teak parts in similar condition on the boat. I think it is used as flooring.
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Old 22-11-2014, 16:10   #11
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

Ipe is about 1/3 the cost of teak. It is used for steal hauling trailer decks because of its durability. It has a higher oil content the teak, simpler grain pattern when 1/4 sawn, and greys like teak. The only two downsides to it is it's weight and it is very hard on tools. I have had a board sitting in the direct sun and exposed to all the extremes of weather for almost ten years and no signs of of rot or breakdown. You can also power wash the grey out and not destroy it. We used to use a commercial power washer to remove oil stains from trailer decks.


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Old 22-11-2014, 20:59   #12
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy View Post
As a instrument maker, you have probably heard of Sapele. I have a boom gallows made from it. Vanish has long since fallen off and it looks, better(?) than some teak parts in similar condition on the boat. I think it is used as flooring.
I used sapele for the panels on our kitchen cabinet doors. The rails & stiles are Honduras mahogany. Sapele is another wood I could include in the back yard test. I have a lot left.
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Old 23-11-2014, 09:23   #13
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

I may add larch as a good alternative
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Old 23-11-2014, 09:57   #14
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Re: Natural Alternatives To Teak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
I used sapele for the panels on our kitchen cabinet doors. The rails & stiles are Honduras mahogany. Sapele is another wood I could include in the back yard test. I have a lot left.
Gorgeous wood! Quite a pool ball collection you have there!
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Old 23-11-2014, 11:11   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
...

Afrormosia
Afrormosia is often used for the same purposes as teak, such as boat construction, joinery, flooring, furniture, interior woodwork, and decorative veneer...
A comment on this first import listed, for example.

"...often used for the same purposes as teak..." Highly doubtful as a substitute for teak decking, as this wood is prone to producing thousands of tiny needle-like slivers. And it is much darker, harder, heavier and denser than teak. Contrasts with it, in fact, and so is sometimes used for trimming teak. It is very dark when varnished and even darker with age. Photo shows the dark Afrormosia trim against much lighter teak veneer.

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