What is Teak-o, and What is Teak?

Teak-o is a privately owned forestry operation, centralized on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. The location of our operation, thanks to the ideal climatic conditions of the region, promotes the growth of the highest grade plantation teak in the Americas. As such, we pride ourselves on producing among the finest plantation wood on the planet, ensuring that the product is planted, raised, harvested and milled in a manner that protects the environment and builds healthy, prosperous communities.1017363_543760922352321_715532132_n

Teak (Tectona grandis) is the most iconic of tropical hardwoods. Esteemed for its beauty and resistance to insects, weather, and wear, teak has been used for millennia in the manufacture of flooring, decking, furniture, and religious and decorative carvins. Typically a golden brown with straight, dark brown grain, teak has a leathery aroma and is oily to the touch. Teak’s high oil content prevents insect damage, resists rot, and naturally repels water, and its high silica contect reduces wear from foot traffic. Furthermore, given its long history of structural, maritime and decorative use in Southeast Asia, India, and Africa, teak immediately evokes the romance and adventure of the Tropics.

Native to India, Burma, and Indonesia, teak has been planted in tropical zones throughout the world. The dwindling supply of old growth Teak lumber has made teak prohibitively expensive for many applications. Our premium, long-rotation plantation teak retains all the benefits of old growth teak, while avoiding the ecological impacts of deforestation. The voracious global demand for teak has encouraged the harvest of young plantation trees, typically less than 20 years. In contrast, we are currently harvesting the oldest teak in Central America, between 35 and 40 years in age. As a result, our wood possesses many of the qualities characteristic of teak from primary forests: deep golden to dark brown, tight, clear grain, and large dimensions. We are currently milling blocks with as much as 12″ x 12″ of pure heartwood. No plantation in Central America can produce timber that rivals the age, quality, and beauty of our teak.

IMG_1818Our teak was planted on degraded, erosion-prone pasture land, stabilizing the soil, sequestering the maximum amount of atmospheric carbon, and providing habitat for local bird and animal populations. After harvest, it is immediately reforested with genetically improved teak and other exotic hardwoods, insuring maximum productivity and ecosystem services. In contrast, the overwhelming majority of competing exotic decking and flooring woods are sourced from primary tropical forests in Africa and Latin America, contributing to the global crises of deforestation, mass extinction, and climate change. Responsible consumers in Europe and America have already begun to source timber exclusively from sustainable plantation sources, certified through Forest Stewardship Council or other verification entities, ensuring that their beautiful homes and offices do not come at the cost of deforestation and environmental degradation. Even individuals and corporations who are not personally concerned by deforestation are avoiding tropical hardwoods like Ipe and Cumaru, because the risk of negative social or media exposure is far greater than any anticipated benefit of old growth flooring or decking. We are fully compliant with responsible forest management standards from seedling to delivered lumber, which means not only that our wood is ecologically sustainable, but that it provides living wages, valuable training, and a safe work environment to all employees.

The teak you buy from us is the finest plantation wood on the planet, harvested and milled in a manner that protects the environment and builds healthy, prosperous communities.