Owing to the longevity and natural resilience of teak, there are many still sturdy teak-made constructs (some aged hundreds of years old) all over India and South East Asia. In the island of Java in Indonesia, for instance, there are literally thousands of small homes built using teak. The scenario is repeated in China and India, and other Southeast Asian countries.
Rather than discarding these valuable materials, many companies reclaim the used teaks (frequently through purchases) and build furniture after restoring them. Not only do reclaimed teaks fulfil the constant demand for teak furniture, they also contribute to a sustainable ecosystem.
Naturally, some of the salvaged teaks will bear the signs of use and abuse in the form of chipped ends, dents or scratches. However, these imperfections lend an added charm and sense of history to the lovingly restored furniture. Lucky buyers might even become a part of history by owning furniture made from the remnants of people and culture which have long disappeared.
It might come as a shock, but some reclaimed teak furniture may cost more than new ones. To protect yourselves against profiteering schemes, always ask for certifications or validations. In the UK, many manufacturers and resellers of reclaimed teak furniture obtain accreditation from the Forest Stewardship Council, an independent body committed to sustainable forestry practices. Their certification process is rigorous, so you can sleep tight at night knowing that you are contributing to the long-term future of the planet by purchasing recycled teak furniture.
HOW ARE RECLAIMED TEAKS RESTORED?
To the layman, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between professionally restored teak furniture and new ones. How is it possible to restore teak to such levels?
It’s actually quite simple (relatively speaking, of course). Aged and weathered teak turns into a beautiful shade of grey after a couple of years of use. However, the grey coat can be removed quite easily by soaking the surface, applying an industrial scrubber and sanding the top layer off. And voila! You can now see the teak’s original honey-blonde finish.