Wooden furniture: which wood is best?

Wooden furniture: which wood is best?

The world of contemporary garden furniture is so vast nowadays that furniture can be designed in a wide range of materials, the major ones being metal (steel, aluminium...), plastic (nylon, polycarbonate...), and, of course, good old wood. We have all seen and can appreciate the beauty of oak or mahogany furniture, elegant wardrobes, tables and chairs. This is the sort of practical furniture our ancestors had, and most of it has stood the test of time to today. However one thing is certain: we wouldn't put this beautiful wooden furniture in our garden! Outdoor areas or landscaped gardens being what they are, they offer the opportunity to use wood that is not only of high quality, but also weather-proof. Throughout the last few years we have seen the rise of ranges produced in bamboo, eucalyptus and other exotic woods, but at Barbed our favourite is undoubtedly teak, and the way that designers are utilising this once traditional material.

What is teak?

Teak is a tropical hardwood native from Asia which outdoor furniture manufacturers like to use for its hardwearing and longevity properties. It is water resistant – on top of being easily worked - which also makes it attractive for boat building and exterior construction. As fashion comes and goes, just like rattan, teak had lost some appeal these past few years due to its traditional look, but in the last two seasons we have seen the exotic wood make a major return.

Today's teak

Classics are great, but classics with a twist are even better. Teak is coming back to the forefront of outdoor furniture, with appealing finished and effects. Since teak, like most, not to say all materials used for outdoor furniture, needs a protecting finish, designers and manufacturers like Ethimo are now getting creative with it. Indeed, the Italian manufacturer, now available in the Barbed shop, produces pickled teak with a stylish silver grey tone. 

Ethimo's pickled teak

To create their wood furniture, Ethimo source teak from Thailand and Indonesia. The forest plantations they use are controlled to ensure a high quality product that is resistant to changes in temperatures, humidity, water and saltwater (always handy if you're coming back from a dip in the sea and want to rest on your lounger).

Ethimo give their wood furniture a vintage look which is just exquisite, with pickled teak. Pickled teak boasts this silver tone that untreated teak gets over time, without having to wait – and you have the satisfaction of knowing that your teak has been treated and therefore better protected that natural wood. Ethimo's pickled teak is very easy to maintain, as it needs only be cleaned with soap and water, rather than treated with oil.

Wood is not just for furniture!

Wood production is not just limited to furniture. Our favourite Danish candlemaker Ester & Erik have recently developed an outdoor garden torch, interestingly enough made from mango wood. The design of the "Vilda" garden torch is in true Scandinavian style, with a sleek matte black finish, but the true feature of the product is the rich tones of the mango wood inlay. Another product which is sustainably produced, the garden torch is a versatile product, which can be used in the garden, on a balcony or on a table.

Are you a teak fan? When it comes to wood furniture we do love teak, and must admit we can't resist the vintage charm of pickled teak! If wood isn’t your first choice in terms of material, come and visit our showroom in Barnes to see our range of products and who knows, you may fall in love with teak!

24th April 2015

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