12 Things About Working Teak
1. Your house will smell like Pier 1
2. Because of teak’s waxiness, your machines will be able to take only about one-fourth of their usual cut. Teak bogs everything down.
3. When handplaning it, you cannot position your cap iron close to the iron’s edge. The waxy shavings gum up the works. Ditto on the mouth. Open it up.
4. Even though teak is waxy, you need to wax your plane soles about twice as much as usual. Use dry lube on the surfaces of your machinery.
5. Sometimes it smells like dung (see also, No. 1).
6. When you cut open thick pieces, the inside can be lightning-bug green. Don’t freak. It will turn brown.
7. It is an outstanding wood for dovetailing. Doesn’t crush. Pares beautifully. Tough as nails at assembly time.
8. Teak repels water. So water-based glues are tricky. If you use PVA or hide glue, wipe all surfaces with lacquer thinner before gluing. Hope for the best and peg your tenons.
9. Epoxy and polyurethane glue are fantastic choices for teak, but you have to use gloves etc. to protect your skin from the chemistry.
10. Teak used to be one of the least-expensive woods used for campaign furniture. Now it is just about the most expensive choice ($20/board foot is common). This stinks because it’s hard to throw away any scraps (need some wedge-shaped offcuts?).
11. Teak turns crisply with little tearing.
12. Teak can be so gorgeous I couldn’t imagine using any colorant on it. Shellac and maybe a little wax is all it needs.
— Christopher Schwarz