Teak Strength

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Forum topic by Dukegijoe posted 08-17-2012 02:02 PM 2144 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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55 posts in 4340 days

08-17-2012 02:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: adirondack question oak teak outdoor

I ran across a deal and purchased some teak the other day that was roughly 4/4 thick, and was wondering about the strength of teak in comparison to white oak, or one of the more traditional outdoor lumbers for North America. I wanted to build some Adirondack chairs from it, and the plans call for 5/4 and 6/4 material, specifically for oak. I know teak is stronger than oak, but I wanted opinions on whether a 4/4 piece of teak would hold up as well as a 5/4 or 6/4 piece of white oak. Thoughts?

I would also love your thoughts on finishes for it, once complete.

As always, thank you!

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes! - Walter Blodgett

4 replies so far

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3480 days

#1 posted 08-17-2012 06:23 PM

I don’t think you will have any strength issues here unless you let s Sumo wrestler jump on it. And teak is near the top on stability and rot resistance. But it’s hard on tools – lots of natural silica so use carbide where possible. It has a lot of natural oil so I would just add to that with say tung oil.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Viktor's profile


476 posts in 4710 days

#2 posted 08-17-2012 11:16 PM

For a chair you are probably looking to compare modulus of rapture in static bending (maximum load carrying capacity of a member). These are almost identical for white oak (~107 MPa) and teak (~100 KPa), both dried. White oak is harder (resistance to indentation) then teak (6 kN vs 4.5 kN).
Both are perfectly acceptable for building Adirondack chairs.
The plan most likely calls for oak this thick to compensate for eventual rot and weathering. Teak is a perfect candidate for such application.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4289 days

#3 posted 08-18-2012 12:33 AM

All wood is about the same strength by density. Either of these will work out about the same in this application. The bigger consideration is how they stand up to the weather. Teak is about the standard that other exterior woods are measured. Being exposed to the weather is going to be hard on any finish. Anything except paint will either weather to gray or require pretty much annual refinishing. Some of the marine spar varnishes will hold up best but any will take maintenance.

Now, personally, I can’t see using teak for regular Adirondacks. I would say if you are going teak, to go with something a bit more stylish. I would go with something cheap for Adirondacks. SYP or even pressure treated and slap a coat of paint on them and fire up the bbq pit and crack open the ice chest.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 4342 days

#4 posted 08-18-2012 12:51 AM

The only problem you will with a teak adirondeck chair will be its’ weight. We’re talking modulus of rupture here (yours) when you try to move it.

As to finish: it is one of the oiliest woods in the world, so an oil finish makes no sense. It wouldn’t soak in or dry. If you want to preserve its’ look, use epoxy (at least 3 coats) followed by Epiphane’s marine varnish (6 coats). This will have to be sanded (top coat only) and recoated with Epiphane’s about every 2 or 3 years depending on exposure.

Frankly, I would just leave it alone. In the weather, a teak chair should last for over 100 years and will develop a beautiful silvery color.

Viktor is right; the plans call for thicker wood using oak to allow for degradation caused by weathering, not strength (unless you’re building them for me).


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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