Teak and redwood are two of the most well-known and widely used wood species in the United States. While teak wood is a hardwood and is native to tropical countries in Asia and Africa, redwood, a softwood is a permanent resident of the United States.
Teak and redwood find countless uses in various woodworking projects. They are both strong and durable making either a favored choice in construction, furniture making, flooring, and dozens of other applications. Any woodworker would be required to have at least a working knowledge of either of these great types of wood.
Teak vs Redwood
The main difference between teak and redwood is that the former is a hardwood and the latter a softwood. You can learn more about hardwoods and softwoods by clicking HERE.
Teak is an extremely durable form of wood that finds numerous uses both indoors and outdoors. Redwood is also considerably durable, but its life gets shortened significantly when it is in direct contact with the ground.
Teak (Tectona grandis) is a tree that you will find growing in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Indonesia, and Myanmar. The trees grow as high as 130 feet and with tree trunks up to diameters of 5 meters.
The use of teak dates back to the 7th century when rich people used it to build their houses. It was later popularized by the Dutch who used it extensively during the development of colonial Indonesia.
Teak has been used since time immemorial for building ships and boats due to its high durability and water-resistant properties. We also use it for a variety of other woodworking indoor and outdoor applications.
Unfortunately, over the years, teak was excessively exploited, resulting in it becoming almost extinct. Today, governments have stepped in and tried to save this precious resource.
As a result, original teak has become a banned wood, except where it grows in plantations. So, you need to be careful while procuring it as there is a lot of illegally-sourced teak going around.
Redwood is a softwood that the Americans consider part of their heritage. The trees are considered the tallest trees in the world and grow up to heights of 300 feet with tree trunks that grow up to 12 feet in diameter. This wood is a protected species, with forest reserves at various locations across the United States.
Redwood withstands rot and insect attacks well, making it a highly durable form of wood. It repels insects by secreting substances that repel them. It makes good indoor and outdoor furniture and finds use as a construction material among other applications.
The sapwood of redwood is not as durable as the heartwood. But if you are looking for a more decorative type of wood, the sapwood will serve your purpose quite adequately.
Teak vs Redwood: Appearance
Teak comes in various hues of yellow and brown, but it becomes darker over the years. The wood has a straight grain pattern, sometimes wavy but with few knots. The teak’s surface is coarse and uneven. It feels slightly oily to the touch due to the presence of natural oils.
The redder redwood gets, the more resistant it is to decay. Therefore, when we procure this wood, we prefer the reddest wood available. The sapwood of redwood is paler in comparison to the heartwood and less resistant to decay.
It is not uncommon to find some imperfections and knots in the grain pattern of redwood. A characteristic feature of redwood is that you can get some unique patterns depending on the way the wood is cut.
Teak vs Redwood: Durability
We consider teak the strongest and most durable type of wood in the world. It makes some of the finest outdoor and indoor furniture that you can find. Teak produces natural oil that serves to protect the wood from the vagaries of nature, pests, rot, and mold.
Redwood is also considerably durable but the lifespan comes down. Sections, where the wood touches the ground directly, will only last for up to 15 years. Pressure and chemical treatment can enhance the life of this wood.
Teak vs Redwood: Maintenance
You can leave teak as it is without applying a finish and it will still be good. But if you maintain teak a bit it will last a lifetime. It is not a difficult wood to maintain but you need to follow a few set procedures like cleaning it regularly and refinishing it with oil or varnish every few years.
Redwood is another easy wood to maintain. You need to use a bit of warm water and a soft-bristled brush and then wipe it clean. This removes any surface dirt and grime. To remove mildew, you can additionally use some mild detergent. Like teak, you may have to reapply a finish to redwood every few years.
Teak vs Redwood: Workability and Uses
Teak is an easily workable type of wood most of the time. But sometimes you will encounter silica deposits which can have a dulling effect on your tools, making it necessary to sharpen them more often.
You can add glues and finishes to glues easily. But you may find the surface of the wood initially too oily to accept either. In such a case, you can wipe it with a bit of solvent to reduce the oiliness.
We use teak for a variety of outdoor and indoor items like veneer, construction, carving, flooring, and carved and turned objects.
Redwood is easy to work with due to its softness. You can work comfortably on this wood with hand and power tools. Redwood is a favorite wood among artists for making sculptures and murals.
We use redwood in construction for making posts and beams. Redwood also makes excellent wood carvings, plywood, exterior trim, and plywood.
Teak vs Redwood: Price
Teak has always been an expensive type of wood on account of its high durability. It provides large boards of lumber. Although the price may vary from where it grew, teak wood continues to be an expensive wood.
Redwood is not an expensive wood, but then it is more expensive than other softwoods and even many hardwoods. There are some grades of redwood that can turn out to be considerably expensive.
Teak vs Redwood: Sustainability
We cannot consider teak to be a sustainable wood on account of its endangered status. However, you will not find it listed on any of the lists of endangered wood species.
Redwood is sustainably harvested in the United States today. But there are some very strict rules governing the cultivation, harvesting, and trading of this valuable national resource in the United States. There are many national and state parks where redwood grows, protected by government laws.
Teak vs Redwood: Comparison Table
|Botanical name||Tectona grandis||Sequoia sempervirens|
|Color||Golden to medium brown||Reddish-brown to white|
|Durability||Highly durable||Heartwood is Durable|
|Hardness (Janka Scale)||1,070 lbf. to 2,330 lbf.||450 lbf.|
|Strength||Extremely strong||Lightweight but strong|
|Maintenance||Easy to maintain||Easy to maintain|
|Suitability for outdoors||Yes||Yes|
|Suitability for wood carving||Yes||Yes|
|Workability||Easy to work with||Easy to work with|
|Smell||Leathery smell||Subtle fragrance|
|Availability||Limited availability||More available than teak|
|Special features if any||No special features||No special features|
In this post, we included two extremely valuable types of wood, teak, and redwood. Even though one is a hardwood and the other a softwood, they both are revered by woodworkers for their special properties
Use either of these two types of wood in your next woodworking project according to your requirements, and expect some fine results.