Acacia is a fine but expensive wood due to its demand. In many countries it is scarce. It has some versatile properties that make it a popular type of wood to use for furniture and many other applications. You will find Acacia trees growing in Asia, Africa, America, and Australia.
Why is acacia so expensive? You may ask. Many factors contribute to the high cost of acacia wood. Despite the high price of this versatile type of wood, it has some disadvantages which as a woodworker it is worthwhile to know. Despite these disadvantages, acacia continues to be more expensive than many other kinds of wood.
Acacia: General Background
Acacia is a dense and hard type of wood that withstands all types of weather. It is highly durable which makes it a good choice for both indoor and outdoor applications. It is extremely hard with Janka hardness ratings that range from about 1,600 lbf. to 2,300 lbf.
The structure of the wood fibers is multidirectional which increases the friction while cutting and shaping it. Due to this reason, acacia is a difficult wood to process when dry.
The heartwood of acacia is reddish-brown with dark streaks while the sapwood is lighter. You need to handle acacia carefully as it tends to crack.
Acacia: Pros and Cons
As we mentioned above, acacia has several advantages which makes it a favored choice despite its relatively high price. But then again, it has a few downsides. Let’s have a quick look at these pros and cons before we go on to see why acacia is such an expensive wood:
Acacia is a durable wood and among the hardest types of wood, you can find. It has reasonable resistance to rot and insect attack. Because of its high durability, acacia is a good choice for making all types of furniture.
Acacia exhibits some stunning grain patterns and in combination with its reddish-brown color, it is attractive with a suitable finish.
Acacia has a natural resistance to bacteria. Therefore, it serves as a food-safe form of wood for kitchenware.
There are thousands of species of acacia widely available across the world. In some countries, acacia is even considered an invasive species. Due to its rapid growth and availability across the globe, acacia is considered a highly sustainable source of lumber.
Easy to Work With
Acacia can be difficult to work with if you don’t follow particular procedures. But if you take the necessary steps to finish it properly, you can get excellent results.
Because of its high durability and extreme hardness, acacia cannot be scratched easily. Due to its high scratch resistance, acacia serves well to make flooring and furniture.
Acacia is an expensive wood because of its high demand. Depending on the particular species, you could end up paying a lot more than for many other less exotic hardwoods.
Tends to Change Color
Due to prolonged exposure to sunlight, acacia can take on a dull grey patina. But it is not more prone to discoloration due to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun than any other type of wood.
Shows Up and Dust Easily
Another issue that you may face with acacia is that although it does not scratch easily when it does get scratched, the scratches show up easily. Dust and hair will also be more prominent on acacia surfaces.
Why is acacia wood so expensive?
Acacia tends to be more expensive than many other hardwoods. Although we cannot consider it a cheap wood, it is not as expensive as some other exotic woods like ebony, mahogany, rosewood, and teak.
We have discussed the advantages of acacia wood. Because of high demand, acacia tends to be more expensive than many other types of wood. Let us then consider each reason that makes acacia an expensive wood:
Acacia is not a native wood to America. Although it is abundantly available in Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia, it doesn’t grow naturally in the United States. Because of this reason acacia has to be exported to America from other countries which tend to push up the price of this wood.
Unique Grain Patterns
Acacia exhibits some of the most unique grain patterns that you can find in the wood across the world. Depending on how it is cut and the part of the tree trunk that it comes from, the wood grain patterns of acacia can vary wildly. It creates many different categories of acacia under different price brackets.
Whether it is to make flooring, furniture, or outdoor structures, the first consideration of any wood is durability. Acacia has a high resistance to insects, mold, rot, and bacteria. It also doesn’t scratch easily, making it a good choice for flooring.
While on the subject of flooring, the varied coloration of acacia ushers in some exciting possibilities for flooring of different colors and patterns. It is one of the major reasons for the high price of this wood.
While hard varieties of wood can be difficult to work with it is often a preferred choice if you are looking for an extremely hard type of wood. For various purposes, be it for flooring or furniture, acacia is a good choice as a hard type of wood.
The Janka hardness rating of acacia can vary from 1,160 lbf. to 2,300lbf. Furniture made from acacia can have a life of over 40 years. Therefore we can assume that the extreme hardness and durability of acacia make it an expensive type of wood.
Another factor perhaps that is not much discussed is the water resistance of acacia wood. Acacia has an interlocked grain structure with very tight pores. It prevents fungi from penetrating the wood and also makes the wood reasonably water-resistant.
So, acacia is well-suited to making high-traffic furniture like dining tables, work tables, and entertainment centers. The high demand for acacia for making this type of furniture makes it more expensive.
Easy to Plane and Varnish
It is difficult to cut acacia due to its extreme hardness. But once you have cut it to the required sizes, it is easy to plane and varnish. Acacia can also be easily molded making it the preferred choice for chairs, drawers, and desks. Here again, it creates a heavy demand and pushes up the price of the wood.
Acacia is extremely hard and strong. Its strength enables it to withstand heavy loads so you will find it used extensively for making shelves, heavy-duty boxes, workbenches, and various types of hardwood flooring.
Because acacia is such a strong type of wood coupled with its durability, it becomes one of the pricier types of wood.
Acacia is relatively affordable, attractive, and durable. When we talk about acacia being a more expensive type of wood, it is in comparison with certain other types of wood.
Acacia is more expensive than many other types of hardwood but not as expensive as other exotic woods. Therefore, compared with most types of wood acacia is expensive but there are still many types that are more expensive.
You will not find acacia used as extensively as maple or oak. But then, it is cheaper than teak and, in many ways, a good alternative to the king of wood. When we compare acacia to wood such as teak, although expensive, it is neither as expensive nor that difficult to procure.
So, acacia being rather expensive is still a cheaper option than teak and you can create many beautiful projects from this versatile and durable type of wood.