In praise of Miami teak…

Folks around boats tend to become obsessed with costly materials which they give near-magical properties to whether or not they deserve it.

So yeah, let’s talk teak… Or to be more precise, why you don’t want to use teak.

Truth be told, teak in my opinion, is a far cry from what I’d consider a good boatbuilding wood. It’s expensive, hard to glue, and judging from the number of boats with rotten teak I’ve come across, not at all as rot-resistant as people give it credit for.

The funny thing is that back when teak started being used for ship building it was mainly used because it was the cheapest thing around. How it has become the king of marine lumber is more about good marketing and a whole lot of folks who don’t really know the first thing about wood.

That said, I’m a big fan of what’s known as Miami teak which you might be more acquainted with as pressure-treated southern yellow pine.

Yeah, the cheap stuff…

How cheap you ask? Last time I looked pressure-treated southern yellow pine costs all of $100-$200 a cubic meter and, for those of a curious nature, decent but not great teak these days is going for $2500 a cubic meter.

Quite the difference wouldn’t you say?

The one downside of pressure treated wood is that the copper involved tends to have a tenacious ability to show through stains, epoxy, and varnish. Personally I find that slight green tinge gives me a certain feeling of comfort knowing that my wood is well protected from a lot of what causes “soft” wood and I embrace it as being a goodly thing…

Then again, I used to have a Fender “Wildwood” guitar which I loved. The Wildwood process being that they’d inject the growing trees with water soluble dyes giving them what I thought was a very interesting look…

So for me that slight green tinge is just something that makes the Miami Teak all that more interesting.

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