What You Need to Know About Acacia Wood
When you look around at your friend’s homes that have been furnished recently, you’re likely to see more use of acacia wood, rather than only seeing pine or mahogany pieces. The wood is a bit more exotic because it’s not grown in the UK, so it’s not been more widely used up until now. But the word is spreading about this renewable tree species.
Let’s learn a bit more about this interesting wood to see how it’s different.
What is Acacia Wood?
Acacia is a type of wood that grows in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. However, it originated in Australia and is native there. There are actually more than one thousand varieties of Acacia trees in Australia, so the grain and overall appearance are different, with different furniture made from this wood species. It is hardwood, so it’s suitable for timber, logs, and for sturdy types of furniture like chairs, tables, and other items in the home.
Acacia Wood properties
- Acacia wood is naturally resistant to water and moisture, making it perfect for humid climates such as Amazonia
- Due to the durability of acacia wood, both freshly cut pieces and seasoned wood can be used in many applications.
- Acacia wood is lightweight and durable, making it a perfect material for musical instruments.
- The presence of tannin and extractives that impart a rich, dark color to the acacia wood
- A high density makes it very durable when used as lumber
- It is both rot-, insect-, termite-, and fungal resistant
- Acacia wood has high resistance against denting and decay, making it an excellent material for outdoor uses such as furniture or decks
How Is Acacia Different from Other Species of Tree?
The durability of Acacia, plus its resistance to water damage, are key selling points in products made from acacia wood. This was a major takeaway I got from an interview with Rajiv, a furniture maker for the past 35 years, who praised the fact that Acacia products are quite resistant to scratches, unlike some other wood species that show scratches more obviously.
The natural color is a dark brown hue with a rich grain that’s attractive. Used in the kitchen or bathroom, the wood lends depth to its surroundings. There are useful antibacterial properties to this wood too, especially types of fungus, which makes it useful when made into kitchen food bowls, serving bowls, and other kitchenware. Plus, the waterproof nature of this wood means kitchenware won’t warp out of shape from water damage either.
Does It Have a Distinctive Feel?
It’s possible to polish the wood to make it feel smooth as silk, well almost, but it naturally has a smooth wood finish, so that’s hardly necessary. It’s certainly good for food bowls because it provides clean curves where food can move around freely with no rough edges to store crumbs or catch food on.
How to Keep Acacia Wood’s Durability?
To ensure the long-term viability of any acacia wood furniture, it needs to be hand-washed carefully and not placed in the dishwasher. It is a bad idea to leave the bowls in the sink to soak for a while, along with the other plates and dishes if you don’t have a dishwasher; the prolonged exposure to water could damage the product. Therefore, soaking the wood is a bad idea. Medium water temperature is fine, but extremes of either cold or hot temperatures could damage the acacia wood by making it brittle.
Renewable Forestry at Work
One of the advantages of the Acacia trees is that when harvested, they grow fast when replanted. Pine trees typically grow about 7% biologically every year, but Acacia beats this hands-down. Due to the speed of natural growth, it’s difficult for forestry companies to run out of wood supply and deplete the forest in the process. As such, it’s a good renewable resource that also cleans the air as other forests do too. When first cut, it also has a sweet aroma, which is different from other trees too.
Whether you simply like the darker finish of Acacia wood, the renewable forestry aspects due to its faster organic growth rate, or that it has a strong visual appearance that compliments any room, the popularity of this wood species continues to grow as more homeowners learn about it and express a preference for it.
Uses for Acacia Wood
Acacia wood has been used for centuries as a building material. In time, it became more popular as a decorative piece due to its beautiful color and grain pattern. Another common use of Acacia wood is in the manufacturing of furniture.
It can be turned into paper pulp for bookbinding and printing material.
Due to its beautiful color, it has been inlaid into guitars making them highly collectible due to their rarity.
Acacia Wood Types
The different types of acacia wood are so unique with their own properties and qualities. We will cover 5 species of this amazing and hardy type of wood:
1. Acacia Koa
-common name: Hawaiian Koa
-Janka hardness rating 1,170 lbf (5200N)
-density: 38 lbs/ft3 (610 kg/m3)
This species of acacia is one of the most expensive woods in the world and this makes it ideal for high-quality furniture pieces since its qualities make it very sturdy and strong. Acacia Koa is a beautiful type of Acacia wood, it has golden hues that are unique to this species.
This type of acacia has a reddish-brown color with dark black streaks or veins throughout the tree's grain structure. This adds to the beauty of the piece when made into furniture
Koa wood works well with stains because they do not alter their natural color too drastically which allows them to retain their original appeal
It does have a significant amount of sapwood so care should be taken while staining or finishing Koa woods if you to keep some sapwood visible
It’s native to the Hawaiian Islands and was traditionally used for making canoes because of its durability. Today it's still used in different types of instruments like guitars as well as flooring and furniture.
2. Acacia Melanoxylon
-origin: Tasmania, Eastern Australia.
-common name: Australian blackwood, Tasmanian blackwood, Acacia blackwood
-Janka Hardness: 1,160 lbf (5,180 N)
-density: 40 lbs/ft3 (640 kg/m³)
This acacia wood is a very durable wood. It is often used for furniture, flooring and can be found in high-end projects because of its aesthetic value
This type of acacia contains black markings that give this species its name
Acacia melanoxylon has been used as construction material for houses around the world due to how sturdy it is
This type of acacia was popularized by Queen Victoria who had installed floors made from Acacia Melanoxylon at her residence Balmoral Castle
In addition to durability, this type of acacia shows great resistance against termites which makes it ideal for use in homes around the world today. This species of trees have also been known to help with respiratory issues such as asthma when burned with other woods
3. Acacia Cambagei
-common name: Gidgee
-Janka hardness: 4,270 lbf (18,990 N)
-density: 72 lbs/ft3 (1,150 kg/m³)
This type of wood is yellow in color with a lovely grain pattern. It is very hard and heavy while also having a medium to coarse texture. Considered by many as the most valuable kind because it has both.
It is used mostly in flooring applications because of its durability and hardness properties. A great choice if you are looking to get durable floors.
4. Acacia Acuminata
-origin: Southern Australia
-common name: Raspberry Jam
-Janka hardness: 3,100 lbf (13,810 N)
-density: 65 lbs/ft3 (1,040 kg/m³)
This acacia wood has a dark brown-reddish heartwood while its sapwood is yellowish. Raspberry jam has high durability which makes it ideal for fence posts and turned objects.
When this species of acacia wood is cut, it has a distinctive smell of raspberry jam, hence its name.
5. Acacia Baileyana
-common name: Cootamundra wattle, Bailey Acacia
-Janka hardness rating: 1710 lbf (7600N)
This acacia is from a small tree or large shrub. Aboriginals have used this acacia wood to make spears, shields, and other types of weapons.
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