When you look around at your friend's recently furnished homes, you're likely to see more use of acacia wood rather than only pine or mahogany pieces. The wood is a bit more exotic because it's not grown in the UK, so it's not been widely used until now. But the word is spreading about this renewable tree species.
Let's learn more about this exciting 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. It is hardwood, so it's suitable for timber, logs, and sturdy furniture like chairs, tables, and other items in the home. There are 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.
Acacia Wood Properties
- Acacia wood is naturally resistant to water and moisture, making it perfect for humid climates like 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 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 significant takeaway from an interview with Rajiv, a furniture maker for the past 35 years, who praised that Acacia products are resistant to scratches, unlike some other wood species that show scratches more obviously.
The wood is used in the kitchen or bathroom and lends depth to its surroundings. The natural color is a dark brown hue with an attractive rich grain. This wood has valuable antibacterial properties, especially fungus, which makes it worthwhile 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 suitable for food bowls because it provides clean curves where food can move freely with no rough edges to store crumbs or catch food.
How to Keep Acacia Wood's Durability?
To ensure the long-term viability of any acacia wood furniture, it must 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; prolonged exposure to water could damage the product. Therefore, soaking the wood is a bad idea. Medium water temperature is acceptable, but extremes of either cold or hot temperatures could damage 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 yearly, 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 an excellent renewable resource that cleans the air, as other forests do. When first cut, it also has a sweet aroma, which is different from other trees.
Whether you like the darker finish of Acacia wood, the renewable forestry aspects due to its faster organic growth rate, or that it has solid 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. It became more popular as a decorative piece due to its beautiful color and grain pattern. Another everyday use of Acacia wood is in the manufacturing of furniture.
It can be turned into paper pulp for bookbinding and printing material.
Its beautiful color has been inlaid into guitars, making them highly collectible due to their rarity.
Acacia Wood Types
The different types of acacia wood are unique in their properties and qualities. We will cover five species of this unique 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, making it ideal for high-quality furniture since its qualities make it sturdy and robust. Acacia Koa is a beautiful type of Acacia wood; it has golden hues 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 its natural color too drastically, which allows them to retain its original appeal.
It does have a significant amount of sapwood, so care should be taken while staining or finishing Koa woods if you want 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 instruments like guitars, 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 very durable. It is often used for furniture and 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, making it ideal for use in homes worldwide today. This species of tree has 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 with a lovely grain pattern. It is challenging and heavy and has a medium to coarse texture. She is considered by many as the most valuable kind because she has both.
It is used mainly in flooring applications because of its durability and hardness properties—a great choice if you want 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, making 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 weapons.