Difference between Teak Wood and Sheesham
Key difference: Teak wood is a type of hardwood. It is essentially sourced from the Tectona grandis tree species, which is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Burma. As a wood, teak has a smooth grain and texture. It has a yellowish brown hue, which may mature overtime to a silvery-grey finish. In fact, teak is famous for its high oil content, high tensile strength and tight grain. Sheesham is essentially a type of rosewood. It is sourced from the Dalbergia sissoo species of trees which is more commonly known as Indian Rosewood. It is commonly used for making furniture, especially cabinets. This is mainly due to the fact that the wood is highly durable and long lasting.
Both Teak Wood and Sheesham are types of hardwood. Hardwood is the wood that comes from an angiosperm tree. This is a type of tree that has seeds that are enclosed, be it in pods, a shell, a covering or in a fruit. For example, apples or nuts and seeds like acorns and walnuts. These types of seeds allow birds and insects to be attracted to the flowers of the tree and be able to carry the pollen to other trees. This is also the reason why hardwood trees are not often bunched together but are spaced apart and often have other trees in-between them.
Most hardwood trees are also deciduous is nature. A deciduous tree is a tree that loses its leaves annually. Hardwood trees are also slower to grow, taking their own time. Due to this, most hardwood is dense. This is also the reason that hardwood is expensive, as it takes longer to grow. Some famous hardwoods include maple, balsa, oak, elm, mahogany, and sycamore.
Teak wood is essentially sourced from the Tectona grandis tree species, which is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Burma. However, due to the high demand of teak wood, the Tectona grandis is also grown on plantations in Africa and the Caribbean. Still, Burma accounts for almost one third of the teak in the world, hence teakwood is also at times referred to as Burmese Teak. Regionally, teakwood is known as 'Segun' in Bengali and as ‘Sagwan’ in most of India.
As a wood, teak has a smooth grain and texture. It has a yellowish brown hue, which may mature overtime to a silvery-grey finish. In fact, teak is famous for its high oil content, high tensile strength and tight grain. Due to the high oil content, teak is known to durable even when it is not treated with oil or varnish. It is due to this oil content that teakwood has a leather-like smell when it is freshly milled. Teak is also resistant to timber termite and other pests. It also has a low shrinkage ratio, which means that the wood can be used in areas with high or fluctuating moisture content. However, teak contains silica in the wood, which may lead to severe blunting on edged tools. Due to this only the most experience woodworkers use teak.
Teak is often used to make furniture, especially countertops, as well as indoor flooring, veneer, carving, turnings, and other small wood projects, such as cutting boards. Teak is also commonly used to make doors, window frames, and columns and beams. Furthermore, because of its high oil content, it is also often used to make outdoor furniture, as the wood’s natural oils make it resistant to water, as well as to rot, fungi and mildew. This has also allowed teak to be used for boat building, boat decks, etc.
As a hardwood, teak is sourced from slow growing trees. The high quality teak is sourced from trees are that are at least 50 years old. The teakwood can be sourced from trees that are younger in age, but this timber in not considered to be of a high quality.
Sheesham is essentially a type of rosewood. It is sourced from the Dalbergia sissoo species of trees which is more commonly known as Indian Rosewood. The trees are deciduous in nature, and the wood is a hardwood. The tree is native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southern Iran. Regionally, the wood is referred to as sheesham, sisu, tahli, Tali, Irugudujava or jag.
Sheesham or Shisham has become famous internationally as a premier timber species of rosewood. It is commonly used for making furniture, especially cabinets. This is mainly due to the fact that the wood is highly durable and long lasting. It is in fact decay resistant. The heartwood is extremely durable and is very resistant to dry-wood termites; however, a disadvantage of sheesham is that the sapwood is prone to woodboring beetles. Hence, the owner must ensure that the furniture is free of the beetles or its eggs and that piece of furniture is well maintained.
Sheesham is also used to make veneers and plywood. Additionally, it is also used to make musical instruments, specifically for percussion due to the resonance abilities of all rosewood. The Rajasthani percussion instrument, 'Kartaals' are often made of sheesham. Sheesham may also be used for flooring, agricultural tools, boatbuilding, carving, skis and turning objects. Furthermore, it is also commonly used as fuel and the tree is planted on roadsides, along canals and as a shade tree for tea plantations.
The heartwood of sheesham ranges from golden brown to a darker reddish brown, while the sapwood ranges from white to pale brownish white. Sheesham has a straight grain though it can be interlocked. The texture of Sheesham is medium to coarse with a good natural luster.
Image Courtesy: eurasian.com, true-furniture.co.uk