Teak veneer is composed of a thin layer of teak, Tectona grandis, laid over a thicker substrate. It is frequently used in situations where solid teak was once employed, such as in furniture, flooring, paneling, ship decking, automobile and airplane interiors. The veneer is even used for inlays on musical instruments.
Although solid teak grown in the wild is still available, ecologically responsible buyers prefer to buy teak that has been grown in managed forests. This reduces damage to the world's rainforests, so that biodiversity is retained and global warming is limited. Buying responsibly grown and harvested teak and veneer also ensures that money from logging is not used to fund terrorist groups or trade in illegal weapons. Like diamonds, teak is a valuable resource, and the money it produces is easily diverted.
Many people prefer to purchase teak veneer items instead of those made from solid teak. Veneer makes it possible to use a small amount of this rare wood to cover large surfaces. Of course, using veneer also reduces the cost of the finished object or structure.
Teak veneer is shaved from large logs. Each piece is usually 1/8 or 1/16 inch (0.3 cm or 0.2 cm) thick. This veneer can be purchased in bundles cut from the same log, called flitches, or it can be purchased already fixed to a substrate for easy installation. The wood grain is usually matched when installing veneer.
Caring for teak veneer is much the same as caring for solid teak. In some locations such as flooring, a teak sealer should be used to protect the surface of the wood. In other places, oils designed for use with teak can be used to polish and protect the item. Teak can be washed gently, but it should be dried quickly.