If you are looking for outdoor furniture, not just any piece will do, you for sure want something that is timeless, durable and easy to maintain, though there are many types of wood available in the market, acacia is one of the most popular option so, be sure to consider acacia wood after all it looks totally fabulous and is less expensive than teak but offers similar benefits.
This article covers all about this unique type of wood, its features, wood furniture care and its pros and cons. So, if you want to upgrade your backyard experience, then this article is worth considering today.
What Is Acacia Wood?
The name acacia comes from the Greek word ἀκακία, meaning thorny Egyptian tree. Acacia wood is a type of wood that is derived from the Australian native acacia tree and shrubs. this Australian product is now also found in Asia, the pacific islands, Africa and parts of the Americas. There are now 1350 species of Acacia worldwide.
The acacia tree has many different names such as mimosa, thorn tree, Asian walnut and wattle. Acacia grows on well-drained soil, in dry and sunny habitats. People cultivate acacia for ornamental purposes and because of its wood application in the industry of furniture.
The sustainable exotic hardwood that is derived from the tree is suitable for building long-lasting items of furniture and homewares. Other than that, compounds isolated from acacia have applications in medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
The species of acacia we use for our furniture is bulbul (Acacia Nilotica); it is native to India, the Middle east and Africa, and is treated as an invasive species in Australia. We use this species because it is affordable, it is easy to work with, durable and sustainable.
What are Its Properties and Qualities?
Acacia’s durability means it is not scratched easily, is water resistant and is highly resistant to fungus. It is claimed that even if acacia wood is not treated or protected in any way, it can last upto 40 years. Like many other types of woods, acacia is naturally antibacterial, and is therefore safe to use for preparing or serving food.
Acacia wood usually appears in a wide variety of colors from light amber tint to a dark mahogany hue. It has an attractive natural grain pattern which can be nearly straight or wavy that gives a warm and rich touch to any home. This unique wood usually contains a high number of knots due to a high number of branches that grow from acacia trees and shrubs. No two acacia slabs are alike!
Interesting Acacia Facts
- Acacia usually grows to a height of 40 feet. But some types can reach 70 feet in height and 3 feet in diameter.
- Most acacia trees are fast growers, but they usually only live 20 to 30 years.
- Most species of acacia have green, pinnate leaves. They are densely arranged on the branches and create the impression of a giant fern.
- Fruits of acacia are dry pods. It is elongated and filled with 5 to 6 brown and black seeds.
- Acacia can be propagated by seeds or cuttings.
- Leaves of acacia are an important source of food for camels, goats, giraffes and other cattle.
- Many types of acacias are protected by long, sharp thorns and an extremely unpleasant flavor that discourages animals from eating the leaves and barks.
- Flowers of acacia are used in the industry of perfumes and cosmetics.
- Many varieties are valued for their long roots which help stabilize the soil in areas threatened by erosion.
- Strong and durable wood of acacia was popular and widely used for the manufacture of ships in the past. today, acacia is mostly used to produce flooring, furniture, toys, jewelry and tools.
- Acacia Senegal found in Sudan and the northern Sahara, is the main source of gum Arabic, this substance has been used for over several thousand years in paints and watercolors and is also used as a thickening agent in the manufacture of candy, soft drinks, frozen desserts, and I the making of silk, paper and cosmetics.
- Several species of acacia will glow under dark light. So, if you are ever unsure if some wood is truly acacia, shining a dark light on it can help you determine if it is really acacia wood.
- Thorns which no longer house ants make a whistling sound when the wind blows over the entrance hole that is why they are also known as whistling acacias.
What Is Acacia Wood Used for?
Acacia is the best alternative to the more expensive teak wood. There are several uses for the acacia wood, as a result demand tends to be very strong. The high demand of acacia wood allows the suppliers to keep the price low, so you will always be able to buy acacia products in affordable range. some of the most common uses are:
- Outdoor and indoor furniture
- Ship building
- Its water-soluble gum is used as a ticketing agent in foods.
- Due to its high resistance, it is also used to make support beams for the construction of building.
- Due to its antibacterial properties, it is used for making countertops and cutting boards.
- Another popular use of acacia wood is to create stunning flooring.
- Artistic wood pieces such as wood bowls and sculptures, parrot perches and play stands for birds.
- Some people use the acacia extracts as a detoxifying treatment.
Acacia Wood Outdoor Furniture: Pros
The babul variety of acacia is not only easy to work with, but it also hardens well after it is dried. You can easily shape it into different items. This property allows us to craft them into beautiful acacia wood benches, dining tables and side tables without having to compromise the high quality of our furniture. These qualities also make it possible to use acacia wood for flooring. Its workability prior to drying is commendable and allows us to craft some beautiful life edge pieces.
Acacia wood, especially the bulbul variety, grows plentifully in Asia, India, Middle east and is an invasive species in Australia. Some farmers take advantage of its fast-growing feature to create tree farms with it. And therefore, the price remains reasonable in comparison to the other exotic woods.
Acacia wood is highly scratch-resistant in comparison to other hardwoods. It is so durable that you barely need to worry about your outdoor furniture. In case you do get scratches on your furniture then a simple touch up marker will usually correct the situation. If there is a severe issue, a little wood filler and a new lacquer finish will usually create a stunning new surface to use.
Acacia wood has proven itself to be an extremely durable wood. The density and hardness of the acacia wood makes it the most appropriate material for heavy-use pieces such as dining tables and dining benches. If you properly maintain items made from the Babul, then the pieces you have at home can last for several decades.
Acacia trees are one of the fastest-growing trees in the world. With over 1,300 different varieties available, Acacia wood is accessible in almost every market of the world. Also, many farmers harvest acacia trees after they have finished producing the sap used for gum Arabic. And sell it for profit instead of burning it or creating mulch.
Acacia wood furniture is lighter in weight than other solid hardwood furniture products.
Get To Choose from Solid Acacia or Engineered Acacia
While shopping for acacia wood furniture you will get a couple of options to choose from. Choosing solid acacia furniture will be the best investment since the natural strength is what makes it long lasting. Engineered Babul can help you to enjoy a variety of finishes, colors, and other design elements to enhance the space.
Acacia Wood Outdoor Furniture: Cons
Acacia wood is a living, breathing raw material that needs a lot of help to survive. The maintenance of acacia wood is high as compared to aluminum and many other metal types of furniture and requires some intensive care procedures.
The weight and density are also a potential disadvantage. Although acacia wood slabs are not very heavy individually the acacia wood furniture itself is heavy. Which makes them difficult to move around.
Sensitive To Temperature
Acacia wood performs well in a temperate environment with a consistent climate. But the acacia furniture will not do well when placed close to an extreme heat source. when you expose acacia wood to direct heat, the wood often cracks or bows.
The product is so sensitive that you will want to rotate your furniture periodically to ensure all angles receive the same amount of light and air exposure over time.
If left in rain or snow for many days, can cause swelling and bulge on the acacia wood furniture.
It Can Buckle, Crumble, Or Break Under the Right Conditions
If the moisture is pulled out from the acacia wood for any reason, the material becomes brittle. It can break very easily, even when you are sitting in a chair made from this product.
Acacia wood is an exotic wood so transporting the wood from Africa or Australia can be very difficult.
Furniture May Darken with Time
With time, acacia wood furniture may get dark. When you expose Acacia wood items to light and air, then the light color of the original natural material begins to darken. However, it can sustain for years after years if well-maintained and polished.
There Can Be Numerous Defects and Variations to The Wood
Acacia wood comes with many defects including knots that you will usually find with hardwood products. You should also expect acacia to come with several different color variations or color contrast.
Scratches That Go Against the Grain Can Be Challenging to Remove
Usually, it is easy to fill the scratches on acacia wood furniture, but cross-grain damage can be exceptionally difficult to repair.
Acacia Wood Has Irregular Grain Structures
Irregular grains are one of the circumstantial cons of acacia wood. The irregularities in the grain mean that acacia wood can have an unpredictable design. Many people love twist and knots however, the grain structure does not have a universal appeal to it.
Also, you will find acacia a bit more challenging to work with if you are constructing the furniture yourself.
Tips For Maintaining Your Acacia Wood Furniture
- Always opt for water-based lacquer finish acacia wood furniture so that you do not have to worry about water spillage.
- Wipe the furniture daily with a soft cloth. A slightly moistened cloth is advisable to ensure all dust stays on the cloth.
- Avoid placing your furniture in places where it gets in contact with direct sunlight. This can cause fading and in extreme cases can cause cracking.
- Avoid placing furniture next to fireplaces or radiators as this can cause warping.
- Wipe down your furniture periodically with a slightly damp or dry dust cloth.
- You should avoid polish or cleaning products containing silicone, which can dry out natural wood over time. Also do not use detergents or any cleaning products that contain ammonia. These will take moisture out of the wood and wear down the finish much faster.
- liquids like alcohol, deodorants, and perfumes will pull moisture from wood when left, causing cracking. Therefore, avoid exposing the wood to such liquids. Use placemats and coasters when resting drinks or hot dishes on the furniture.
Overall, acacia is a great wood for your furniture. However, like everything, acacia has a few advantages and disadvantages. The acacia wood furniture pros and cons are many and worthy of anyone who is thinking of investing in some long-lasting furniture.
You will need to care for the items daily to achieve the best results, but it is an investment that is worth considering. Now that you are aware of both the pros and cons of acacia wood furniture you are in a better position to make a decision that suits you.