Acacia wood is a popular and durable variety of hardwood. It has a wide range of uses including in furniture, architecture, food additives, and decorative objects. It has a deep and rich color and distinctive texture that many people love.
Acacia wood is also a sustainable choice. This means that you can buy furniture that looks amazing and feel good about its longevity and environmental impact
What is Acacia Wood
Acacia trees are common in tropical and subtropical regions like Africa, Asia, and Australia. It is part of the pea family, Fabaceae, along with 160 other trees and shrubs.
The acacia tree is adaptable and grows in many different climates. There are more than one thousand varieties of acacia growing all over the world. Each tree variety adapts to its particular climate. The trees on the African savannah have wide flat umbrella-shaped crowns. These capture all the available sunlight.
These trees are thorny and bear pods and fragrant white and yellow flowers. The bark is filled with tannins. Acacia trees are also called thorntrees, whistling thorns, or wattles. The word wattle means “to weave”. Many people throughout the world use acacia branches to weave roofs and fences.
Characteristics of Acacia Wood
To understand why acacia wood is such a popular option for furniture and decorative objects, we can look at the various qualities of acacia wood.
Acacia is a strong and durable wood variety. It is stronger than hickory and oak. It also has natural tannins that make it resistant to moisture. This is one of the main reasons people create acacia wood outdoor furniture as well as indoor furniture. This wood will last for many years with proper finishing and maintenance.
There are many varieties of acacia wood and not all have the same density. Some varieties are quite dense and hard. One of the most prized varieties of acacia tree is the Hawaiian koa. It has a hardness similar to hickory.
The most common species available in the United States are Hawaiian Koa and Australian Blackwood. Acacia wood ranges in color from yellow to golden brown. Aged acacia wood has a reddish or deep brown hue.
Acacia wood takes stains well, so it is easy to transform acacia wood furniture from light to dark. The color of acacia wood lasts well over time, though acacia wood furniture that you have outdoors may experience fading in the sunlight.
Like the hardness of acacia, the texture of acacia wood varies by species. In general, it has a medium to coarse texture. The grain is straight or curvy, but it is not regular.
From piece to piece, the appearance of acacia wood is not the same as they might look uneven and knotty. This works well for people who are looking for wood with a rustic and variable style. This may not appeal to everyone who wants wood with a more refined and even appearance.
Sustainability of Acacia Wood
Acacia trees are adaptable to many climates and grown all over the world. In general, acacia trees are fast-growing and easy to replace. They grow well without fertilizer and do not often need pesticides as they are bug and fungus-resistant.
Of the two varieties of acacia wood available in the US, Hawaiian Koa has lower transportation costs than Australian Blackwood, but there are methods for decreasing the carbon footprint for transportation.
If you are an eco-conscious consumer, it is important to look for certifications of sustainability such as those awarded by the Forest Sustainability Council (FSC) and the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Both of these bodies award certifications if the wood is farmed and cut in a sustainable way for the owners and the communities they serve.
Acacia Wood Pros and Cons
Acacia wood is beautiful and durable hardwood, but there are disadvantages of acacia wood that you should consider before you purchase it.
- Durable – Acacia wood is long-lasting, dense, rot and insect-resistant. It does resist moisture, but it is not waterproof.
- Sustainable – Acacia trees are fast-growing and can be harvested in a way that is sustainable. They are a good replacement for more slow-growing teak wood.
- Beauty – Acacia has a gorgeous color from yellow to deep mahogany. The varied grain and knots are beloved by many for its rustic quality.
- Maintenance – Acacia wood is easy to maintain over time. Acacia furniture keeps its color well. You can oil acacia wood to keep it looking its best, but in general, you can clean it with just soap and water.
- Cost – Acacia wood is more expensive than domestic hardwood varieties like mapleand oak, but it has greater longevity.
- Irregular Grain– If you prefer a wood with a more regular grain pattern, acacia wood is not a good choice for you.
Uses of Acacia Wood
Acacia wood is used in so many varied applications from furniture to hardwood floors.
Acacia Wood Floors
The grain of acacia wood floors is more variable and dynamic than that of other wood varieties like oak. It has a warm color with a slight reddish hue. Solid wood acacia flooring costs between $3-$8 per square foot.
Acacia Wood Furniture
One of the most popular applications for acacia wood is for furniture. This acacia wood dining table from Joss & Main is called the Vancamp Dining Table. This acacia dining table is crafted from solid wood. It has a sand-blasted antique finish for a natural and textured look.
Acacia Wood Instruments
Acacia is a tonewood which means that it is a variety of wood that has tonal properties. These are dense woods that are stable over time. Acacia is a common tonewood and used in many stringed instruments like guitars and ukuleles. This classical guitar from thomann uses solid acacia wood for its top, back, and sides. It has a gorgeous warm color and distinctive grain pattern.
Acacia Wood Canoe Dish
Acacia wood was used throughout history to make surfboards and canoes. This is not as common anymore, but this dish plays on acacia’s past life. Island Wood features this acacia dish shaped like a canoe. Use it to serve olives, nuts, and small fruit.
Acacia Outdoor Furniture
Because of its natural resistance to moisture, acacia is a popular wood for outdoor furniture. The Forest Gate Olive Acacia Wood furniture from Bed, Bath & Beyond features an acacia wood table, bench, and chairs. They are solid acacia wood and have a chevron pattern. This furniture has been stained to increase its weather resistance.
Acacia is a durable and beautiful variety of wood, but it does have variable texture and a distinctive grain that not everyone prefers. It has a lower price point than comparable woods like teak, but it does not have the same level of moisture resistance. Acacia wood is a sustainable choice for those who want to make sure that their choices are as beneficial for the world as they are for themselves.
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