There are several trees mentioned in the Bible, including the cedars of Lebanon, chestnut, fir, sycamore, and fig. This isn’t a piece about the Bible, but it is interesting and might serve you well in a game of Trivial Pursuit.
Another wood, this one mentioned in Exodus several times, is acacia wood. Acacia trees were common in the Middle East in olden times but now can be found all over the world. Ancient furniture makers knew it was a good choice for furniture, as being a solid and dense hardwood. It was even suggested the Ark of the Covenant was made with acacia wood.
So, just how strong is acacia wood?
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How Does Acacia Compare With Other Hardwoods?
Among the ranks of dense and durable woods, acacia wood ranks very high. Is acacia better than oak, you ask? It is 23% harder than white oak, at least equally durable, and wears well both outside and inside your home.
These characteristics make it ideal for heavy-use construction. Great Britain even used acacia wood to build their naval fleet back in the days of empire expansion. Its density makes it water-resistant, and thus boat-making is an apt use.
That density and strength also make it a good choice for indoor shelves, as it can support heavy objects without sagging or bending.
Is Acacia a Good Wood For Furniture?
As mentioned earlier, acacia is an excellent choice for any wood project that requires a dense, strong, heavy wood. It is resistant to wear and tear, as well as decay, and is very suitable for heavy-use items like tables, bed frames, and benches.
Acacia is highly scratch-resistant compared to other hardwoods due to its density, durability, and naturally fine texture. It compares favorably with teak wood in this regard. Teak has a higher natural oil content and thus a slightly higher density than acacia in general. However, among the grades of acacia are some with a higher density and hardness value than teak.
One final note on the teak vs acacia comparison – teak can last for several decades without treatment, while acacia requires occasional treatment to last as long. This becomes an important consideration with outdoor acacia furniture.
When properly treated with a weather-proofing finish, acacia can withstand outdoor elements for almost as long. However, you will be well-served when the warmer weather is over, bringing acacia outdoor furniture indoors for storage under a tarp for the colder months.
When in use outside, it is also wise to use acacia furniture on your deck or patio. If acacia wood is unsealed, constant contact with the ground may cause it to discolor.
Does Acacia Wood Crack?
Under certain conditions, acacia wood will crack. It is sensitive to wide temperature variations, and if exposed to heat, it will crack. Too much heat breaks down the natural fibers of the wood, and it will become brittle.
Is Acacia Wood Waterproof?
Acacia wood should be treated with a weather-proof finish if the furniture is to be used outdoors to protect it from moisture. As noted earlier, it should be used on a deck or patio rather than directly on the ground to avoid discoloring. If you follow these suggestions, your acacia wood outdoor furniture will last you for decades.
Finishing Off Your Acacia Project
Acacia wood has a warm and beautiful grain. It might be a shame to hide it with a coat of paint. However, its density does lend itself to taking paint well and with a smooth finish.
It doesn’t scratch easily, and its water-resistance quality keeps it from warping easily, as well. It’s also naturally antibacterial, as are many kinds of wood, so it is suitable for food serving trays, bowls, and even kitchen countertops. If used for countertops, be sure to give it at least two coats of natural oil, such as Raw Linseed Oil.
Natural acacia wood is usually a medium to dark brown, with red, gold, and tan highlights. A neutral wood wax makes a lovely and warm finish that allows its beautiful grain to present well. Tinted stains, though, will work well with acacia, including a black walnut that can add a deep and rich appearance.
Is Acacia Wood Expensive?
Acacia wood is a great product and can be perfect for the right projects. We’ve mentioned many in this piece, and even flooring would be a beautiful use for it.
But, compared to other hardwoods, acacia wood is expensive. It’s a somewhat exotic wood, widely admired for its beauty and appreciated for its many benefits. This makes it desirable, and that leads to a higher cost. An acacia floor would be moderately more expensive than oak or maple. However, it is not as expensive as teak for outdoor furniture projects.
Some additional notes about acacia wood are the other names by which it is known:
- Golddust Wattle
- Wallangara Wattle
- Weeping Hairy Wattle
- Asian walnut
- And blackwood, which can grow to nearly 100 feet tall.
It is native to Australia and now has over 1,350 varieties all over the world. It is an excellent alternative to the more expensive teak and has most of the same qualities
If you want something a little different to work within your home woodworking shop, consider acacia for a new dining room table, tabletop, or maybe even a new kitchen countertop or island tabletop. It’s a beautiful wood, and your project with it will last a lifetime.