According to a BBC report, there are 60,000 species of trees in the world.
Each having a different texture, color, density, shrinkage and shine.
But today we would be discussing Acacia wood.
And why you should consider this outstanding wood type for your needs.
In fact, we are sure that this will be the only “Acacia Wood Guide” you would be needing.
So let’s roll!
What Is Acacia Wood
Known as wattle, acacia, or whistling thorn, it is a hardwood derived from trees that grow in America, Africa, Philippines and Australia but are native to the tropical regions of Africa and Australia.
Acacia wood tree is a genus of almost 160 species of shrubs and has some distinctive features:
Segmented leaflets with thorns on the ends
Small yellow flowers that grow in clusters
20-100 feet tall with flattened crown instead of rounded
General properties of Acacia wood
Although the different types greatly vary in properties but some inherent characteristics attached with the Acacia wood are as follows:
- It has a reddish-brown, deep hue, although there is a complete range of colors from light brown to dark red. There are golden grains as well as dull, brown ones. Two slabs of this wood would seldom be the same.
- It is a heavy wood; generally heavier than all other normal construction woods like Oak, Spruce and Pine
- It is very resistant to cracking/cracks
- It is highly prone to scratches
- The grain structure varies between straight to irregular (but normally wavy); no two Acacia planks are equal
Types of Acacia wood
There are variable references on the number of species of Acacia. Some quote it has as much as 1000 species while Spruce mentions 28 recognized types of this tree.
But we will be discussing the types which are helpful for humans in terms of woodworks (construction, furniture, tools, etc)
1. Babul (Acacia Nilotica)
Babul is the major Acacia specie that is used for the manufacture of furniture. It grows natively in Africa, the Arabian peninsula and the Indian Subcontinent.
Its abilities of affordability, durability and workability make it a suitable choice for furniture construction.
Babul trees are either burned down for fuel or consumed as datum for teeth cleaning and because they grow immensely, thus it is justified to develop working strings with this wood sustainably.
2. Hawaiian Koa
Native to the Hawaiian islands, this wood is considered sacred to the people of Hawaii and is largely used for the construction of musical instruments and sports equipment.
With an interlocked and ringed grain structure, it offers high shock absorption and bending stress, which renders usage in making furniture as well.
3. Acacia Mangium
Known as Hickory Wattle, it is a heartwood with yellowish-brown color and close grain structure.
Because of its strength and resistance to warping, it is used in dried form for flooring and construction of doors and windows.
4. Acacia Melanoxylon
Ranging from red-brown to golden, this wood is commonly known as Australian Blackwood.
It is considered to be a low-cost substitute to the Hawaiian Koa but it is not as hard as the Koa.
It machines easily, gives a nice finish and can be glued comfortably, therefore, is used to make furniture and gun stocks.
Acacia wood uses
You wouldn’t be searching for it, had you not been interested in finding its top uses.
This is what we will give you.
1. Acacia wood furniture
Sure every other wood is used for furniture but what makes this type so much superior.
It’s because of its qualities of durability, hardness, scratch resistance, sustainability and workability.
Care to go in a bit more depth:
Durability: Babul and Australian Blackwood are the top Acacia wood types used for furniture with a Janka Hardness rating of 2300 and 1160 respectively which makes it have a life of about 40 years.
Acacia has proven its quality of being highly durable. Its hardness and density makes it one of the most popular choices for furniture in recent times.
Dining tables, chairs, beds are being constructed from it and they are standing the test of time.
Scratch resistance: Because of the interlocked grain structure, it is very prone to scratches. Insects and fungi cannot penetrate this wood.
So you can easily make dining tables, entertainment centers and working tables out of it.
Sustainability: Because Acacia trees are so abundant in the universe, their consumption for furniture is regarded as sustainable.
Many farmers cut the trees only after the sap has been used or if they are utterly useless (and can only be used for furniture effectively).
Workability: Although it is difficult to saw but it can comfortably be planed and varnished which enhances the ease with which it can be molded into furniture items like chairs, desks and drawers.
Babul, before drying, can easily be worked to create smooth and desirable live edge pieces.
The slabs are long which also makes the manufacture of long articles like dining tables and benches so much easier.
2. Acacia wood flooring
This dynamic wood option grants a vibrant and unique touch to the warmness inherent in hardwoods. The knots and grains and more visible than normal hardwoods used for flooring.
If you write “Acacia wood flooring” in the search bar of your browser, you will come across many selling platforms like Homedepot, Floor and Decor, and Lowes.
What does this suggest?
That it is now normally used for flooring.
First, there is a pleasing variance in the color and pattern of each floor slab you put. From brown to red and gold, it will light up your room’s floor.
Second, it is one of the best hardwood floorings, so it will be able to sustain the foot traffic (and won’t get damaged).
Third, it offers natural resistance to water, so it won’t swell or anything. You can clean it with brooms and is a great wood flooring option for humid areas. Acacia can survive in such areas for years.
Fourth, it is scratch-resistant so you can easily move your furniture over it. Some suppliers even offer 50-year guarantee for their acacia wood flooring.
You can get it in the form of Solid, Engineered or Laminate form. You need to care more for every hardwood floor, let alone Acacia. Use a high-quality mop to clean it. Mop slippers can be used as well.
It is also resistant to pests since it contains natural oils so that problem is also solved.
3. Outdoor and patio furniture
What do you look in a patio table set?
That it should be lightweight, weatherproof, strong and attractive.
It contains natural oils which makes it rot-resistant. Also, it is water-resistant as discussed above. Drink wine in glasses or have juices fearlessly.
It is durable and hard so can take the hit pretty easily, be it falling over the floor due to strangled water hose or kids playing around it.
The wavy grain pattern and the mellow shine greatly complements the beauty of the patio or outdoor lawn.
Also, it is much cheaper than the teak which is another widely-used wood for outdoor furniture.
Acacia vs other woods
Some of you might be thinking why we and the internet are raving about this wood type.
That’s because it is superior to many other woods we normally used or know.
1. Acacia vs teak
We won’t be going in the roots of origin and properties to bore you. Rather we would describe why this wood should be used instead of their competitor.
First of all, it has more variations (color and grain )than teak so your furniture will have more color options if you use Acacia instead of teak.
Secondly, it can be polished much easily than teak.
Thirdly, it costs less than teak while offering almost the same durability so no financial burden with this wood too :p
2. Acacia vs oak
Oak is another commonly used wood for flooring, furniture and cabinets but Acacia can beat it as well.
Acacia is harder than oak which renders more effectiveness in the case of flooring. According to Carpet Express (JANKA Hardness Number of Acacia is 2200), it is 70% harder than the Red Oak and 65% harder than the White Oak.
It is more sustainable than the oak tree because they have a short life span of 15-30 years thus can be grown quickly, while oak trees have an average life span of 80-200 years.
Also, the chances of warping is minimal in case of the “great” Acacia wood in contrast to the oak wood.
3. Acacia vs walnut
Acacia offers a tough competition to walnut in flooring and cutting boards.
For cutting boards, it is much cheaper than walnut, is sustainable and provides natural water resistance. Also, it is harder than walnut so there is less probability of knife and fork scratches.
For flooring, apart from better looks and durability, it costs less than walnut flooring and gives a better luster when polished.
Are there any disadvantages of Acacia wood?
Nothing comes without disadvantages.
Here are some cons of this wood.
1. Irregular color
It can show different colors and patterns in your floors or cabinets which might not be appreciated by some people.
While many may take the color and grain structure variations to be a plus point of this wood, those who need a consistent color in their flooring and furniture might be irritated by it.
2. It doesn’t have a lot of natural oils as teak
We discussed earlier that Acacia is a great wood option for outdoor furniture but it needs to be oiled to be protected for a long time from weather and pests.
Teak, on the other hand, can be left untreated for decades.
3. Cross-grain scratches are nearly impossible to remove
You can fill in normal scatches by a filler marker or paint but cross-grain scratches are very difficult to deal with.
It is because there is a high variation in color and grain pattern so even though you get the right color, there is always an added daunting task to match the pattern.
Where & How To Buy it – Acacia Wood for Sale
Although there are many reliable e-commerce platforms which sell Acacia wood planks and products we would recommend local hardwood stores to you.
It is because
A: there is a difference in the color and shape shown in the product description and reality
B: you cannot bargain with an online store
If we talk about flooring, depending on the general trend:
Engineered Acacia would cost about $2.6-8/sq feet, Solid Hardwood would cost you around $2.6-8/sq feet and the Laminated one will be available at about $0.8-3.5/sq feet.
Acacia wood slabs are normally in the range of $2 to $5 even if you want colors of grey. The prices of its furniture depend on the brand and the finishing.
It would be best to have a woodmaster or a carpenter with you while purchasing Acacia wood planks and slabs because he/she can better understand its reliability.
How to extend its life – Acacia wood care
No doubt it is a durable wood type. But proper maintenance can extend its life for decades.
1. Furniture care:
- Liquids like deodorants, body sprays, and nail varnishes pull moisture from the wood and cause cracking or formation of unsightly spots. Do not let them come in contact with the wood.
- To clean spills, use a cloth soaked with warm soapy water rather than using cleaning liquids containing silicone or ammonia. It dries the wood.
- It is always recommended to use coasters when placing glasses or cups on the wood.
- Use furniture wax when you feel that the item is losing its shine. It’s a necessary furniture care hack. Apply the wax as per the labeled instructions. We recommend the one which offers UV protection.
2. Outdoor furniture care:
- If outdoor furniture is placed near a swimming pool, don’t forget to spray it thoroughly with a power washer hose. Chlorine from the pool water consumes the weatherproofing coat of the Acacia wood furniture.
- Don’t place it in direct sunlight because it could either cause cracking or discoloring. Regular movement of patio furniture is thus advised. Place it under a canopy or a tree.
Acacia wood is gaining popularity across the globe due to the reasons mentioned in the blog.
Above all, its usage is sustainable.
Let us know of your experiences with the Acacia wood in the comment section.