Why Westminster Teak?
Thank you for your interest in our furniture and we appreciate that you are taking the time to learn and compare before making your purchase. We are also cognizant of the fact that you have a range of options and prices, especially over the Internet. Though helpful, pictures alone cannot possibly give you a fair representation of quality. We're glad that you're making this effort and hope that the information and knowledge that we share will help make the difference.
How is Westminster Teak's furniture different?
As one of the leading online distributors of teak furniture in North America, Westminster Teak recognizes the influence it plays on the industry and the impact it has on the environment, specifically in regard to forest conservation and management. We have made it our company's policy to source our teak wood from sustainably harvested, well managed, and credibly certified forest. Our factory, the first to join Nusa Hijau, the Indonesian Chapter of the Global Forest Trade Network (GFTN), and initiative of WWF® (World Wildlife Fund) in the archipelago, purchases wood only from the Perum Perhutani, a government-managed plantation whose primary mission is to eliminate illegal logging and improve the management of threatened forests. It also works to promote biodiversity and the livelihoods of the people that depend on them.
A very large percentage of furniture coming out of Indonesia comes from cottage industry. With very low labor cost, "handmade" furniture there could be produced at a price we in the US could hardly get for the cost of lumber. "Cottage-industry" in Indonesia - usually operated through a loose network of home-based carpenters, craftsmen and artisans where entire families work on a particular type of furniture - also means there are no actual quality control procedures or processes to follow. There are no set guidelines in the selection of raw materials such as wood, which very likely do not come from certified forests or renewable plantations. This makes the sourcing of the wood by both local and international standards, illegal. There are no set operating procedures in the manufacturing process or equipment such as modern kilns and tools, etc. These places lack the most basic modern tools we take for granted. So, the next time you shop for teak furniture, or any other hardwood furniture, floor or lumber for that matter, ask for the source. We know exactly where ours is from.
'Handmade' may suggest quality and tradition here in the US, but without the proper precision tools and proper raw materials, quality is often greatly compromised, especially when the furniture concerned is to be used outdoors and expected to last for a long, long time. 'Handmade' is not synonymous with quality.
Check for the following pertinent factors in construction that highlights the difference in quality.
Quality of wood used
Like genuine leather, there are varying qualities of teak. Westminster Teak uses only premium grade 100% Tectona grandis, teakwood. Only the finest cuts are selected and used in the production of our furniture. Much of the lumber used in the cottage industry is of secondary quality that may include sapwood. We use only select kiln-dried teakwood with characteristics that include: straight grain structure, absence of knots, splits or cracks, and an even tone in color. .
Kiln drying process
Our process takes about two weeks of kiln drying to achieve a moisture content of about 10% and an additional week or so of 'resting' to allow the wood to reabsorb moisture in the air. This natural 'reabsorbing of moisture' process will ensure that the wood regains its dimensional stability and will not warp or split during or after the manufacturing process. This crucial stage of reabsorbing moisture also ensures the stability of the furniture to withstand the rigors of climatic changes.
All critical connections are made in the traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery with the strictest tolerances. Each piece is precision cut to ensure perfect fit and only quality weatherproof glues are used. Without the use of modern machinery to produce precision cuts, the structural integrity of the furniture (especially for outdoor furniture) is always in question. Because all our furniture are hand-assembled then hand-sanded to a "micro-finish" - you could say, they are very much, "handmade".
Each of our furniture piece comes with each own set of solid teak dowels that are pre-dried to a moisture content much lower than that of the furniture. This has been so designed to allow the dowels to reabsorb moisture from the air, creating an extraordinarily strong joint once fitted into the furniture.
Only premium quality brass hardware and stainless steel are used in our furniture. Stainless steel is also used to complement the beauty of teak in the construction of our furniture and is chosen for itsluster and durability.
Every piece of teak does not leave the factory without being inspected not only for quality in construction but also for smoothness to the touch. We sand every piece with very fine grit sandpaper and buffed to a fine "micro" finish that is silky smooth to the touch.
We take pride in how we build our furniture and care very much in ensuring that you will receive them as beautifully as they were made, at your doorstep. We've made every effort (and always striving to improve) to make sure that every piece of furniture reaches your home the same way it left our warehouses.
Westminster Teak's product is guaranteed to withstand the test of time and the rigors of the outdoor use and weathering. We also believe that providing the best quality also means providing the best guarantee. That is why we have the unmatched guarantee of:
Free Return Shipping is an expensive undertaking in the furniture business that none of our competitors have been willing to do. This unprecedented assurance comes only with the confidence on the quality built over years of determination to produce the best quality products.
There are no shortcuts in producing a quality product. Outdoor teak furniture should age gracefully and last through many changes of the seasons. Any shortcuts taken will quickly show up within the first year - as warping, splitting, cracking, etc. Do not hesitate to look thoroughly at a piece of furniture the next time you go shopping for chairs or a table. Look closely at the joints, look at its underside, feel the finish.
It has been said that you never really own fine teak furniture. You enjoy it, with the least care ... then perhaps, you could pass it on to someone you love.