Frequently Asked Questions
What's so special about Westminster Teak's furniture. How is it different?
On the internet, the selection of outdoor teak furniture is as wide-ranging as its prices that many customers often wonder why such a large range in price for products that looks so similar. The difference is in quality. Though helpful, pictures cannot give you a fair representation of quality and service. We're glad that you're making this effort to learn more before making your purchasing decision and hope that the information and knowledge that we share will help make the difference.
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 and credibly certified plantations. Our factory, the first to join Nusa Hijau, the Indonesian Chapter of the Global Forest Trade Network (GFTN), an initiative of WWF® (World Wildlife Fund) in the archipelago, purchases wood only from plantations managed by Perum Perhutani (The Ministry Of Forestry), 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 exceptionally 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 even basic raw materials such as wood, which very likely do not come from certified plantations. This makes the sourcing of the wood by both local and international standards, illegal. There are no set manufacturing production standards and procedures to follow and no modern equipment such as commercial kilns and modern plant tools and equipment, 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 come from.
’Handmade’ may suggest quality and tradition here in the US but without the proper precision tools and selected 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
Kiln drying process
Without the use of modern machinery to produce precision cuts, the structural integrity of the furniture (especially for outdoor furniture) will always be in question.
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.
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