So The Acacia tree, also known as mimosa, thorntree, and wattle, is a hardwood tree family native to Australia. Over millennia, Acacia spread to now be found throughout the Old World including Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Rim. European settlers brought the tree to the Americas, where a new species began to emerge. There are now 1,350 species of Acacia worldwide!.
The species of Acacia we use for our furniture is Babul (Acacia Nilotica). It's native to Africa, India, and the Middle East, and is an invasive species in Australia. We use this species due to its hardness, density, and availability, detailed deeper into this article.
ACACIA ON THE WORLD STAGE
A variety of 18th century writers praised Acacia as a durable and valuable wood, being used for a variety of products such as tree nails, ship posts, beams, cogs, and, of course, furniture! One English writer, Ebeneezer Jessup, enthusiastically proposed the planting of 10,000 acres of the tree in order to provide an enduring source of building materials for Her Majesty's Royal Navy.
The English Royal Navy, in turn, responded. They valued Acacia for its durability and water-resistant properties, using it as the primary building material for their legendary Ships-of-the-Line. With their advanced acacia hulls, these ships began to dominate the seas, allowing England to establish firm control over their colonies which cemented its place as the leading world power of the 18th century.
Acacia timber has been used by different cultures to produce a variety of products.
- In Hawaii, it's fashioned into bowls, canoes, and even ukuleles, due to its natural resonance.
- In the Philippines, it's used for boat-building, cabinet making, carvings, joiney, railroad ties, and furniture.
- Groups in Southeast Asia use various species include flooring, parquet, stair rails, veneers, and wardrobes.
- In Central America, some species grow fat thorns, which are fashioned into jewelry, dolls, and other souvenirs.
Note that these characteristics relate specifically to the Babul species of Acacia, the species we use to produce our furniture.
DENSITY & HARDNESS OF ACACIA WOOD
The Janka Hardness rating for Babul Acacia is 2300 pounds of force. It is 55 percent harder than European White Oak, 23 percent harder than hickory, and 90 percent harder than carbonized bamboo. Its density rates is measured to be 62 pounds per cubic foot. This places Babul between oak (45 lbs/cubic foot) and marble (80lbs/cubic foot).
CHARACTERISTICS OF ACACIA WOOD
Babul, and Acacia as a whole, has a naturally fine texture (also considered a smooth finish). It's highly scratch resistant in comparison to other hardwoods.
The grain can vary between straight and wavy patterns, and the color can range from a light amber to a dark mahogany. No two acacia slabs are alike!.
By PortlLand Furniture