As one of the widely used wood species in the furniture industry, it’s not surprising that acacia is dubbed as one of the ‘it’ materials for home decorating.
While it has various positive attributes, acacia wood has several drawbacks you must be aware of. Today, our woodworkers discuss the major disadvantages of acacia wood to help you determine if it’s a good choice for your home!
About Acacia Wood
The name acacia was derived from a Greek word that means ‘thorny Egyptian tree’.
The wood originated from Australian native acacia trees, now also found in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and some parts of America. Currently, there are about 1,350 acacia wood species worldwide!
The acacia tree has several names, such as “thorn tree,” “Asian walnut,” “whistling thorns,” and “wattle.” This tree typically grows to about 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) in height.
Most solid acacia wood slabs are primarily utilized for hardwood lumber. The plant has uses in various fields, such as the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and medical industries.
The exotic hardwood derived from acacia trees is also mainly sustainable and ideal for building long-lasting homewares and furniture.
Characteristics and Properties
The main characteristic of acacia is its durability, which ensures it is not easily scratched and is highly resistant to fungus. It is said that even if you don’t treat acacia wood, it can still easily last up to four decades.
Acacia wood furniture is also water resistant, making it an ideal wood for outdoor patio furniture. This wood can withstand the elements and force of nature for years without warping or rotting.
However, hardness is only one of the acacia wood properties you should know. Here are a few of its notable features:
How Does It Look Like?
Regarding appearance, acacia wood comes in a broad range of attractive natural colors with stunning grain structure—from a dark mahogany hue to a light brown shade. These colors bring about a feeling of warmth to a room.
Aside from color, here are a few characteristics appearance-wise that you can look into:
An acacia wood board is known as one of the best knotted wood pieces, primarily thanks to the large number of branches that typically grow from one acacia tree.
The irregular grain structure is among the top distinctive traits of acacia wood. Most acacia species have a wavy grain pattern etched on their surface. Figured grain patterns, such as curl, are also common in this wood specie.
According to the Janka Hardness Rating, acacia scored 2,300 pounds of force, solidifying it as a rugged and durable wood type.
It is proven that acacia wood is still 55% harder than the European white oak and approximately 23% harder than hickory. These numbers should be enough to testify to acacia wood hardness.
Unlike other types of woods, acacia is considered naturally antibacterial. That means it can be safely incorporated as a material for furniture in the kitchen and dining rooms.
Is it a Hardwood?
Acacia is also considered a hardwood. Some past studies indicated that acacia is one of the hardest wood in the class of hardwoods.
It is a sustainable and extremely durable wood choice that can make any room look amazing! Its longevity and overall environmental impact also contribute to its many benefits!
Pros of Acacia Wood Furniture
Undoubtedly, acacia wood furniture is one of the market’s most sought-after wood products. This acceptance mainly comes from its high-quality abilities and properties, making it a true stand-out from the rest.
Though before diving into the negatives and flaws, here are the major acacia wood furniture pros you should know:
7 Major Drawbacks of Acacia Wood
Like other exotic woods, acacia wood also has its own set of drawbacks and flaws. Why do many homeowners tend to overlook acacia furniture? Here are a couple of reasons why:
1. Hard and Heavy
Acacia wood is a hard, solid, and hefty material that can be challenging to carry and work with.
It is typical for these wood pieces to weigh over 50 pounds (23 kg). It is one of those exotic hardwoods that require power tools to cut.
Acacia wood pieces can be expensive to purchase for some homeowners. Its heavy nature requires expert carpentry skills to build acacia wood furniture.
Note that the price of acacia can be high because it is hardwood. That means it requires more work to build and create than softwood.
For instance, hard maple can cost approximately $6 per foot, whereas soft maple costs only around $5 per foot. Red oak is even more affordable, going about $3 per foot!
3. Grain Structure is Irregular
Another major disadvantage of acacia wood is its irregular grain structure. However, this could be a double-edged sword as some adore the unpredictable grain pattern and structure.
Although, most find it hard to integrate it into existing décor. Acacia has a lot of wood knots, which disrupts the consistency of the wood fibers and even leads them to break easily.
4. High Maintenance
Unfortunately, acacia pieces need significant maintenance to retain their physical characteristics and appearance.
For instance, you must prevent dirt and dust from accumulating on the surface, so regular cleaning is required.
How to Resolve This
Wiping the furniture down with a warm and soapy solution would be best. Also, oil the acacia using certain preservatives.
Several experts recommend using pigmented finishing oil over transparent oil to give the furniture better UV protection.
5. Heat Sensitivity
Among the biggest cons acacia wood has is its sensitivity to heat. This wood material does not do well when placed close to any heat source, such as direct sunlight or a heater.
If you find acacia wood in high-temperature places or spots, the fibers of the lumber will get damaged, causing it to crack and break with ease.
The problem is worse in regions with fluctuating temperatures and climates over a single day!
How to Resolve This
To prevent the wood from breaking, rotate acacia outdoor furniture every few weeks, ensuring one area is not overexposed to the sun.
6. Hard to Work With
Acacia wood is heavy, making it hard to work with. Working with this heavy material is difficult for woodworkers as carrying the wood pieces around is necessary.
It is undeniable that transportation will be an issue.
Another disadvantage of acacia wood is its rarity. It takes a lot of work to find and source. You may need to order them online or from a specialty lumberyard.
Acacia is not widely available and is only found in certain parts of the world. It would be hard to find acacia wood in your local hardware store.
Uses of Acacia Wood
Acacia wood has many uses — from flooring and furnishings to water-soluble gums utilized as thickening agents in foods. Though probably the most common use of acacia is creating furniture for homes and offices.
Here are a few significant applications of acacia that you should know about:
One of the many reasons homeowners choose acacia wood flooring is that it is an affordable alternative compared to other wood flooring materials.
For one, this hardwood flooring is visually attractive and striking. Secondly, it is highly water resistant, making it a perfect choice for kitchens.
Estimated Price of Acacia Wood Flooring
Although affordable, acacia wood is still not the cheapest material. Like most wood flooring materials, acacia wood has two main product types, which vary in price.
Acacia has the perfect properties and characteristics for making furniture! In fact, among its most common application is creating magnificent indoor furniture items and durable acacia wood outdoor furniture.
Most homeowners would prefer acacia wood for home décor due to its durability, low maintenance, and attractive qualities!
Unlike other exotic hardwoods, acacia home décor items and pieces can retain their quality for several years without the need to treat or protect them.
Kitchenware and Cutting Board
Finally, acacia wood also makes an excellent choice for kitchenware and chopping boards!
Pros and Cons of Acacia Cutting Boards
Unlike other woods, acacia is a genuine exotic wood with natural oils that makes it naturally water-resistant! Not to mention that it is also antimicrobial and antibacterial!
Unfortunately, the flaws of acacia wood cutting boards can outweigh the positives. This wood does not hold well to a wide range of temperature variations.
How Long Does Acacia Wood Last?
Under the right conditions, Acacia wood can last much longer than other types of wood. Acacia can last several decades outdoors or even nearly a lifetime indoors with proper care !
As outdoor furniture, acacia can last for more than two decades thanks to its durability.
Is it Prone to Warp?
No, acacia wood does not warp easily. Usually, acacia wood is among the few wood types that are highly warp-resistant. However, all wood varieties can warp under extreme conditions.
In regards to why no is the answer to does acacia wood warp easily, it is simply because the moisture content in acacia wood does not unevenly change due to its water-resistant properties.
Is it Prone to Cracks?
Unfortunately, acacia wood is prone to cracking, mostly when exposed to high temperatures. When you see an acacia wood crack, it will become brittle. Note that brittle wood cracks quickly when heated.
Do not expose acacia wood to direct sunlight to minimize the risk of your acacia furniture cracking. Be sure to keep your acacia wood products away from all heat sources.
How About Scratches?
Fortunately, acacia wood does not scratch easily. It takes a lot for acacia wood to scratch easily since it is made of rare hardwood built to endure wear and tear.
Is it Water-Resistant or Waterproof?
Acacia wood is essentially water resistant. This exotic wood contains oils that can act as a primary sealant, making it decay- and moisture-resistant.
However, if the wood is not sealed, the acacia furniture or flooring will dry out and lose its ability to resist moisture over time.
Useful Tips for Maintaining Your Acacia-Made Furniture
Thankfully, acacia furniture usually is easy to maintain. Here are a few essential tips to help you get started:
Why is Acacia Timber Popular Among Woodworkers?
Acacia timber is popular with woodworkers mainly for its highly durable, long-lasting, and attractive features. Also, woodworkers gravitate towards acacia wood due to its outstanding performance when placed outdoors.
Is acacia lumber bad?
No, acacia lumber is not a bad wood material. While this has several drawbacks, all wood types do as well.
It makes for an excellent option for outdoor furniture due to its hardness, durability, and weather resistance.
Is acacia wood suitable for making outdoor furniture? Is acacia wood waterproof?
Yes, acacia outdoor furniture is considered one of the best in the industry. It is a dense wood that is durable, heavy, and highly water-resistant.
Additionally, acacia does not rot nor warp easily. In case you’re wondering, if it’s waterproof, you can rest assured knowing that the weather will not heavily affect your furniture.
Is using acacia wood safe?
Most of the time, acacia wood is relatively safe to work with and use. Though, some species are toxic, so be sure to check.
For instance, Acacia nilotica has poisonous leaves, which can mean that the wood is harmful to an extent.
Is acacia wood recommended for making dining tables? How about cutting boards?
Yes, acacia wood makes an excellent choice for dining tables and cutting boards. Acacia is one of the most durable woods on the market.
What is acacia veneer?
Acacia veneer is a type of veneer that is made from acacia trees. It appears reddish to dark brown tints, with flecks of dark brown.
The texture is medium to fine, and the grain is interlocked, making it one of the best exotic wood options for veneers.
Is acacia expensive?
Acacia is a more expensive option in terms of hardwood. While it is cheaper than mahogany, acacia still costs higher than oak.
The reason behind this is that it grows slower than other trees, which means it takes longer to mature and be ready for harvest.
Read Next: Disadvantages of Sapele Wood
Heat sensitivity and higher maintenance are just among the disadvantages of acacia wood. Make sure that before you invest in acacia pieces, you are aware of the drawbacks and are ready to confront these potential difficulties.
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