No offence to the world’s favourite ready-to-assemble furniture store, but the answer is not IKEA. Teak, a tropical hardwood, is a popular choice in shipbuilding, bridge-building and furniture-making, and is so durable that it lasts for generations. Due to its rarity and beauty, teak furniture items (no two are the same) have also attained heirloom status. Its naturally high oil content makes teak highly resistant to insect infestations and decomposition even when exposed to extreme weather conditions.
Sounds expensive, you might think. Yes, teak furniture can fetch a pretty penny. But at Wihardja, you can get quality teak furniture at excellent value. Because Wihardja has its own factory in Central Java, has its own craftsmen and sources for its own teak supply, it cuts out the middleman and transfers the savings to customers.
If you’re wondering if it’s one of the evil companies responsible for the recent haze, its general manager Ronny, whose family has been in the business since 1997, shared that Wihardja gets its teak from plantations in Java, Indonesia, where owners adhere to a strict policy of replanting what it has cut down. Makes sense to ensure that this precious supply of wood isn’t cut off, right?
Another type of wood furniture to look out for at Wihardja is its magnificent suar wood tables, which are made from one single piece of wood with no joints. As the suar tree has a huge trunk diameter of up to 2m, it lends itself particularly suitable for massive table tops. Like teak, suar is extremely hardy and resistant to termites and cracking, and its beautiful, contrasting grains are the only decoration a suar wood table top needs. Suar is also more commonly found in sustainable forests than teak, making its price point much lower than its atas hardwood cousin.
Wihardja is an Indonesian company headquartered in Singapore and has two showrooms here. You can also find Wihardja furniture on sale at HipVan here, with prices starting at $139 for a towel rack and $1,459 for a chest of drawers. At the showrooms, you will find ready-made furniture items and a treasure trove of vintage curios, but if you have a design in mind, the staff at Wihardja are happy to help you custom-make your furniture.
At a cosy tete-a-tete with Ronny at Wihardja’s Enterprise One Showroom, two weeks ago, shared a few tips on how to choose wood furniture.
- Choose a piece of furniture with as few knots (also nicknamed “wood eyes”) as possible. The knots are imperfections and will reduce the strength of that piece of wood. Of course, the more knots there are on an item, the cheaper it should be, and the fewer knots there are, the more expensive. Make sure that you’re not paying premium price for what should be a discounted piece.
- Some people say that you shouldn’t buy dark-coloured teak because the craftsman probably did so to hide the imperfections of the wood. This is not true. Many people actually like dark lacquered wood as a matter of artistic preference. Observing whether the wood vein is fine and straight would give you a better gauge of the quality of the wood.
- Be prudent when assessing claims such as “this furniture is made from solid wood”. It could still mean that the piece was structured by joining or stapling several planks of wood together, and not that it was fashioned out of a single piece of wood. Furniture that is hewed from one piece of wood, with as few joints as possible, tend to be stronger.
- When buying something marketed as “made from salvaged wood” (wood which has been reclaimed from shipwrecks and old houses), be very wary. Much of such wood is actually new wood which has been treated to make it look aged.
If you’re furnishing your home or office and thinking of getting some good quality wood furniture, you’re in luck. By quoting “WJALVINOLOGY” at the checkout counter at Wihardja, you will get 5 per cent discount on all your purchases!
Visit www.wihardja.com.sg for more information.
Toh Guan Showroom
3-B Toh Guan Road East, #03-02, Singapore 608833
Operating Hours: 11.30am – 7pm Everyday
Bus : 183
MRT: Jurong East MRT
Enterprise One Showroom
1 Kaki Bukit Road 1, #01-07/08, Singapore 415934
Operating Hours: 11.30am – 8pm everyday except Wed & Thurs
Bus: 5, 15, 58, 59, 87, 25, 45, 51, 55, 93, 94, 854
MRT: Eunos MRT