Timber Construction : Marine Timber At Work

Timber is used heavily in marine environments because of it flexibility of use. The durability and strength of certain timbers make them ideal for being in constant contact with water, for example, Teak lasts over 25 years even when in constant contact with water, even treating the wood has no effect on the timber’s lifespan.

Some of the well-known marine species are:

  • Teak
  • Greenheart
  • Ekki
  • Opepe

Jobs for a Marine Timber

Boat Building

Boat building brings out the strengths of the different timbers and you will usually use a few of the marine timbers for different parts of the build. Greenheart would usually be used for the hull due to its strength and durability.

The decking could then be made out of Teak which doesn’t need treating to increase its lifespan even when in constant contact with water and under constant strain. For the interior cabinets, shelving and furniture you could use Teak again or another hardwood like Oak, Ash or Beech.

Lock Gates

Greenheart and Ekki are regularly used for lock gates on canals because they are strong enough to withstand the pressure and can last over 25 years. You could use Oak, however, it won’t be as durable as the tropical timbers.


Teak and Opepe are regularly used for bridges. They are both suitable timbers for the posts and the walkway. A bridge in Burma spans 1.2km and is made out of Teak. The bridge was built in 1850 and there are now plans to restore the bridge after concerns the bridge is becoming dangerous after the posts have started to decay.

Constructional uses for Marine Timber

Some of these tropical hardwoods can be used in a constructional environment. Greenheart and Ekki are used as constructional beams in buildings. Greenheart was used in the Caribbean to replace pine because wood ants were becoming a problem.