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Refinishing Teak Research on the net: A Summary

Posted by Ron on August 9th, 2003 04:24 PM
In reply to Solid Teak Coffee Table by June Brendel on May 31st, 2003 11:17 PM [Go to top of thread]

22 of 24 people found this post helpful

Teak Refinishing and Care
First, the old finish must be entirely removed by sanding or stripping. A medium grit sanding block may be used to during this step to reduce sanding time. An alternative is to use a stripper such as “Citristrip”. Apply it with a paper towel and let is sit 30 minutes. Remove the loosened material and strip using a wide plastic scrapper using medium pressure. Then use a wet sponge with the green abrasive and scrub off the remaining material using the abrasive side. Wash the sponge when it is full and continue. This cleaning process may require 4 applications of stripper and removal until the surface is clean of old varnish etc. Work in the direction of the grain
All burs and imperfections must also be flushed so that only a smooth, bare surface remains. Many older pieces may have cracks and holes[ present] that require filling[ in] to enhance appearance and structural soundness. This is done by applying a compound called wood faring filler to these areas. [It is a one part adhesive filler, somewhat similar to epoxy,[ that] can be colored with additives to exactly match the wood. To fill scratches: "fill in" the scratches with walnut meat. Once the filler has completely dried, it must be sanded down flush to the surface of the wood so that no abutments show. A medium to fine grit sanding block may be used, but apply light pressure
The next step is to apply several coats of teak oil. Teak oil is an oil based substance that is absorbed by the teak when brushed on. It provides protection against the elements and adds a bright sheen to the surface. One should be sure that each coat is entirely absorbed before the application of the next The number of coats is optional, as long as all areas are evenly covered. It should be very dry before the next coat is applied, 4 hours to overnight.
Another optional, but recommended final step is the application of a varnish to the teak The varnish serves a similar function as the teak oil but leaves a hard, protective coating and more lustrous finish. Varnish should be applied in thin coats, each drying overnight. Gentle sanding should be done between coats with a light grit sanding block to prevent excess build-up. The final coat does not need to be sanded, but should be applied very sparingly and carefully to ensure uniformity. A 0000 steel wool rub can also be used. A wax coating of beeswax and canuba wax is sometimes used. Trade Name: Briwax. An alternative top coating finish is water clear acrylic lacquer or wipe a thin coat of MINWAX clear Poly (Polyurethane Oil) on the surface. ( It comes in satin, or gloss). Rub it in. Let dry a few hours. Lightly sand with a very fine (0000) steel wool. Remove all sanding dust. Repeat for an additional 2-3 coats of poly.
Darkening of Teak wood (ie. grey color) is a sign of water damage. Teak is more resistant than most but still discolors due to the minerals and chemicals in the water. This can usually be reversed with a bleach treatment. Oxalic acid is the wood workers choice but Laundry bleach will do. Do a test first using full strength.
Teak Oil Source: Scan Design. ( It costs about $10 for a 250 ml bottle or Star brite premium golden teak oil 32 oz $13.49 to $17.25
Care of Teak: Teak is extremely easy to care for and very resistant to stains. There is no other hard wood as durable as teak for home and office use. If necessary, it may be cleaned daily with a dry or slightly damp cloth. To keep teak looking beautiful, it should be oiled every 3 to 4 months. The oil may be applied with a cloth or fine triple 000 ( or 0000) zero steel wool. Always rub in the direction of the grain. The steel wool will help remove stubborn stains that may have formed on top of the wood. After oiling, the teak must be thoroughly rubbed with a dry, absorbent cloth. All the oil must be rubbed off the surface. In fact, it should feel just as dry to the touch as it did before you started to oil. Teak, properly cared for, will change color slightly, the grain structure will be more pronounced, and it will become more beautiful as it ages.

Please follow safety instructions fo any product used to restore your furniture as fumes can be toxic or result in fire.

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