My mother bought alot of Scandinavian teak furniture in the 70's and I have inherited many pieces that I love. Unfortunately 40 years of grime and wax buildup have taken its toll so I tackled the layers in efforts to restore the finish. I know you're only supposed to use teak oil on teak, but my mom, god love her, used alot of "Pledge" on this table.
This picture is mid process. I had alot of rings and stains on the table so I started washing it with vinegar and scrubbing the grime layers off with a sponge. I used fine steel wool also, but it quickly got full of wax buildup. In researching the process I came across alot of good sites and tips here and here , but I want to short cut that for you, in case you're trying to restore one of these 'beauts'.
Apparently the secret sauce is Watco Teak Oil, which I got at Home Depot. I have always had this in my house and it's magic.
After scrubbing, steel wool and 220 grit sanding:
Two coats of oil, one more to go.
- Clean the wood with water and a little vinegar.
- Scrub the surface as evenly as possible to remove wax buildup. Natural variations in the wood will have grabbed some oil deeper than other areas and it is hard to get it even.
- Use steel wool evenly ALWAYS WITH THE GRAIN over the entire surface.
- If you want to attempt to use a light hand and sand with 220 grit sandpaper be very careful since the veneer layer on most teak is on 1/11" so you must be gentle!
- Apply a liberal layer of teak oil and wait 30 mins.
- Wipe off
- Apply another coat of teak oil and wait 15 mins.
- Wipe off
- Let dry overnight and do not use for 10-12 hours. You may have to reapply oil in the driest areas.
- Depending on how much oil you put on it, it may take several days to dry. Mine did!
Look at the grain on the edge of the table. If it is going the opposite way of the grain on the top of the table then it is veneer. Here is a close up of a solid teak table where the grain on top of the table is going in the same direction on the sides.
Here are two examples of teak veneer:
Teak is popular on Craigslist, yardsales and antique stores, so you can restore it- to a point. Don't be shy, it just takes time and 'elbow grease!'
Here's my finished breakfast room:
Before you go, be sure to check out Bethany's post about ch ch ch changes over at our lovely friend Beth's blog, Design POST Interiors!