It looks like raw wood. I know that isn't very helpful - especially when
you don't know what raw teak looks like - but I wasn't kidding when I told
you to spit on it. If you prefer fastidiousness, just put a few drops of
tap water on the table. If there is no finish, the water will soak in and
the wood will become darker (until the water evaporates); if there is a
finish, nothing will happen.
Here are some pix. Top left is pretty good for raw, unfinished teak; top
right is representative of teak with water, oil or varnish (with lacquer it
would be a bit lighter).
Any top coat finish - such as lacquer - can be made to have any sheen from
dead flat to high gloss.
Neither a "light coat" nor lacquer have anything to do with the sheen of a
finish. The lack of sheen can be created by manufacturer added additives in
the finish before it is applied or by "rubbing out" a glossy sheen after
application of the top coats.
I wouldn't worry about the finish being a "light coat" either. The
manufacturer put on a finish that will serve for a long time. The only
thing you might want to do is apply a paste wax (such as Johnson's) at
infrequent intervals; maybe once a year.
The Scandinavian furniture manufacturers do a wonderful job with veneer but
under that veneer is particle board. Particle board and moisture do not
play nice together so don't douse the table when you clean it, just use a
slightly moist cloth...just moist enough to remove whatever needs removing
and then dry it. Don't use any cleaner with alcohol either, lacquer doesn't
I flicked some tap water (I'm fastidious.) on the table & it just sat
on the surface. Beaded, actually. I observed for less than a minute
before wiping it off, but I think any soaking in would have occurred
immediately. So, the table has a finish. My Merry Maids were wise in
just wiping the table with a damp cloth.
Why do you recommend Johnson's wax? My seller warned me not to use a
Pledge-type polish. Am I confusing things, here? Do Pledge-type
polishes have alcohol & Johnson's wax doesn't?
Thank you very much for your patience, time, and expertise. You have
helped me & hopefully others. I'm going to return that tung oil when I
get it & get my $40 back. Well, minus the return shipping charges.
If you care, here's my table & chairs:
I don't know if you care to comment, but my entertainment center is
also teak veneer, but when I compare it with the doors in my apt., I
see little difference between it & them. I'm guessing the doors are
mahogany veneer. I haven't analyzed the grain structure, however. Do
teak & mahogany have similar appearances? I'm guessing teak is
superior for furniture.
I suggested paste wax such as Johnsons because it is good; also because it
takes considerable time and effort to apply which generally means people
won't use it frequently. OTOH, Pledge is dead simple to use. My wife used
to use it everytime she dusted; admittedly, it wasn't all that often but it
was often enough to build up a layer of wax that functioned much like the La
Brea tar pits. I used almost a quart of naptha getting it off a buffet.
Very handsome. The black "keys" set it off nicely.
No, not at all. However, lots of woods have similar color when finished and
most people react to that rather than the pattern and structure of the
wood's grain. This is what true mahogany looks like...
Since you live on the West Coast, it is most probable that your doors have
been skinned with rotary cut Philippine mahogany. If you lived in the
eastern US the likely skin material would be birch. "Philippine mahogany"
is neither a true mahogany nor a single species...there are seven species
marketed under that name and there is considerable variation in appearance.
Don't tell Sheraton, Chippendale, Phyfe at al that :) The wood that so
enamoured them was Cuban mahogany (Swietana mahagani) and that has been
pretty much gone from its original habitat for a long time; fortunately, the
Spanish established it in the Pacific a couple of hundred years ago so it is
still avalilable albeit at a hefty price.
Like Philippine mahogany, there are several species of New World mahogany.
Honduras mahogany (S. macrophylla) being the one generally referred to
nowadays as "true mahogany". There is also one from Africa which closely
resembles them but is a different genus.
Both teak and the New World mahoganies are wonderful woods (Khaya - African
mahogany - is nice too). Both are reasonably hard and strong and work well;
both weather well and are resistant to rot. Where teak really shines is on
boat decks and that is because as it weathers to a silvery grey it also
develops a roughness that provides welcome traction.
Teak is used on battle ship decks and another place like that -
the boardwalk at Atlanta City.
Normally it isn't coated. It has oils within. It will gray out on the
outside. The oil keeps fungus and bugs from eating it.
dadiOH made a very good point: Grayed teak makes for good traction on
a boat. I vaguely knew of teak until I owned my 1st sailboat. After I
sold it, I wanted to have teak furniture, just for old times' sake.
The 2d sailboat I owned, I became concerned re: condition of the
topside teak (brightwork), but sold it before doing anything about it.
The thing is, topside decks, handrails, etc., need to be rough, rather
than smooth. That nice-looking handrail in port actually is dangerous
in rough weather at sea. I suppose it would be good to "recondition"
the teak when you want to sell the boat.
Manufacturers of wood maintenance products make a mint off of people
owning boats & outdoor teak furniture, spending time, work, & money
trying to keep that "natural" look. I might buy another sailboat & if
I do, I'll let the topside teak gray out.
Keep an eye on it. You want it a little bit rough, you don't want it
so rough that you're getting splinters from it regularly (teak
splinters tend to go septic--if you really want to let it go that far
use white oak), and if you don't take at least a _little_ bit of care
of it it will get there fairly quickly.
Everyone here has been helpful, esp. dadiOH. Lew Hodgett suggested
Scott's Liquid Gold (SLG) & I've done some research, based on what
dadiOH told me re: Do not apply a product containing alcohol over a
lacquer finish. SLG's ingredients do not include alcohol; it is a
When my seller warned me not to use Pledge-type products, I vaguely
remembered something re: silicone. Sure enough, Pledge has silicone.
After dadiOH's information re: tung/teak, etc., oils & how they're
marketed, I've decided: No alcohol, no silicone, no oil.
Unless someone warns me re: SLG, I think that's what I'm going to use.
On Sat, 22 Nov 2008 10:23:44 -0800 (PST), Empedocles
I still suggest that for best results and no regrets, you should
contact the manufacturer. That would be very simple, easy and prevent
possible problems. I can't think of a downside to asking the person
who made the furniture, how to best care for it.
On Nov 22, 2:03 pm, email@example.com wrote:
I'm going to try & contact the maker. But, my only contact is the
seller in Seattle (I live in MT, BTW). I think the seller is the
importer & the maker is in Thailand, so it's going to be difficult to
talk to the maker (I think). Anyway, I'll give it a shot. Thanks.
Thanks for correcting me. Shows how much I know. I guess the appeal of
SLG is that it has no alcohol or silicone in it. Yet, I think it's
better than just teak or tung oil & cheaper. I could be corrected.
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