This question may be a little outside the scope of this group but maybe
someone can help me. I have made several pieces of teak furniture which look
beautiful. Well before I became a woodworker we bought a teak dining room
table. We have had it well over 30 years. Lately we getting are some marks
on it that don't yield to a reapplication of the light teak oil that we have
put on it for years. Do I have to strip it (I surely hope not)? I have done
some googling and I get many different and conflicting opinions. There is no
consensus. Does anyone here have an idea for me or at least a definitive
source I could check out?
I have taken 4 pictures of my dining room table that can be found here:
Picture 1 is of the table just to give you an idea of what it looks like
Picture 2 is of a strange "wound" that looks like bare wood but it does not
absorb any teak oil. Even if I scrape it lightly with the edge of a pocket
knife, it does not absorb any teak oil. The picture is deceiving. It looks
like the actual wound is the same color as the wood around the edge of the
wound but to my eye it looks like untreated teak that has never had any oil
Picture 3 is of some circular things from glasses or bottles. We have never
had marks like this before in the previous 30 years
Picture 4 is of the edge. I believe it is solid teak
Funny, but this looks like a table that has a hard finish on it.
The circular are water stains. (liquid) Generally applying new finish
will sometimes fix this. You say it is not helping. I have heard that
mayonnaise works to fix the problem.
The other problem appears to be a heat problem. But I'm not sure.
Try fixing the circular rings first. If they work, you might try the
same on the heat problem.
The edge is certainly solid wood. The top appears to be veneer; I base that
on the nicely book matched pieces in each of the two sections. Also on the
fact that very few tables have tops of solid hardwood. Did you purchase it
from one of the Scandinavian furniture stores? They do a really good job of
veneer over particle board.
Regarding the water glass rings, the usual metohd is an iron over an old
towel. Check out links here...
The other area is more puzzling. As woodchucker noted, your table looks as
if it has a hard finish (based on the shine). I would expect that on a
dining table since the surface protection provided by oil is pretty much
zilch. The usual finish for a commercially made table is lacquer.
You said you had been applying "teak oil" to it for years. "Teak oil" is
not oil extracted from teak lumber...it is a mixture of any of the following
in various combinations or singly: inseed oil, tung oil, mineral oil, wax,
paint thinner, varnish. The "teak" part is just marketing. Oil on lacquer
does nothing except build up a soft, useless film.
To me, the dark area looks relatively normal, what looks abnormal is the
lighter area around it. It looks like a film that has separated slightly
from the surface below it.
What follows is total supposition.
If your table had a factory lacquer finish and if the oil you applied had
varnish in it, the varnish has failed. The only cure I know of is to remove
the varnish either physically or chemically. There are also varnish
"amalgamators" that soften varnish and let it flow a bit; they are sometimes
used when varnish has cracked, "alligatored" or wrinkled. I have never used
one, have no idea what they would do to lacquer and don't know if they can
be used for spot application.
The trouble with mechanical removal (sanding) is that the veneer is very,
very thin...very easy to sand through. For that reason, if it were my table
and I was going to refinish it, I would use a paint stripper with something
like a nylon scrubber.
Actually, the first thing I would do is buy a quart of naptha and wash the
top down with it and a bunch of paper towels. Naptha won't harm lacquer,
other hard finishes or cured oil but it will remove wax and liquid (mineral)
oil. Afterward, I would carefully examine the spot to see what is what. If
no change, I would try soap and water and examine again.
Sorry I can't be of more help, good luck. You may need a professional
refinisher; if so check him out well first.
If it is lacquer spraying it with lacquer thinner will soften the
finish, and allow it to resettle and dry, solving the problem.
You would need spray equip, and you would have to test an area first.
See if the underneath is finished ... usually they shoot a coat and
don't sand it out to protect it...
try the lacquer thinner there.
If it is lacquer and if the teak oil he has been applying over it has
varnish, what's going to happen to the varnish if he applies lacquer
thinner? I would guess it would soften the varnish but I have no idea how
much. What would result if it were softened and mixed itself with the
We did indeed buy this from a scandinavian furniture place. We have put a
product called Master Furnituremaker's Teak-Oil on it twice a year since we
bought the table. If you google Master Furnituremaker's Teak-Oil, here is
what you get: Master Cabinetmaker's Teak Oil is a light and fast drying
oil specially compounded for teak wood. WHAT DOES IT DO? Master Cabinetmaker's
Teak Oil meets the demands of teak wood by providing oil nutrition, and
polish, which promotes a quick drying time. Master Cabinetmaker's Teak Oil
is light and is a special mixture for oiled teak furniture. Applied as
directed, once or twice a year, or depending on the climate, it will enhance
the natural beauty of the wood and will protect it from alcohol and water
We love this table. I do not want to screw it up by experimenting though I
will definitely try the idea about removing the rings. I think the next step
after that is to try to source a good furniture refinisher.
Sounds good and worthwhile IF the table top had no hard finish (lacquer or
other); if it did, all the oil would do is sit on top of the finish never
reaching the wood..
I don't blame you...it is an attractive table.
If you do decide to mess around a bit, do it on the underside of the table
if that side seems to be finished as is the top side. If you screw up
there, no one other than very drunken guests would ever see it and they
wouldn't care :)
Be sure to check him out with previous customers, preferably those for whom
he has repaired something similar to your problem. An additional bonus would
be if he immediately and definitively recognizes the cause and remedy of
When and if you discover the cause and remedy it would be nice if you report
back...I for one would like to know.
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