Interesting Article re: Refinishing

MikkAugust 24, 2011

Thought some might find this interesting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Antique Roadshow and Refinishers

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Looks like the link is to the 'Lenin' letter

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 4:58PM
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How right you are! Sorry about that. Gotta watch my hotkeys better... :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Antique Roadshow and Refinishers

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 5:30PM
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Interesting article, Thanks.

If anyone knows about refinishing, I have a question ...

I have a danish modern teak table that was used as our family table while I was growing up. My sister got the family house and some of the furniture when my parents downsized, and she obviously had some sort of plant on the table which was overwatered onto the surface of the table.

I've had this table now for a few years and would like to fix the top of it. My Mom, now 80, keeps telling me to wipe the surface with turpentine and then re-oil it with a teak oil. Turpentine????

She told me the company she bought the piece from originally told her to do that.

The idea of using turpentine seems crazy to me ... now I find lots of other techniques on-line. Anyone have some advice?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:00PM
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I don't know how deep the stain is.....but teak is pretty well water proof.
The turpentine is meant to remove any old oil and surface dirt....and the new oil to seal the wood.
I believe Momma knows what she is talking about.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Thanks Linda ... the water mark/stain has taken all the finish or oil off.

Mom is not really as sharp as she used to be, so I tend to be careful about what she tells me these days. But good to know she was spot on for this!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 6:31PM
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She is spot on.. for "the day", but there are kinder products out on the market that might suit you better.

To help determine the extent and type of the damage, a photo would be really helpful. Basically, you want to determine if it's just a surface discoloration, water ring, blackening, bio growth, or extends deeper into the wood... checking, dryrot, etc.

Either way it shouldn't be any trouble for a DIY job. Really love to see the table anyway.. :-)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 8:15PM
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Mikk ... I'll take some picture and post them when I get home from work today.

A kinder product is something I'd prefer.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 7:56AM
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Wondering what could be kinder than turpentine and an oil rub????

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 12:25PM
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I'd really like to see a documented case of "dry rot" on a teak dining table.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 6:57PM
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OK, you'all can keep arguing, but here are some pictures.

I personally think working with Turpentine, with asthma, is pretty toxic. If I have to, I will ... but if there is a gentler way to do this, I would prefer that.

Kitchen Table

Damage by my sister

Closer view

I've always loved the simple lines of this table

It actually extends on both sides ... another great feature!

So yes, if there is a "kinder" solution to DIY this table and make it look better and not be sticky ... the surface really is sticky. Please let me know.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 7:07PM
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Ask any boat enthusiast if teak is bullet proof to "dry rot"... let alone prolonged exposure to water combined with bio growth.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 7:11PM
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Mikk ... back to the real subject ... what do you think?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 7:26PM
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Fori is not pleased

Ack that does look grimy!

And of course she didn't put the plant in the middle where a fruit bowl would do the trick!

It doesn't look like the wood is damaged at all though, just the finish. I don't know anything about stripping those oil finishes but I suspect you'll have to. It'll be worth it, even if you do need a gas mask. Very nice table!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 8:30PM
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Ya know....I posted a need for a diatribe....
Perhaps a simple answer to the question would do.
What would clean the wood and provide a protective coating that would be kinder than turps and teak oil?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 10:30PM
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Sorry Pam :-) Thanks for the photos. Unless you've already used some type of cleanser, the marks photoed are really very superficial. A light sanding with 220 grit on a block.. followed by a light finish sand with a wet/dry 340 grit should do the trick.

As long as you're at it, you could refurbish the entire surface with a product like formby's furniture cleaner, but it's up to you. Very non caustic.

As a post treatment, I would use Watco teak oil. It's greatly improved over later day products and would provide a greater level of protection (UV as well as bio growth protection) over teak oil on it's own.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 12:35AM
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To answer others questions.. that don't necessarily apply to this project, a nice sharp putty knife and a heat gun would be the preferred method for stripping a teak oil finish, But if you're bound and determined to use chemicals, foaming ammonia or any type of decent furniture soap would work well. Turpentine is harsh and just "nasty".. lol

There are also quite a number of 1 or 2 part teak cleaners that work well, but I have to wonder about long term affects. Many are very happy with them though.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 12:55AM
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Abrasive methods, like sandpaper, especially fine grit paper like 180 or finer, are ill-suited to removing an oil finish, because the oil warms with friction and clogs the paper instantaneously. A sharp cabinet scraper is the fastest and surest way to get down to a fresh surface.
Unless you have been using the table in a sub-basement sauna bath, it doesn't have dry rot; that's just stupid. Ask any boat builder teak is the _very last_ wood to get rot. Which is why it's beloved of nautical architects.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 10:23AM
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I could be wrong, but my impression was that the OP was wanting to repair the water damaged areas where "the water mark/stain has taken all the finish or oil off", not strip the entire table.

Where the oil is no longer present, 220 grit would help blend the surrounding areas and help open the grain to accept a new coat of oil as well as remove any residue or bio matter. I also noted that if I were stripping the entire finish, I would use a sharp putty knife and a heat gun rather than turpentine or acid/neutralizer teak cleaners out on the market.

While teak is certainly one of the most rot resistent, it is not bulletproof. It IS a favorite of boat builders, but as many of them could tell you... if not taken care of properly/regularly, it can and will rot. Kind of like standing water under a potted plant for God knows how long. Good breeding ground for fungus.

Try a general internet search on "teak" "dry rot" if you think it never happens :-)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 1:52PM
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When I was in Portland I talked to a well known Atelier named Schubach. He graduated from Cremona, then worked in Mirecourt, then in several other German and French cities. We were talking about methods of making violins and he said: If you got 100 men to make you a violin, all the violins would be built differently and each man would say his way was the correct way. I think this also applies here, to repair work. There are many ways to repair white marks on furniture. I think Teri Masaschi has a good system in her book Foolproof Wood Finishing. First she dampens a rag with alcohol and lightly passes it over the spot. If this doesn't happen quickly, go to the next step. You can rub out the spot with 3M medium density rubbing compound. If the sheen is different, then use oil and rotten stone. You may have to rub out the whole table top. If you rub through the finish to bare wood, you will have to apply a new finish and maybe a new color. Teri,s book is a good one and would be a good investment.
As for Casey telling me "stfu" I have to consider that we are on the internet.
As for terpentine and oil, this is rather a benign substance and in my opinion, would do no harm, seeing terpentine is made from tree sap. One could buy the type that the smell is reduced. I believe this would be a good place to start.
My most important advice would be, buy the book.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 7:43AM
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Back to the question for the original poster. Turpentine as has been said is a pine derivative, the fumes can be irritating and it can be absorbed through the skin. Those things are also true of mineral spirits or paint thinner but that is a petroleum distillate and will evaporate faster than turpentine, putting more fumes into the air as you work. Turpentine is the thinner and cleaner that artists who paint with oils use. It certainly would be less irritating than foaming ammonia.
I think all this talk of dry rot and fungus and UV inhibitors loses sight of the fact that this is a kitchen table, not a boat deck nor even a piece of yard furniture.
For the easiest fix I sure would try what your mother recommended, wipe the whole top with turpentine and apply another coat of teak oil.
The term "teak oil" simply refers to a penetrating oil, usually linseed oil but sometimes tung oil. Watco Teak oil is linseed oil with a UV keep the oil from breaking down in sunlight. I would ask your mother what brand she used so perhaps the spot where the finish is gone would look the same as the rest of the table.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 9:01AM
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I'm back, and I did buy a new bottle of .... drum roll please .... turpentine! I'm having a slight problem finding teak oil, the 2 shops close to my small rural town are out, but one should have more in stock this week.

Who knew teak oil was so popular. I asked Mom what she used and she no longer remembers ... she left it in the house for my sister, who threw it away.

I do want to attach the entire surface, as it's all very sticky! So I will take the table outside this long weekend coming up, and use the turpentine outside on the grass where I won't harm anything but grass.

I'll post new pics next week, as long as the weather cooperates this Labor Day weekend.

Thanks everyone for your different ideas and methods!!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 12:45PM
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