refinishing teak

Old 01-31-01, 06:17 AM
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I have a solid teak dining room table that has been damaged by water. the old finish in the area of damage has turned white. It appears that a varnish type of top coat is on the table. I have tried to sand the area with fine 200 grit sandpaper and applied teak oil which helps some, but does not match the rest of the table because of the top cote applied by the manaficturer. I have been under the impression that teak can not be varnished because of the oil in the wood. What do you recommend?
Old 01-31-01, 06:35 AM
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Do you know how old (young) this table is? Answering this question will give a good indicator as to what it was originally finished with, and potentially how to treat it.

I'm guessing the varnish you speak of is actually Shellac (it's been French Polished), which will turn white with radical temperature changes and/or water. However, there are some varnishes that will turn a white/yellow (George - Moderator knows more about these, so be sure to check back for his comments). Hope this helps.

[Edited by Michael at UCD on 01-31-01 at 09:48]
Old 01-31-01, 04:04 PM
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If the finish is from the factory it's almost certainly lacquer. And I wish you'd stopped by here sooner.

Try this anyway, it can't hurt and it still might work. Make a paste of baking soda and water and rub the affected area with this using a damp sponge. If the white keeps diminishing, keep rubbing until it's gone. Because you've put teak oil on it, don't restrict your rubbing to the white areas, but work on the entire area you oiled.

After the white has been removed, go over the entire top with a 'swirl mark remover' such as Turtle Polishing Compound and Scratch Remover -this should restore an even sheen to the table.

Michael was correct in his assesment of moisture trapped in the finish. Shellac is susceptible to this condition, as well as some varnishes, and all lacquers.

Teak can be varnished, lacquered or polyurethaned. The secret is in surface preparation. Almost all teak furniture originating in the Scandinavian countries has a lacquer finish - even if it's sold as 'unfinished'.

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