What oil or polish to use on teak table and credenza?
December 9, 2017 9:30 AM   Subscribe

I have a veneer teak credenza and solid teak table. New purchases, old items. The table has a few scratches from our cats jumping on and off. The credenza has some water stains and marks from its previous life. I've been recommended to oil both to keep them looking nice - but all my research shows contradictory suggestions. Can you please recommend an oil that I can use to refresh these items? Bonus if it can also be used on a few other items of varying shades and types of wood.
posted by rebent to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is a great marine guide and the best part is you can buy teak oil anwhere (think lowes etc) as it's just basically linseed oil.
posted by chasles at 9:40 AM on December 9, 2017

I use Formby's Tung Oil for teak. It slightly darkens the wood because it penetrates deeply. Get the smallest bottle since tung oil degrades over time.
posted by Elsie at 9:41 AM on December 9, 2017

I'm not sure how well a brightwork method for your schooner will transfer to the credenza in your foyer.

I use lemon oil and beeswax on a couple of teak peices that we have.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:15 AM on December 9, 2017

I used to have to oil the teak on our boat every year as a kid.

You know what I think works better? Coffee steeped in vinegar, mixed with the oil of your choice - canola, olive, whatever is clever. Recipes online are everywhere. It's GENIUS for scratches. I have linseed oil and furniture restorers in my tool closet, this mixture is 100% better IMHO.

For the water stains, hit the spot with a hair dryer until it disappears. You're welcome :))
posted by jbenben at 10:16 AM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Teak is a forgiving wood, but before you put any kind of oil on it, try to figure out whether it's an oil finish or if there's any kind of lacquer on it. If the scratches are deep (I mean, my kitty could wreak serious havoc), oil may not help on its own. Also, even though you say it's solid teak, the table may be veneer--so many are. This isn't a bad thing, but it just means you're working with a more delicate surface. If it is solid, try a medium hot iron on top of a white cloth to raise the scratches (this will also help with the water stains). If there's no lacquer on the wood, work teak oil in with some steel wool. Don't let it sit longer than like ten minutes before you wipe it off, or else it will get sticky.

You may need to gently work the areas in question with very delicate sandpaper (0000) and then teak oil. It might be worth it to re-do the entire top and then coat it with a spray acrylic to make the surface more durable.

BTW, marine teak and indoor furniture teak have two entirely different surfaces; marine teak often has polyurethane finish.

If it's mid-century modern furniture, I recommend joining this Facebook group, which specializes in MCM restoration. There are experts there who can help you.
posted by cowboy_sally at 11:20 AM on December 9, 2017

Howard's restore a finish and then Howard's feed n wax is what we used on our solid teak table.
posted by sulaine at 11:34 AM on December 9, 2017

Seconding Howard's restore a finish, just based on a friend who has a whole garage full of teak mid century furniture that she restores beautifully with this stuff.
posted by joan_holloway at 5:02 PM on December 9, 2017

Response by poster: Hi folks, thank you all for your feedback.

Based on your comments I've done some closer investigating. It looks like the table has no lacquer or sealant on it, and it is solid teak. I ordered some Teak oil based on Cowboy_sally's recommendation.

The credenza is veneer over composite, and I believe it does have a lacquer. However, it looks like the water damage has reduced the lacquer in spots and those spots are what need the oil/finish.

For the credenza, the "right" thing to do is refinish. But I can't do that right now. So, what's the cheap hack? Can I just try the teak oil on that, too?
posted by rebent at 11:14 AM on December 11, 2017

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