Project 013: Teak Corner Unit

I am not a wood hater.

I was given a teak corner cabinet a couple weeks ago, if you know me at all you’ll know that I love teak and a lot of mid-century furniture styles. The piece was in pretty good condition, solid, and only chipped in few places along the bottom edge but it was a little worn and a bit lack lustre.

I stared at it for a few days, doing some crazy things in my head like painting the inside something bright and memorable, maybe some panelling and funky wall paper on the outside, and so on. In the end I couldn’t do it. Although it felt like a cop out, I brought it outside, lightly sanded it, and then simply oiled it. It is not a drastic or particularly exciting makeover, especially as seen in the pictures, but the wood now has that deep warm glow that teak gets when freshly oiled and looks beautiful.

Here you can glimpse the difference between the oiled sides (top) and how it look originally (bottom.)

When working with restoring wood furniture it is important you know if you are working with a solid piece or if the finish wood is a veneer or not. You can tell by looking at the edges, especially along the back edge, the veneer is a thin layer of real wood adhered to a solid thicker piece of less expensive wood. You can sand a veneer but only lightly so you do not sand through this thin layer. Hand sanding is the best. I had pulled out my palm sander as you saw in the first picture but didn’t end up using it, even with a very fine grain sand paper.

I used Old English Oil, since I had it on hand. I would be curious to find out if using a specific Teak oil would be better although the Old English said that it worked for teak as well. Does anyone know?

What are your thoughts on teak and mid-century furniture? Love it? Hate it?


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