How To Refinish a Teak Table and Chairs

Half a day
Tips & Tricks to Transform that Teak Table


Refinishing Your Outdoor Table and Chairs
Teak Table Tacky?


When it comes to outdoor furniture, the epitome of simple elegance is probably teak. Whether it's a classic Adirondack chair, an unassuming but perfect end table or a full patio dining table set, nothing's more at home outside than teak. It's one of the most durable woods money can buy, and believe it or not, it's easy to maintain.

While there's something distinguished and comfortable about an old weathered teak table, the fact is that teak looks its absolute best when it's kept oiled to a golden luster. What's that you say, your teak table has gone to gray and looks ready for the kindling pile? That's what our Jane-in-training Amy thought too. But she soon discovered how easy it can be to bring a teak table and chairs back to its glorious, golden days.

JANE TIP: Refinishing a teak table and chairs will involve plenty of sanding. Get your hands on an orbital sander if at all possible; it'll make the work go at least twice as fast.

SAFETY TIP: Teak is a hard wood and since you'll be sanding it down to its bare essentials, you must wear a dust mask and eye protection to protect yourself from the fine dust you'll be kicking up.

Step 1

Set the Table

Find a comfortable work area in a well-lit, well-ventilated space. Spread out your drop cloth and move your furniture to the center. If the drop cloth isn't big enough, just work on one piece at a time.

Step 2

Out with the Old


Put fresh pads on the orbital sander, don your mask, gloves, and eyewear and start sanding back and forth. The orbital sander is designed to move in a pattern that doesn't leave discernible marks on the underlying wood. Let the tool do the work; avoid pushing down too hard. Keep working the wood until it appears raw—i.e. no longer gray or weathered.

Step 3

Nooks and Crannies


Once you've covered absolutely every surface you can with the orbital sander, use the sanding block to take any remaining surface down to bare wood. Your block may not reach down into tight spaces, such as between slats of a chair. You still need to sand it, so use folded pieces of sandpaper where you need to. Keep working until the entire surface looks like raw wood. Take breaks often; your hands will need it.

Step 4

Give it a Wipe Down


Using a barely damp rag give all the furniture a wipe down to remove any remaining dust. After the sanding your furniture is very vulnerable, so don't place anything on it or leave it in the rain. Water spots can form and permanently stain your table and chairs.

Step 5

Rags to Riches


Using a dry rag, apply the teak oil, one section at a time. Note how the wood positively glows as the oil brings out its rich, natural color. Keep working the wood until all surfaces have been covered. Keep applying a second (and if necessary a third) coat of oil until the wood stops absorbing oil. Give all surfaces another wipe down with a clean cloth to remove any excess oil. Let it set for an hour or so before you sit on it.

Step 6

Preserve That Loving Feeling

Want to keep that golden new look forever? Keep your furniture lightly oiled with teak oil, applying it once a month or so. Don't expose your set to rain and snow if possible. With good care, that teak furniture set can last for generations.

Congratulations! You've successfully moisturized and sealed the wood--and saved a classic piece of furniture from the scrap pile.

Dispose of your rags carefully, in a plastic bag or old can, outside the house in the garbage. Invite the neighbors over to stand in amazement and sing your praises. Just don't be surprised if they ask you to help them with their own tired furniture!

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