Teak is a popular hardwood with many useful applications, due to its durable nature.
It contains a natural resin that makes the wood very water-resistant, and the wood itself is able to withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures.
This makes it not only popular for outdoor furniture, but marine decking, yacht repair, flooring, and interior architecture.
It’s known as an expensive wood, but it’s not as expensive as you might think.
It certainly isn’t on any list of the world’s most expensive woods, though it costs a bit more than other hardwoods like oak, mahogany, cherry, and ash.
Caring for teak wood
Even though teak is durable and weather resistant, it is known to change color over time, especially if it is exposed to sunlight.
New teak wood varies from light golden to dark brown, but over time with sun exposure, teak will become silvery-grey.
If you want your teak to maintain its fresh-from-the-mill color, you’ll have to do a bit of care at least twice a year.
You’ll want to clean the teak furniture with a special teak cleaner, and apply a product like Golden Sealer. You can recoat this annually to maintain the teak’s color.
However, it’s not as simple as applying a coat of teak oil.
If you want to know the best method of how to restore teak furniture, you should sand the surface a bit first, to reveal fresh wood, and then you can apply a teak protector.
If however you don’t mind your teak turning grey, you can simply clean the surface once or twice a year with a soft spray cleaner, apply a liberal coat of teak oil, and allow it to soak for several hours.
Working with Teak Wood
Due to its hardness, teak can quickly ruin tools like bits and blades. Thus, you’ll want to use tools that are pitch-free, have blades with high TPIs (teeth per inch), and have sharp carbide cutting blades.
You might spend a bit more for higher quality tools, but the investment will return itself with cleaner cuts and less material waste.
Wood Glue or Woodworking Joints?
It’s recommended that you don’t use wood glue. This is because the heartwood resin in teak is highly water-resistant, which makes it resistant to glues and liquids as well.
If you do decide to use wood glue, you should follow this process:
1. Use acetone or denatured alcohol on a rag to wipe down all surfaces of a joint where the glue will be.
2. Allow it time to dry.
3. Glue and clamp the joints.
However, it’s really recommended to use mechanical fasteners to join your teak pieces, such as nails and screws, or traditional woodworking joints like dovetails, which will give a better aesthetic as well.
Wear a NIOSH-approved dust mask
Teak sawdust can be toxic if inhaled.
The reason teak is very resistant to wood rot is because the tree puts all of its poisonous waste into the center of the tree, which keeps out critters and bacteria.
However, the sawdust of teak can be very harmful to your lungs, as well as cause rashes on your skin.
Thus it’s highly recommended to wear a NIOSH-approved mask and gloves while working with teak, especially while cutting and sanding.
If you experience any skin rashes, burns, or blisters from handling teak wood, some remedies include calamine lotion, tea tree oil, and aloe vera.
Staining teak wood
Teak is not commonly finished with a wood stain, and instead it’s recommended to use teak oil to bring out its natural beauty.
You should clean the teak furniture with a rag and a soft cleaner, as strong cleaners can eat the wood.
Apply the teak oil to the wood’s surface and allow it to soak for several hours, and finally wipe off any excess oil.