How to Restore the Color of Teak Furniture

Teak FurnitureA client who has a 1960s Danish oiled-teak dining table was recently inquiring how to safely restore the original color of the furniture. The table has dark spots in several places, and the client wanted to know what to do to get back the original look — rich and warm brown.

If you have teak furniture, this is my recommendation:

Use products made by Scan-Care. We have found that they work very well.

Scan-Care products have several oils and creams that replace the oil lost by the teakwood. Teak is naturally oily and water-repellant — that is why it is used on boats — and should only be protected by using oil.

Varnish, or any other hard finish, should never be applied. If you do use a varnish, the result will be the eventual peeling of the surface coat, since varnish will not stick to oil for any length of time.

If you need to sand the wood, be very careful not to go too deep. Many of the midcentury

Scandinavian manufacturers used veneer in the center panel, with solid wood only around the edges.

Also, you should not use stronger wood finishes, ones that have drying agents, since they contain many more ingredients in addition to tung oil. We have found that the chemical reaction can cause teak to look as if bleach had been applied.

Stay with oil and do read the instructions on the bottle.