How to find, maintain and restore teak wood
We’re big fans of teak. Especially vintage teak furniture, which became an iconic feature of well-known furniture makers such as G-Plan and Ercol throughout the mid-century. Although widely used during this time period, Teak is now somewhat more of a scarcer resource and not surprisingly has become much sought-after in today’s vintage market.
With its ever-growing popularity, however, you may be wondering if you were to purchase a rare teak piece for your home, how do you maintain its quality as the years continue to pass or indeed restore the item fully, should that be required?
We’ll explore all of these points in this short how-to guide, as well as take a deeper look at what the advantages of teak furniture are and how to find that perfect piece.
What is Teak Wood?
Teak, sometimes known as Burmese Teak, originates from the Tectona grandis tree. This is a native tree to southern Asia and is commonly found on plantations throughout tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
One of the best features of teak wood is that it harnesses natural oils that protect the wood against natural weather conditions, as well as from dry rot – a problem that isn’t uncommon in older wooden furniture. This makes teak wood a particularly good choice for garden or outdoor furniture – elegant yet durable!
How to Restore Teak Wood Furniture?
As we mentioned above, teak furniture benefits from a natural density that is infused with protective oil. Therefore, the real key to restoring this wood lies within it. This is an important point, which I’ll expand on below.
To restore your teak wood back to its beautiful, natural golden tones you will need to, carefully, sand down its outermost layer, in the process exposing the wood’s fresh golden inner layers that should be saturated with natural protective oil. This can be achieved using 150-grit sandpaper.
You then want to ensure the freshly exposed wood is cleaned, dried and then apply a teak protector or sealant. Note – you should avoid teak oils which will only provide a short-term benefit, eventually reducing the wood back to a greyer, duller appearance. These kinds of commercial teak oils are in fact made from a mix of linseed oil or tung oils, not from natural teak oil wood.
The three-step process is therefore to sand, clean, and protect.
How to Maintain Teak Furniture?
Caring for indoor teak furniture
As we’ve mentioned above, Teak is a highly durable wood that can last and look great for many generations. It is generally easy to clean and you should get into the habit of dusting the wood down at least once per week – a lint-free cloth is ideal for this purpose.
The wood is also pretty stain-resistant too.
Protecting teak furniture from spills
If your teak furniture is in the form of a dining table you might be wondering how you protect it during meals or occasional snacking. Here, we recommend a simple solution – cover the wood with a tablecloth. If a spill or accidental drop occurs, make sure to clean the area affected quickly. This will ensure you don’t see any lasting effects or damage.
It is important to remember that teak is hardwood, meaning it’s fairly hard to stain, so its main purpose is for it to be used and enjoyed within your home.
Caring for outdoor teak furniture
If you only care for your outdoor teak furniture once every so often, the wood will gradually start to take on more of a silver-grey patina, and many outdoor teak furniture owners are actively seeking out this appearance. However, for those who prefer the golden teak appearance, the best practice is to keep the wood covered during the harsher winter months, ensuring that the build-up of water on or underneath the furniture is minimised.
You can also potentially consider bringing the wood inside for those wintery months, where feasible or required.
Finding the latest teak furniture
We’ve made it easy to find the hottest vintage teak furniture by curating the best finds from Europe’s best-loved mid-century dealers. A sample of our latest pieces are also provided below.
Vintage Mid-Century Scandinavian Modern Teak Small Lady Desk with Drawers, 1950s£895
Mid-Century Modern Scandinavian Teak Vintage Dressing Table with Mirror, 1960s£1,195
Vintage Wall Clock By Acctim, 1970s£135
Mid Century Dining Table By G Plan£375
Ekornes Stressless Adjustable Armchair & Ottoman Set£1,250
Mid Century Teak Arm Chairs£1,500
Mid-Century Modern Swedish Teak Coffee Table from HMB Möbler Rörvik, 1950s£895
Vintage Scandinavian Mid-Century Modern Teak Coffee Table by Yngvar Sandström, 1960s£1,195
Vintage Danish Modern Dining Teak Chair by Juul Kristensen for JK Denmark, 1960s£495