With all the parts glued and sanded, it was a huge relief and astonishing that the wood was clean. That meant I didn’t need to use stain to bury blemishes, and I could do a natural finish just with teak oil.
I had first learned of teak oil in woodshop, and we used Watco then, so I use Watco now. I chose it over Danish oil and Tung oil, and I was relieved not to have to use polyurethane.
The difference between a polyurethane coating and teak oil is the way the finish protects. Both can create waterproof barriers, but polyurethane sits atop the wood and and protects like a shield. A problem with polyurethane is that the shield can be pierced. A dropped coin or keys or tile coasters can ruin the finish. Tape can peel polyurethane off. But if it’s intact, it can even be fun to watch a spill bead up without issue.
Teak oil sinks into the wood, and the buildup creates the protective barrier. You have to put many coats to build it up until the wood just won’t absorb any additional oil. It’s tedious, sure, but the wood glows, and the finish is more resilient since it’s not a superficial coating. You do have to add more teak oil every so often to restore the finish, but that’s really not that big a deal. A drawback to teak oil is that doesn’t hide stains, so you gotta start with clean wood.
Teak oil also can fill some imperfections.
Remember how the side pieces used to look?
And how they started to look way better as I got rid of the stain and chipping polyurethane?
The teak oil makes it come alive.
I had to do both sides of these pieces, but it’s not hard to imagine what the other sides look like.
Remember how the top part of the table used to look? All broken up?
And then how it probably looked before it came unglued?
A natural finish suits this so much better, too!
So with the top and sides done, the lower table portion was left. Here’s a refresher on how that had looked.
And the natural finish?
But there was a problem with this lower piece. I had tried to get away with the splits in the end where sections had not fully broken apart. I thought there was a chance that they were so minor that the teak oil would just bridge the gaps.
That felt increasingly stupid. If I had wanted to cut corners, why would I be doing all this work?
So it was back to glue and clamps to get a strong bond for the end. I should have done this earlier in the process, but at least I got there.
Not too much more to do to make this a usable table, right?
I just needed to get legs and assemble the table. Both those steps had unexpected complications.
More next week!