Woodworking: End table refinishing project (part 4)

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?

I never would have finished these this way.

And how they started to look way better as I got rid of the stain and chipping polyurethane?

The flat stain and dull finish made the pieces look old, but the wood looks great!

The teak oil makes it come alive.

Without stain, the teak oil brings the grain out of the wood.
I’ll admit that even I was a little surprised.

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?

I come in pieces.

And then how it probably looked before it came unglued?

There’s no confusion as to why this was free.

A natural finish suits this so much better, too!

I also would have accepted “OMFG!” as your reaction to this picture.

So with the top and sides done, the lower table portion was left. Here’s a refresher on how that had looked.

You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!

And then

Keep it together!

And the natural finish?

It’s almost unfair!

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?

The only reasonable thing to do.

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!

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About raabidfun

I'm a guy living the #raabidfun lifestyle. I figured I would create a blog about crossword puzzles I do. The idea is to do the NYT crossword and the WSJ crossword daily as much as I can. That includes when I don't finish and have clearly failed. They can be difficult. Also I am not an attorney, and any legal analysis in this blog reflects my interpretation, which means it can be flawed and should not be relied upon for use in legal matters (especially against me).

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