Pat Shepworth

Refinishing Refinishing teak, maple and oak wil

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I am refinishing two teakwood and oak tables, a  V-shaped coffee table and side table.  Also one round maple coffee table, 28 inch diameter, plain top and turned legs.  Additionally, a 48 inch square dining table, light colored oak.  My father refinished much furniture with 60 coats of hand-rubbed pure tung oil, and the oil sealed a number of different woods extremely well.  I can't use tung oil since I must refinish inside.  I heard coconut oil will hydrate wood well and bring out the Wood's natural colors.  I can use this inside.  Will it also seal the wood?  I know it's thinner than tung oil but thought it might be worth a shot.  What kind of sanding equipment should I use?  (I don't even know grit to use). I would start with the round maple, I think it's the hardest to mess up.  Any advice on this?  I'd appreciate any help I can get.

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Why can't you use tung oil on the inside?

I wouldn't use any kind of natural oil that has the potential to go rancid on my furniture.  Coconut oil goes in your mouth and on your skin. :)

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I think he means that he has to do the work indoors.  Pat, please correct me if I am wrong about that.

Although you can get a lot of really good advice on the forums, from your questions I believe you would benefit from a book on basics.  From the shapes you describe, I wonder if this is mid-century modern type stuff (Eames, Nakashima, Wormley)?  If so and they are made by known names I would look to a restorer.

With that out of the way, low odor finishes generally lead us to water borne stuff.  The good news is that there are some really decent water borne finishes available today.  You will also have to qualify what odor is too much odor.  Will shellac be OK?  It is alcohol based but, not very bothersome unless sprayed.  I bring this up because a shellac (with a bit of dye or not) on bare wood followed by a water borne poly top coat may be what you are after.

Since you mention abrasives, I should ask if you mean to re-color the pieces.  Low odor colorants can be had with dyes but, require a little experimentation to get the effect you are after. 

As to surface prep, I prefer chemical strippers to sanding through finishes but, there is an odor issue with many of these.

You may have guessed that you have posed a number of questions that all have variable answers.  Don't worry about that but, it will take some time to work through the variables.

Pictures of what you are working on and a picture of something that looks like where you want to end up would be very helpful.  If we start with the basics . . . what finish is on the furniture now?

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Unless I am mistaken, coconut oil does not cure to a hard(-ish) surface, as would be required to protect a tabletop. I believe it is sometimes used as an ingredient in furniture polish products, just to give some shine.

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54 minutes ago, gee-dub said:

I think he means that he has to do the work indoors.

Pre-coffee post.  You're right, that's what he meant.

I don't think true tung oil is that caustic.  "Tung oil finish" that you can get at Home Depot is actually varnish, so yeah that will off-gas and smell nasty.  But real tung oil is fairly inert.

Besides, you'll still have to take the tables outside or into the garage to remove the old finish, so I don't quite understand why you have to finish them inside.  Either way, I wouldn't consider coconut oil an appropriate finish for wood...like, ever.

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