Title Case Restoring an Old Teak Table with Mortise and Tenon Joints

It is relatively easy to restore an old teak table to its former glory. Read on to learn more about this process. 

Restoring the table will involve two stages:

  • Repair
  • Restoration

Repairing the table

Inspect the table thoroughly by looking at it and feeling the joints. You need to determine if any of the joints are strong and stable, or if they all need to be redone. Mortise and tenon joints are those most commonly used in woodwork. They are strong and long-lasting, but may eventually begin to weaken after a long time, due to wear and tear of the table and changes in the wood itself over time as it expands and contracts.

If there is any damage to the pieces of wood, then you may have to find or cut replacement pieces. Make sure that you replace any pieces with teak that matches the rest of the table.

Taking the table apart

If your table is more than about eighty years old, it is most likely to have been glued together using an animal hide glue. A more recently-made table will most probably have been glued together using PVA glue. It is relatively easy to reverse the adhesiveness of the hide glue with hot water. If the joint is still strongly stuck, then you can wet it thoroughly with alcohol, which will eventually loosen the glue. This will make the process of taking the table apart easier than if PVA glue has been used. This glue cannot be reversed and you may need to damage the joint slightly in order to get it apart.

Cleaning the pieces

After having taken the table apart, make sure that you clean the different pieces of the table thoroughly. You can do this with a damp cloth and even use a gentle soap if there is a lot of grime. It is essential that you allow the pieces to dry thoroughly before putting the table together again. Do not apply any teak oil to the pieces, as this may stop the glue from bonding properly.

Putting the table together again

When you redo the joints, you need to follow the usual and proven approach to joining wood, which is to:

  • Apply the glue to the pieces of the joint and put it together.
  • Clamp the joint.
  • Leave it for the full recommended period to dry thoroughly.

Try to use a hide glue when you redo the joints, but it is possible to use a PVA glue as well.

Refinishing the table

When the table is completely rebuilt and all the joints are dry, you should begin the process of restoring the wood itself.

First, you need to clean the entire table. This can be done with a damp cloth and some soft soap if necessary. If you want to remove any finish that already exists on the wood you should use a stripper. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and that you do this in a well-ventilated area.

After the table has been completely cleaned and/or stripped, allow it to dry thoroughly. When it is completely dry, sand the entire table with a soft sandpaper, then finish it off by applying teak oil to give it the look you desire.

About Me

Megan's Home Improvement Blog

Hello! Are you interested in home improvement? If so, you are in the right place. My name is Megan and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I should probably explain that I am not a professional home improvement contractor. I am just someone who wanted to improve the space in which they live and who had to learn all kinds of crazy new skills to do so. Thankfully, my dad and my brother are both expert DIY guys, so they gave me a lot of help and support during the renovation project. I love my home now and I want to help others to love theirs.




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