Restoring Beautiful Teak Chairs to Their Former Glory

We don't always have to get painted up to look beautiful


My friend Tammy has been keeping me busy lately with projects to work on. (You rock, girl! Keep 'em coming!) The latest project was a couple of chairs that she had been using down at the lake and then the beach...or wherever her camper would go. As you can probably imagine, these chairs have seen a lot over the past few years.


As a rule, these chairs remained outside, being used to wind down a day at the beach or lake. And weather had eventually gotten the best of them, but Tammy wasn't ready to give them up so she asked if they could be salvaged.

As soon as I saw these, I couldn't wait to get my hands (and sander) on them! Such beautiful lines! And I could just imagine what was underneath the first layer of damaged wood.


We discussed a couple of options for these beautiful pieces but agreed that simply sanding them versus painting would be the only way to go. Using my orbital sander and 80 grit sandpaper, the majority of the chairs' surface was quickly sanded down. The tricky part was the thin slats on the back and seat of the chairs. While their front and back surfaces were easy to sand down, in between each slat needed to be taken care of as well. Using the same 80 grit, I tore a 2 inch strip off the sanding sheet then folded in half so I had a 1 inch wide, 9 inch long sanding strip. Then, placing the folded piece between each slat, I used a sawing motion on one side of the right slat, then repeating that on the one side of the left slat going through the back of the chair, then the seat.


Yes, it took time. For future small and/or tight sanding situations, I purchased a 51 piece drum kit with multiple size mandrills that can be attached to my drill for faster, more precise sanding:

So while it was easy, it was also time consuming. How exciting, though, as the old wood was sanded away and the beauty was revealed:


Simply, beautifully, stunning!


The next step was just to condition the wood as the sanding is pretty harsh on the wood. I typically use Howard's Wood Conditioner but tried a new brand from The Chippy Barn called Wood Nectar. This is actually a hemp oil revitalizer and is used to rejuvenate raw or dried out wood. Perfect match for this project! Make sure that the conditioner is worked into the wood and not just a surface layer, then wipe off and buff with a clean cloth.


The conditioner changes the look of the chairs again. Now they have a deep, rich feel and look.

The final step is to add a polyurethane so they can be used outside without worrying about weather damaging the wood again. I used MinWax One Step Polyurethane which only needs one application to be fully covered, making sure to layer top, bottom, sides, and in between slats.


The final result is miles from the way they came into my shop. I love them and Tammy does as well. That's all I ever want when I'm reimagining my projects!