I’m sorry that my blog posts have slackened off lately. It’s that tedious tax time; and, no matter how well organized I think I am, it still takes time to get all the receipts, statements and forms together. Whew!
Well, it’s getting close to spring, a time for cleaning up the garden, planning and designing new flower beds and shrubbery plantings, and selecting fine-quality furniture and gardening benches and storage hutches to help you realize your garden plans and relax in your oasis. As I have mentioned before in this blog, lower prices abound among the items I sell. And this year I am offering several different styles of umbrellas, which I will introduce in a few weeks. In addition, the TU90 Teak Umbrella now ships as a two-piece pole, which reduces the freight charges for this item.
The next few blogs will feature these new umbrellas, so I hope you’ll return often … and, of course, visit my Web site to purchase items for your garden, patio and poolside. Pictured is my new Shanghai Umbrella, featuring a 9-foot umbrella and 8-foot aluminum pole.
Following is a basic method for oiling (check the oil manufacturer’s instructions first; if different, follow the manufacturer). After cleaning the furniture (see 2/16/2013 post), ensure it’s dry before starting to oil. Examine the teak furniture, and sand areas requiring it before oiling. You need teak oil, a clean 1″ or 2″ paint brush, some clean cotton rags, good light and plenty of space. Wear overalls or old clothes, and household gloves to keep the oil off your hands.
Apply with a clean brush, working downward from the top. Leave the surface wet by the brush but don’t leave too much surplus oil behind as you work. After a few minutes (maybe five to 15 depending on the temperature), the oil will start to become “tacky.” At this point wipe the surface of the furniture with a clean cotton rag, carefully removing all surplus oil. One coat is usually sufficient, but you can apply a second coat if necessary after a minimum of one hour for the first coat to dry.
When the surface is touch dry, use a second clean rag to buff it. Dispose of used rags and cleaning cloths carefully in accordance with the oil manufacturer’s instructions.
If you buy your furniture already oiled, such as the outdoor teak furniture available at GardenFurniturePatio.com, the teak oil imparts a deeper than normal mid-brown color and a soft sheen. Teak wood is naturally oily and requires no treatment whether used indoors or outdoors, and applying teak oil won’t increase the life of the timber.
Teak oil changes the color of the wood slightly, and it can also help prevent stains from seeping into the timber grain. It also slows the graying effect caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. To maintain its appearance, teak oiled furniture will need to be re-oiled periodically.
Follow this basic method for oiling teak furniture: First, clean the furniture (procedure appeared in “How To Clean Teak Outdoor Furniture,” published February 11, 2013). Afterward, ensure the furniture is nice and dry before starting to oil. Examine the furniture first, and attend to any areas requiring sanding before you begin.
If your teak furniture requires cleaning, use a normal household bristle brush (not too hard) and some warm, mildly soapy water. Rinse with clean water. Proprietary cleaners are available that will clean various deposits and accumulated dirt and stains. Do not use high-pressure hoses, and do not use steel wool or steel wire brushes since any residue from the brush left in the grain will rust and discolor the wood. If the furniture has some stubborn, heavily ingrained stains, you can remove these by sanding with a fine grade of sandpaper, being sure to work only with the direction of the timber grain.
Naturally occurring oils that saturate teak wood are its blessing and, if improperly cared for, its curse. Teak is used for outdoor products because of these oils, which impart an attractive appearance and, more importantly, inhibit the tendency to rot. However, the sun brings the natural oils to the surface, where they dry to a discolored gray, ultimately becoming black due to the mold and mildew that tend to feed off the oil.
So, be good to your teak outdoor furniture; and it will return the favor!
Fine-Sanded Teak Outdoor Furniture
If you buy your furniture fine-sanded, it will exhibit the natural color of the wood coupled with the raw natural texture of the teak grain. When fresh, the untreated timber is a very pleasant yellow-brown-olive color. If your furniture will be used under a shelter and away from a lot of natural sunlight, over time, six months to a year, the wood gradually becomes a darker shade of brown. If the furniture is left outdoors, the effects of the sun’s rays will “bleach out” the timber’s natural color gradually turning it a soft silvery grey color called “patina.” Think of the color of the unpainted shingles covering the sides of a traditional Cape Cod cottage.
This patina gives teak furniture a distinctive appearance. Many people find the silver-gray color resulting from this natural aging process very attractive. They believe it enables the furniture to blend well with many outdoor environments and decorating schemes. Teak furniture in its natural state is easily maintained and needs no treatment to provide many years of attractive, durable service. This is as easy a maintenance schedule as it is possible to get!
The hard yet forgiving nature of teak enables it to tolerate a great deal of use and abuse. Teak outdoor furniture also repays a little tender loving care, so continue reading this blog to pick up a few hints on caring for your teak furniture.
Generally, teak garden furniture is sold in one of two conditions: fine-sanded or oiled with teak oil. My teak products are finely sanded and finished with one coat of teak oil.
In future posts I will provide information about the differences between finished and unfinished and fine-sanded and oiled teak furniture.
Teak is an extremely dense, coarse-grained hardwood. Teak wood is generally straight-grained but occasionally wavy. It has a coarse, uneven texture. The wood contains a high level of silica, which causes rapid blunting of cutting edges.
When fresh-cut, the surface of the wood appears dull. The timber has a distinctive, pleasantly aromatic odor reminiscent of the smell of leather. Fresh-sawn teak has a slightly “oily” feel because of its high oil content. A commonly stated characteristic of teak is its durability. It resists rot caused by fungal decay. The high level of resinous oil in the timber acts as a natural insect repellent so the timber resists attack by termites and other wood-boring insects.
The timber is believed to be resistant to water and many chemical reagents, including acids. It does not have a strong reaction when it comes in contact with metals. These statements regarding the durability of teak have a factual basis in the many instances of the timber withstanding the elements of nature when used as key components in the boat-building industry or when used to make municipal furniture for parks.
Our teak furnishings are constructed for optimum strength and durability. They are superbly crafted of kiln-dried teak with pegged mortise and tenon machine joinery. We use only heavy-duty solid brass hardware for the most elegance and strength.
Our designs have properly spaced, generous back slats, raised seat heights and well-proportioned components. The chairs and benches have strong, distinctive lines and subtle contouring of the back and seat, which make the chairs very elegant and comfortable. Our teak dining tables have perfectly scaled, framed, slatted tops. They are well-suited for benches but look equally grand with a selection of dining chairs and carvers. All dining tables are predrilled with a parasol hole and space in the cross members for a metal parasol plate.
GardenFurniturePatio.com’s teak products are custom-made for us by a company in Indonesia call Wing Jati, using Grade A and B genuine teak wood harvested from government-monitored plantations. (Note: In the photo above, the umbrella is sold separately.)
Sorry my posts were scarce recently, faithful readers. I am based in Washington, D.C. Friends came to town for the inauguration; and I was busy with brunches, cocktail parties and dinners … not to mention watching the championship football games on Sunday. Hmmmm. That sounds like a lot of events you could enjoy outdoors with some pieces of my Western Red Cedar garden furniture!
Now is a great time to be buying outdoor furniture. You have time to assess the condition of your current collection of furniture, decide which pieces need replacing or select new pieces to enhance your garden, patio or poolside. Several items are offered at reduced prices. For example, my three-piece Adirondack Table Set is reduced by $19 or the two-piece Adirondack Tripod Set at $22 less. Or try a Western Red Cedar Love Seat, reduced by $35.
By the way, I’m posting the new prices on the Web site. It may take a few days, so please pardon the inconvenience.
Java has very large teak plantations that were first planted by the Dutch in the early 1800s. Today, teak plantations in Java Indonesia are capably managed by the government agency Perum Perhutani.
Perum Perhutani strictly regulates the number and size of trees harvested, as well as ensuring that the numbers of trees replanted are sufficient to maintain the health, productivity and viability of the teak forests for many generations. Teak cultivation and the harvesting of teak lumber are important industries in the economy of Indonesia. The plantations produce a high-value crop that is a valuable source of income to local workers.
The associated furniture and timber products industries also provide steady employment to thousands of local people. And, subsequently, sales of these products provide employment and income to craftsmen, shopkeepers, retail merchants and their employees, and online sellers … like me! Then, too, there are the producers of the hardware used to manufacture the furniture and the sellers of those products and … well, you get the idea!