working with teak - Router Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-03-2014, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Default working with teak

I'm building a bar top for my son that going to be inside and outside.
We decided to go with 3/4 x 4-1/2 t & g teak.
How hard is this stuff going to be on my tools??
Any ideas or hints would be appreciated.
Rich T
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-03-2014, 02:26 PM
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By Christopher Schwartz
(he says it better then I can)
1. Your house will smell like Pier 1

2. Because of teak’s waxiness, your machines will be able to take only about one-fourth of their usual cut. Teak bogs everything down.

3. When handplaning it, you cannot position your cap iron close to the iron’s edge. The waxy shavings gum up the works. Ditto on the mouth. Open it up.

4. Even though teak is waxy, you need to wax your plane soles about twice as much as usual. Use dry lube on the surfaces of your machinery.

5. Sometimes it smells like dung (see also, No. 1).

6. When you cut open thick pieces, the inside can be lightning-bug green. Don’t freak. It will turn brown.

7. It is an outstanding wood for dovetailing. Doesn’t crush. Pares beautifully. Tough as nails at assembly time.

8. Teak repels water. So water-based glues are tricky. If you use PVA or hide glue, wipe all surfaces with lacquer thinner before gluing. Hope for the best and peg your tenons.

9. Epoxy and polyurethane glue are fantastic choices for teak, but you have to use gloves etc. to protect your skin from the chemistry.

10. Teak used to be one of the least-expensive woods used for campaign furniture. Now it is just about the most expensive choice ($20/board foot is common). This stinks because it’s hard to throw away any scraps (need some wedge-shaped offcuts?).

11. Teak turns crisply with little tearing.

12. Teak can be so gorgeous I couldn’t imagine using any colorant on it. Shellac and maybe a little wax is all it needs.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 08:26 AM
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Rich, I grew up with teak furniture, and still have some pieces more than 50 years old. Our bar and table tops are waterproofed with normal white floor wax, a thin coating once per annum. This also guarded against the greying effect. After this many years the furniture still looks like it was made last week. If you start using teak oil, you have to continue with it, as it leaches out the natural teak wax.
A beautiful wood, easy to work if you go at it slowly. Enjoy the build


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 02:57 PM
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Use Acetone instead of Lacquer Thinner.
Lacquer Thinner is slightly greasy. Acetone is a purer product.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 06:30 PM
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Don't forget a good dust mask, teak is an irritant at best. It is in the toxic list.

Workmanship is not perfection; it is how well you can cover your mistakes.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone, I was in Thailand while in the service and the barracks we stayed in were made of teak. It was hell trying to make any repairs because we would have to drill before we nailed.
I'm looking forward to the project.
Kind regards,
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-11-2014, 09:42 AM
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Default working teak

new to the Forum but i have worked with a lot of teak, found that it routs very well but don't even try hss, only carbide, planes Ok sands only so-so. I have never tried to nail it but pre drill and it holds screws very well. The major problem is glueing, use acetone or MEK to wipe with not mineral sprits. the only glue that i have never had fail with tight joints is resorcinal , its not easily available any longer but there area couple of places that will sell it in 1 or 2 gallon plus quantities. It has a shelf life, is not a gap filler and does not require extraordinary clamping pressure if joints fit well. I personally have never felt the need to wear gloves when handling teak but but don breathe a lot of dust. Keep cutting bits and blades clean with acetone and a rag/brush. Slivers tend to infect more easily than northern hardwoods. My experience has been with "real teak" and like mahogany there are a lot of substitutes out there today. I have always preferred an oil finish over varnish or poly look for marine finishes. Good luck with the bar.

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