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Fix Scratched Teak

Teak is a wonderfully forgiving wood, which makes it great for fixing up if your piece is a little worse for wear. I recently purchased a really scratched up unit; the sides were mostly ok but it had clearly been stacked as some point and the top looked as though some cats had a disco on it. Anyway, with that picture in your mind… here’s how to fix up a scratched piece of teak furniture.

Big, deep scratches – iron them out!

They often look worse that they are because whatever caused the scratch took the wax off and left the bare wood showing through, which is naturally a lighter colour making the scratch stand out more. The first thing to do is minimise the depth of the scratch.

To do this:

  1. Get an iron and switch it to a medium heat. Turn the steam setting OFF!! ..and wait for it to get up to temperature.
  2. Place a tea towel (single thickness) on top of the scratch. Gently iron (no steam!! got it?) the scratched area applying a little pressure to ensure the heat makes it through. Do this for a maximum of two minutes.
  3. Let the towel cool to room temperature before removing to allow the wood to cool slowly.
  4. That’s it!

You should see that the wood had expanded, shrinking the scratch. This will only work once!! Do not try to do it again as it may cause the grain to raise up unevenly.

Once your scratch has shrunk, follow the next steps…

Sand down… if required

If you’re just fixing up a couple of small areas, you might be able to get away with sanding small patches or even not sanding at all. However, my unit was a total wreck (see above!) so I decided to sand it all over. I started sanding manually, but soon realised that it was going to take much more than that! As well as scratches, dents and liquid stain circles, it had one large stain which I presumed was red wine or something similar, so I had to give extra attention to that area. Once I’d seen the extent of the damage, I used an electric sander in the end to give a consistent look across the whole surface (see left, below).

Get a good wax polish

The polish (I use Liberon’s Wax Polish Black Bison – great name!) isn’t just for the top layer, it needs to get right into the wood. So, I use a soft-ish scouring cloth (I’ve read you can use wire wool but that terrifies me!) to rub the wax into the surface. If you’ve taken all the polish/varnish off this really is the best idea. You’ll need to pub in two layers of the wax at least, leaving each to dry for a couple of hours minimum.

When you’ve finished, firstly get another scouring cloth and rub over the entire surface, taking off the excess wax sitting on top. After that, you’ll need a thick rag and some strong arms to really polish off the wax, leaving a matt finish with no streaks. The top right image is the after shot of the same section – good as new!

Irreparable scratches

If you’ve got a really deep scratch or dent, the iron trick probably isn’t going to work. So you might want to get a wax stick to fill the gap… I use a Liberon was stick and it works ok… its never quite the right colour, but it is better than a big hole! To be honest, I think I just know its there because others don’t seem to see it!

Some final advice… Take it slowly

These things cannot be rushed!! If you think you can get away with just sanding a small section, you’d better be sure! If you find the wax looks different on that section to the un-sanded section at the end you will kick yourself – trust me! It might be best to sand the entire surface in the long run…

Good luck!



I love interiors! I've always enjoyed styling my home and my husband will tell you I'm always moving things around and trying something new. My favs include Mid Century Modern and Ecclectic mixes of contrasting themes such as classical design and pop art.

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