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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I have an unfinished solid teak table that I've been working on. I've run into a problem though in an attempt to remove a small water stain, I ended up sanding more in a specific area (the water stain is long gone). What I've found now is the grain in that area has little mini tears or seams within the grain, while the other areas of the table don't (which I sanded as well but not as much as the problem area).

I've been sanding using 150 grit followed by 220 grit sandpaper with a sanding block. The problem area is perfectly smooth when I run my hand along it, but if I lightly drag my finger nail across the problem area (perpendicular to the grain) I can feel the little tears or grain much more clearly than other areas. Also I can tell the wood grain is overall more pronounced when looking at it in the light.

I am fairly new to all this so I may be describing an issue that is common or has another name. What can I do fix it and even out the grain effect across the whole table?

Any help is very much appreciated, thanks.
 

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It sounds like something else is going on rather than the wood having a water spot. It sounds like there is some defect in the wood there and getting it wet just revealed it. Getting wood wet will raise the grain. This is why when doing fine work a person will wet the wood between sandings to bring out anything that might be wrong. If it were mine I would wipe the entire top down with a damp cloth and when dry sand it again. There might be other spots that won't be revealed until you start putting a finish on and you don't want to find it out then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for the quick reply!

A few things, the water stain was very small (I should have just left it alone but that’s another issue) and the problem area is about 2 feet by 6 inches going with the grain, basically where I did the excessive sanding.

Is there such a thing as 'over sanding' that would cause the grain to become so pronounced in that area?

Should I consider a light application of a grain filler to even out the problem area?

Also I plan on just putting teak shield on it so I won't be staining, oiling or sealing it to keep the natural look of the wood. I am open to any other suggestions on a way to finish the table to provide protection while preserving the natural look and feel of the teak.
 

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Hello, you simply sanded through the finish. I'd suggest you sand the entire top, then apply a few coats of a sanding sealer. Then finish with your top coats.

I'm going to guess you bought it at one of the many import companies offering "solid Teak" and "solid mahogany" furniture from China, India and or Indonesia? Their lumber sources are somewhat questionable so you often are not getting quite what is advertised.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I bought the table at Crate and Barrel, and it was described as unfinished so there shouldn't have been a finish to sand through. I guess whats odd to me is that only the area I've spent more time sanding is like this (per my original post to remove a small spot). The problem is I've sanded the whole table but can't seem to remove the graininess in the problem area (in the picture) while the rest of the table is much more smooth/consistent when I look closely at the grain.

I just want to clear up that pitted kind of graininess seen in the picture since the rest of the table isn't like that. Will sanding sealer solve this problem?

Thanks for all the help, clearly I am new at this and really appreciate the help and input.
 

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The sealer will fill the grain pores with a couple repeated coats. If you are planing to stain I would be best to sand to 220, stain then seal.

Don't sand again until after the second coat of sealer so you don't sand through to the stain.

I you are using an oil finish instead insert that in place of stain in the above.

Once the grain is filled and the surface is smooth you can apply your top coats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmm, I didn't want to use an oil finish since I wanted to keep the natural look and color of the wood. I don't want to darken it which is my understanding what will happeen if I use tung oil or teak oil on unfinished teak. Are there some other options?

Thanks again
 

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No matter what finish you use, it will darken it to some degree. You could use only the sealer and top coat with shellac. That would protect the wood while not darkening it too terribly much. Or a water born poly, not something I care for but far more durable than shellac.

There are likely some finishing gurus here that could better answer that aspect of your question. Hopefully they chime in too!
 

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I'm not overly familiar with teak but I have to watch for honeycomb a lot here. Happens during the kiln drying process most prevalent in red oak but I have seen it in lots of other woods.
 

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OK the picture explains everything. Your problem spot is a naturally occurring part of the wood which has more open grain than the rest of the board. Your not going to sand it away and its not a defect. This is also common on woods like ash, oak, mahogany and walnut and many more. The only way to get rid of it is to include a paste wood filler in your finish process. Wood fillers often come in different colors and if you can only find one in a "natural" color, have it tinted to the color of the stain you are going to use. Otherwise you will have almost white streaks where the grain is. The filler can be tinted just like latex or oil based paint with the same tinting color that all paint stores have in their tinting machines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So would paste wood filler or sanding sealer be the best option for a natural look to even out the grain while being fairly easy? I am leaning toward finishing it with tung oil so what would go best with that too?

Thanks again for all the help.
 

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So would paste wood filler or sanding sealer be the best option for a natural look to even out the grain while being fairly easy? I am leaning toward finishing it with tung oil so what would go best with that too?

Thanks again for all the help.
Paste wood filler is kind of like a slow drying wood putty that fills the texture of the grain. Normally you brush it on and let it thicken and either use a squeegee to remove the excess or rub it with a rag in a circular motion. At the time you rub it, its about the consistency of thick drywall mud. This fills the texture of the wood and when dry you do a light sanding and apply stain if you want some color and use the tung oil last. If you are wanting just the look of the tung oil without stain, I would use the tung oil on a scrap of wood and have a paint company tint the filler slightly darker than the sample. A little green and raw umber colorant should do the trick.

If you put sanding sealer on the wood then you should finish with a film coating. you can fill the grain with the finish, it just takes a lot of coats to do so. It definitely won't be a natural look.
 

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Well said. Wood fillers can do the good job for it. They are available in different colors and finishing it for couple of times can give the smooth texture. Thanks for the nice post.
 
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