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Refinishing Svend Aage Madsen Executive/Writing Teak Desk

- 09 Dec 2017 -
12 posts / 0 new

Need some advice. I have a Svend Madsen Executive Teak Desk bought in 1960. It has the original finish which means it could use some refreshing. Any advice? How to safely clean and refinish with oil. Any recommended types of oil (Tung, Teak etc.)?

Thank you for your help and patience for lack of experience.

Refinishing Svend Aage Madsen  Executive/Writing Teak Desk
United States
1960 - 1969


- 09 Dec 2017

Teak oil and 0000 steel wool. Massage oil in with steel wool, let sit for 15-30 mins, wipe off excess oil. repeat until happy with finish. make sure to wait a day or two between oil applications. this is the easiest and most impactful treatment you could do. there are a lot of other more advanced techniques to take it to the next level, but oil and steel wool is the way to go for ease and time spent refinishing.

- 10 Dec 2017

No problem. I like Watco teak oil because it has a higher resin content, builds faster, has a little bit color, is readily available, and seems to be slightly more protective. If you want a lower resin content (varnish), Starbright teak oil is the way to go. Both have their benefits, and ideal applications. There are a lot of opinions on which oil is best, but at the end of the day you just need to try them, and find where you stand.

If you are feeling really adventurous, you could oil, and then put 1-2 thin coats of a high quality satin resin like arm-r-seal on the top. Just the top surface of the desk though. Some will call me a heretic, but desks and table tops, when intended to be used, really benefit from a little more protection on the top. You will need to strip it if you ever want to redo it, but it will take the daily punishment of use 100x better. Just my opinion though.

Good luck.

- 10 Dec 2017

Thank you for your good advice. I intend to sell most of my collection. I inherited them from my parents and my kids indicate they do not want them. I am looking to downsize and I hope to get these pieces into the hands of people that will truly enjoy them. I will keep the dining set (credenza/hutch and 8 set table) since my wife likes to entertain once a year and elegant dining sets are not very prevalent anymore.

- 10 Dec 2017

I am sorry you have such tasteless children. Good luck with the desk, ..... and the children.

- 10 Dec 2017

Just be careful not to go heavier on the steel wool on specific spots because they can end up lighter in color than surrounding areas. Steel wool is capable of removing wood cells when you apply a lot of pressure.

I agree that an oil with some varnish in it is best for work surfaces and dining tables. I mostly deal in chairs so I rarely use it myself. But if you just want to get this stuff done and on its way, a non-varnish oil is fine and the new owners can always apply a varnish oil if they want with no special prepping.

- 10 Dec 2017

i would refinish the children and get them into the hands of people who would truly enjoy them.

- 10 Dec 2017

Thanks for the advice.
I can't blame the kids for not wanting to collect stuff. That is not what they are interested in these days. They want to get real experiences through travel and activities.

Collecting stuff is from our generation and previous generations when foreign travel was not so frequent.

What to do with the stuff when we are gone? I have an artifact collection from my youth. Around 900 objects in all. Maybe put it in a box and stash it in one of the kids houses for their kids to find.

- 10 Dec 2017

Someone in the art/antiques business advised me years ago to look for stuff that our grandparent's generation thought was special.

For estate and/or insurance purposes, it's good practice to catalog your collections. Photos, dimensions, brief description with artist/origin if known, condition, and location can be put into a basic database on a disc or USB drive and kept off site for future reference. These kinds of documents can be of tremendous value when needed.

In a way, though I'm an inveterate pack rat, I'm with the kids on this. Mine are of similar minds as the OP's and I've done my best over the years to impress upon them that stuff can be a burden in the end. Sometimes I wonder if I'd be doing them (and me) a favor if one day I tossed a lit match over my shoulder on my way out the door in the morning.

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