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How to Strip Teak Wood

You can strip the finish from teak wood as easily as you strip the finish from any other type of wood. A commercially prepared chemical stripper, an old paint brush, and some plastic scraper-type utensils are really all you need to strip teak wood and prepare to refinish it.

Things You'll Need:

  • Latex Or Plastic Protective Gloves
  • Plastic Putty Knife Or Old Spatula
  • Chemical Stripper
  • Medium Paint Brush
  • Toothpicks And/Or Bamboo Chopsticks
  • Safety Glasses
  • Several Soft Cloths
  • Spray Bottle With Clean Water

Remove any hardware and wipe down your piece of teak wood using a clean, soft, damp cloth. This removes any surface dirt and prepares the surface for the chemical stripper.

Apply chemical stripper. Wear protective gloves and safety goggles to protect your eyes. Work on a small area at a time. Use a medium brush to brush it on using small strokes. Apply a fairly thick layer of chemical stripper, at least one-quarter inch. Allow the chemical stripper to work for a few minutes to break down the existing finish.

Use a plastic putty knife or old spatula to scrape off the old finish. Do not scrape too hard or you could damage the wood, even using plastic. Place the scrapings into a plastic bag. Use small plastic knives, toothpicks or bamboo chopsticks to remove any finish from carved areas or other design features which are too small for a putty knife.

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 if necessary to remove all traces of the old finish. On some pieces that have multiple coats of paint it may be necessary to repeat Steps 2 and 3 several times before the old finish is completely removed.

Wipe down your piece to remove any minute particles of the old finish and the chemical stripper. Use a spray bottle of clean warm water and a soft cloth. Spray the teak wood lightly with water and immediately wipe it off with the cloth. Do not let the water sit on the piece or it may raise the grain.

Allow the piece to air dry for 12 to 24 hours before sanding or applying stain, varnish or other sealant.


Always wear hand and eye protection when working with any chemical preparation. Always provide adequate ventilation when working with commercially prepared chemical strippers. You will find all the supplies necessary to refinish wood furniture and other items at home improvement stores.

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