Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A man, his iPod, and some trisodium phosphate...

Just looking a my brand new farmers sunburn and I'm reminded of this past weekend. No, not fun in the sun angling for fish on Lake Mead for me this time. Not some golf event for that matter either. Nope, instead I decided to tackle a few projects in my backyard over the holiday weekend.

The lawn needed to be aerated and had to do it manually, plus it was time to kick up the watering schedule a bit. Some of the rose bushes were already getting too large so I cut them back to size.

And then there was the outdoor teak wood furniture set that I have been trying to take care of practically since the day my wife and I bought the set back in 2002.

For the most part regular maintenance on the furniture included some sanding and then cleaning up with a solution of Simple Green and water, but there is a little more to the why of it all. You see, when we first bought this gorgeous furniture and put it all together we had this wild idea to head to the hardware store and buy some sort of oil finish. We should have never done that. Since that time we haven't really been as pleased with the kinda expensive set. Sure, we've used that furniture each and every time we've had folks over for cookouts and the like but sealing the teak wood, as we came to find out is what we did, messed things up.

Since that time a couple of times a year, or so, I've been sanding off the finish then washing it with a solution and walking away. Over time the more natural look has come back but it had left me without a better solution as to how to maintain the teak wood of the furniture.

So I hopped on the internetz to take a gander to see if anyone else had anything on how to care for teak wood. I sifted through mostly product information for the most part and prices on teak wood care products ranged all over the place from about $30 to $200. Well, I've been burned on a product before (the oil/sealant stuff from way back when) and didn't want to plunk down a bunch of dollars on something that would cause the same mess over again (can't blame me really). But eventually I came across a bit of information that said a solution of trisodium phosphate, regular bleach, and water would help do the trick. It didn't sound like a huge expense (but I didn't know what trisodium phosphate was) so I again headed to the hardware store to check it out. Found the stuff at the paint department and decided to pick up a small box of it in powder form for like $5 bucks. The results can be seen below...

I have to say that I didn't set up the chairs in true before and after succession. The chair on the left is the finished product of my labor. The color is as close to what it was the day we put the furniture together. I finished with a light sanding by hand.

On the far right is the condition of the chair before anything was done, just simply the elements of time and weather since the last time I sanded and cleaned. The chair in the middle is how the furniture has looked after a sanding and cleaning with the solution I mentioned at the beginning. For the most part I didn't mind the look of sanding and cleaning but that was before I saw the results of the trisodium phosphate/bleach solution.

All in all, once I started to use the new (to me) solution to clean the furniture time went by pretty quickly and compared to staining the furniture it was a snap timewise. The large table and the six chairs took most of Monday, but the weather was reasonable (I thought anyway) for this kind of activity and I had the iPod on random play for and reconnected with tunes I probably haven't played in more than 10 years or so. I think I may be looking forward to the fall season to perhaps give this sort of maintenance another go and hopefully will have a fully charged iPod for listening pleasure.

The point of this post is just to sort of pay it forward, so to speak. Maybe somebody else out there in the vast internetz is pondering the same sort of activity and hopefully the before and after photos will be of some help if they happen to land on this site after a search.

Good day.

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