Q. I have a 10-year-old teak table that was purchased with an oil finish and no color on it. Because it is badly scratched and stained I have tried treating it with linseed oil and steel wool, but it does no good. Is there some way I can refinish this?

A furniture that is purchased with an [WORD ILLEGIBLE] finish almost always is coated with either a sealer or a type of penetrating oil that acts as a sealer (often it is usually a dull lacquer). At any rate, the only cure now is to remove all of the finish or oil with a varnish remover then sand the wood till it is clean and smooth. Finish with a penetrating sealer (if you want an oiled finish again) or with a varnish (high gloss or satin finish).

Q. "We have allowed ivy to grow up the outside of our stucce house. Can this cnse deturicration of the stucce, or cause mildow?

A: I don't know of any way the ivy could cause direct harm to the stucce, though the older it gain the harder it will be to remove if you over decide to do so. As far as mildew is concerned, this could contribute to it since the ivy will keep the sun away from the walls and will help to held [WORD ILLEGIBLE] - two conditions that help mildew thrive it it does start to develop.