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Old 30-01-2014, 05:19   #16
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

These are all such good thoughts and it has me thinking even more. It seems like with all varnishes that I have to sand in between coats. Will the subsequent coats not stick if I don't do the sanding? Also, with varnish, after a couple of years in order to put more coats on will I need to sand?

I like the idea of the oils but I'm nervous that it's going to "hold the mold" and one of the goals with this project is to protect the wood from the mold. And also be able to easily wipe down the wood to keep the moisture off.

Ah! So much to think about
Thank you,
Isabel
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Old 30-01-2014, 08:30   #17
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

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These are all such good thoughts and it has me thinking even more. It seems like with all varnishes that I have to sand in between coats. Will the subsequent coats not stick if I don't do the sanding? Also, with varnish, after a couple of years in order to put more coats on will I need to sand?

I like the idea of the oils but I'm nervous that it's going to "hold the mold" and one of the goals with this project is to protect the wood from the mold. And also be able to easily wipe down the wood to keep the moisture off.

Ah! So much to think about
Thank you,
Isabel
With Le Tonkinois no sanding between coats or after its been on for years. That was a selling point for me.

Jack
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Old 30-01-2014, 15:38   #18
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

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Originally Posted by CoastalLiving View Post
Also, with varnish, after a couple of years in order to put more coats on will I need to sand?
Thank you,
Isabel
Isabel, in the interior of your boat you should not need to put more coats on for much longer than a couple of years. As I said, our varnish is over 11 years old (we've owned the boat that long) and except for the high wear areas around the galley, it still looks very good and has not required anything beyond an occasional wipedown to remove atmospheric crud (cooking vapours, etc).

A comment: the amount of work required for any of the finishes is related to the amount of "fancy" woodwork present. Things like moldings with narrow curved surfaces (don't know the proper term) that some woodworkers like are bloody hard to sand and to get a smooth finish in the varnish. If your timber is relatively simple, the job is WAY easier! Big areas of flat timber, like bulkheads, are easy.

Cheers,

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Old 30-01-2014, 16:23   #19
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

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People here have mentioned that varnishing an interior is a LOT of work. That's an understatement. It's an enormous amount of work if you want it to look really good. Varnish will show every flaw, and if you don't have good skills in applying it to get a nice smooth even finish, it will actually look terrible. If you're going to do it, and the results matter to you, make sure that you have the brush skills to ensure that you get the kind of finish you're looking for.

The interior of my Valiant is oiled teak. This past summer I gave it a good cleaning, down to the bare wood and re-oiled it using Watco teak oil from Home Depot. Compared to the oils you find at chandleries that cost more than twice as much, it has a bit of hardener in it that gives you a finish that is more durable against moisture.

The upside of oiling vs. varnishing is that, while it's not as durable, it takes a fraction of the effort. I could clean and re-oil the teak 5 times or more before I'd approached the level of effort required for varnishing. In addition, it's non-destructive, with no sanding or scraping or use of a heat gun. You wipe on the teak cleaner, wait a few minutes, scrub, and rinse/wipe off the residue. Applying the oil is trivial. And, you can re-do spots that need attention, like fiddles, galley areas, end so forth on an as-needed basis with very little effort.

A hand rubbed oil finish, done properly, has warmth and elegant luster that varnish can never match. It looks like fine furniture and makes your cabin an entirely more welcoming and pleasant environment. It is also more durable and mold/moisture resistant (vs. simple oiled wood) because it's comparatively smoother. You can wipe off mold similar to a varnished surface. That said, it's again a considerable amount of work, probably 3x the time required vs. simple oiling, particularly if you have a lot of detail areas and corners. If you do it, DON'T use steel wool, use a very fine grit sandpaper. There are plenty of resources on the internet for technique.

So, while varnishing will give you the absolute best finish in terms of durability and moisture resistance, its a huge amount of work to get it to look good. If you have a lot of wood on your boat, then I'd suggest oiling it first and if that doesn't work for you, then go down the varnish route. Cleaning off the oil before varnishing will be relatively quick and easy and you won't have invested a tremendous amount of time seeing if oiling works for you.
Sage advice here, the interior of our custom built Westsail is 38 years old, old growth teak solids has always been oiled, areas of paneling maybe wiped with a damp rag once in awhile for to remove some dust. Looks like new.

Problem with varnished interiors is eventually will have to be re-varnished.
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Old 30-01-2014, 16:53   #20
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

"If you aren't sure how to proceed you can start with a few coats of linseed oil. Rub it in with artificial steel wool,"
I'd never do that on a boat. First, because linseed oil isn't the same as boiled linseed oil, but either of them will eventually oxidize and blacken and since they are organic, they feed mold. A citrus oil or real teak oil will not blacken, will not feed mold or mildew, will actually kill much of it.
Second, because any kind of steel wool leaves little steel (iron) slivers in the wood, which will rust and bloom, black or rust red, in the wood in a damp place.

So, a proper oil applied with bronze wool or copper wool or one of the plastic "wool" pads, sure. But linseed oil and steel wool just don't belong on the woodwork on a boat. They may work for some people in some places, but they'll create a lot of trouble in others.

Scott's Liquid Gold is also a good "oil" to use, apparently it is a synthetic version of one of the better oils and much easier to find, in the US.

Once you varnish...that's a lifetime of varnish maintenance and a job to remove. I'd rather just use an oil and rub on a new coat every month or three, as needed. Unless there's really something unusual the wood needs protection from.
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Old 30-01-2014, 17:06   #21
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

I read the words linseed oil and saw several posts recommending products containing linseed oil. Read the product disposal directions and warnings carefully, we almost burned down our house last year when some rags with some linseed oil spontaneously combusted during the middle of the night. A very close call. Always soak the rags immediately after use with water and place in a sealed container filled with water. Spontaneous combustion is real, I know of several others who experienced the same thing.
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Old 30-01-2014, 17:12   #22
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Take a look at any of Rebecca Wittman's brightwork books for info on doing it right.

The Brightwork Companion : Tried-and-True Methods and Strongly Held Opinions in Thirteen and One-Half Chapters: Rebecca Wittman: 9780071422772: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 30-01-2014, 18:24   #23
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

For years now I've been using Murphy's Furniture Polish. It lasts for years, smells good and I like the light color. I've cleaned with TSP, Oxycilic (sp?) Acid, or teak cleaner (for dirtier wood) prior to application. I use a thick white cloth (diaper), and as above, lots of elbow greese.
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Old 31-01-2014, 06:59   #24
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

For us it comes down to:
- A little work once a year
- A lot of work once every 5-10 years with a little touch up every year

No doubt a well varnished interior looks nice but oiled teak looks nice enough for us and the boat is a means to an end (cruising).
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Old 31-01-2014, 09:20   #25
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Thank you all for you feedback. I can see pros and cons to all solutions and methods. I'm leaning more towards starting with an oil and then see how that performes. Then, if I don't like the look, I can always move into the world of varnishing. Of course, this could change over the next week!
Isabel
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Old 31-01-2014, 09:21   #26
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

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Sage advice here, the interior of our custom built Westsail is 38 years old, old growth teak solids has always been oiled, areas of paneling maybe wiped with a damp rag once in awhile for to remove some dust. Looks like new.

Problem with varnished interiors is eventually will have to be re-varnished.

What type of oil do you use on your Westsail? It is beautiful!
Isabel
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Old 31-01-2014, 09:57   #27
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

A few people have mentioned using steel wool, fake steel wool, and scrubbie pads to apply oil. Just want to clarify this a bit, as I mispoke in my post above.

If you're just going to oil the wood, then applying with a clean soft rag is the way to go. The general simple method is to apply the oil, wait 15-30 minutes, then reapply and distribute wait another 30, then wipe off all the excess oil, working until the rags come up clean with no or very little oil residue. Repeat until the surface is even in terms of penetration and surface appearance (no flat or glossy spots). Unless the wood is really dried out, the above should be adequate. This is basically a "hand rubbed" finish. The better you rub it and "burnish" the oil into the wood, the more lustrous and even the result will be. But you're ultimately limited by the grain of the wood and you don't want to apply coat after coat until you have something you can burnish smooth.

Applying with steel wool is a bad idea because bits of it will invariably break off and embed in the wood. And then maybe rust if any moisture gets to them. Black freckles. Ick.

There's really no point or need to apply or wipe the oil with anything abrasive like a pad if you're looking for a simple oiled finished. Unless you're aiming for a wet sanded finish, which is a different animal.

In wet sanding, after the above procedure, you'd go at it with another coat of oil and very fine sand paper (#400 or finer) in the direction of the grain. What the sandpaper removes will fill the wood and the result is a very smooth surface, basically a fine furniture grade finish. This is what you'll find in extremely fine and expensive yachts, a gorgeous, lustrous, almost luminous finish that is the oiled equivalent of a french polish finish.
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Old 31-01-2014, 10:15   #28
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Depending on the condition of the surface when you are ready to apply more finish, Ihave used Daly's Sea Fin teak oil. It is not just oil... it hardens up like varnish, but can be applied with brush and a rag. It will be more of a soft satin finish.
I have also sucessfully used Polyureathane like Varathane.... and it is my preferred product... not as soft when dry as real varnish. It comes exterior or interior, the exterior is darker if that's what you want, but you dont really need it for interiors. The only difference between the two are darkening agents that block UV. They accumulate in the exterior type in the bottomof the can so stir well for those types.
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Old 31-01-2014, 10:33   #29
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

... after 30+ years amateur wood working and refinishing old furniture, I use TSP (it does dull paint and finishes) for initial cleaning, then go to strippers and acetone only if necessary to dissolve and remove old finish/varnish. I'm lazy and only do minimal sanding before and no sanding once I start applying oil. For interior applications, I don't think varnish or urethane are necessary and I don't worry about UV unless there are large windows. I apply good quality natural oil with a cotton (diaper or tshirt) cloth (no brush) and really rub it in. Watco danish, teak, or whatever seems to work fine, as do other brands and my choice depends on the color I want and what the store has in stock

After years of abusing my body and killing brain cells, I now wear gloves and a respirator (not just a dust mask) when working with cleaners and finishes.
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Old 31-01-2014, 11:27   #30
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Was the original finish really bad? Or just lacking in some luster.

My Catalina 30 is a 1980 model, and I got the interior looking far better just by polishing with lemon oil. The original finish was ok, just dull. For a "real" refinish I'd likely sand/strip then apply a varnish. But I'm not going to do that. Too much work, and I've got a strange propensity to sand through veneer. It looks pretty good just wiping on the oil with a soft rag - so that's what I'm sticking with.
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