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Old 25-01-2014, 11:20   #1
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Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Hello All,
I have an 84' Catalina 30 and I need to protect the interior wood. I have cleaned the wood but now I need to put something on it that will protect it. I thought about doing a teak oil but the boat holds moisture so I wanted something a little more substantial. I do not want to sand the interior of the boat.

I am debating between products and I'm open to ideas that have worked for you all.

Interlux is an option. This is the one that recommends sanding in between applications but I'm not sure if it's required.

INTERLUX 004_128_001_504 at West Marine

Then I looked at sikkens and I like that but it only comes in colors. Anyone use this before and found good/bad results?

My 3rd option is Epifanes (woodfinish matte).

I'm trying to stay away from really high gloss. I just want something that looks nice and is low maintenance.

Thoughts?
Thank you for your time.
Isabel
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Old 25-01-2014, 14:58   #2
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

You will get lots of conflicting opinions on this subject... here's mine:

The interior of our boat is over 90% timber. Mostly New Guinea Rosewood, some Aussie hardwoods... and it is all varnished, using non-marine matte finish Estapol (urethane based) from Bunnings (Aussie equivalent to Home Depot). It is considerable effort to do this, but it looks great and lasts a LONG time below decks. How long? Well, we've owned the boat for 11 years and the only areas that have required any touchup are the high wear areas around the galley sink and the fiddles on the main galley counter. The rest still looks as new, and was not brand new when we bought the boat. And the touchup was simple... just a light sanding and brush on two more coats. Oh, slight correction: the high wear areas are done in gloss finish... it's a bit more wear resistant.

The various oils are easier to put on, but never look as good and require frequent renewal to maintain even that lower standard of appearance. Plus in some environments they grow mold... eecchh!

For us, the long life and great appearance make the work worthwhile... YMMV.

Cheers,

JIm
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Old 25-01-2014, 15:39   #3
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Hi Jim,
I appreciate your detailed reply. The wood on your boat is AMAZING. Thank you for the pictures. I feel like we have such a long way to go. I am going to do some research on Estapol. We want it to last for a long time. By any chance have you ever heard of a product called Penofin? We have a friend who used this and liked the results, but like you said, there are so many opinions:-)
Thank you for your time.
Best,
Isabel
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Old 25-01-2014, 20:39   #4
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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, which closes the grain and wipe off the excess after five minutes, a trick I learned from a professional woodworker. A few coats look pretty nice and it goes fast with minimal preparation. If you don't like the effect you can then spend days and days and days and days putting on eight coats of epifanes over the linseed oil, they are compatible as varnish is oil based.
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Old 27-01-2014, 09:42   #5
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

I think Jim Cate's woodwork is gorgeous. However, there is an enormous amount of preparation required to make a woodie's woodwork worthy of a woody even before applying the varnish.

The technique of using 00 or 000 artificial steel wool pads to apply linseed oil is called a French rub. Make sure you rub with the grain as even 0000 is mildly abrasive. I should mention never to use real steel wool anywhere on a boat as the little particles that come off will rust in a few days. The very fine artificial steel wool is also great for getting rust stains off stainless steel or bronze parts or for prepping metal for paint.

Below are before and after pictures. Only two coats applied, the hardest part was removing the thick layer of old varnish with a heat gun and putty knife, sanding didn't work very well other than generating ozone impairing clouds of toxic dust. As the satin finish doesn't show every minute flaw, little preparation is needed. Sanding to 150 grit, wipe off the heavy layer of sawdust and apply the linseed oil which is inexpensive and easily obtainable (my Lowe's stocked it.)

If you get a little scratch or water stain you don't have to completely redo an entire expanse of wood, just the affected area. The finish is pretty hard when the linseed oil dries and should last just fine on interior woodwork. Applying another coat is almost as easy as wiping down the woodwork to clean it.
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Old 29-01-2014, 05:01   #6
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Azul,
Thank you for your thoughts. I noticed in the attached before and after pictures that it appeared you had some mold on the wood/interior. We are battling with this same issue. Did you bleach the wood before you put the oil on?

I have bleached some of the cabinet doors that I removed already.
Thank you,
Isabel
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Old 29-01-2014, 06:26   #7
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Isabel, your problem is a familiar and common one. I had similar issues with our 1982 Morgan. We had tried teak oil and it did look nice....for a while. We also had some issues with mildew.
Our solution was to clean and lightly sand the woodwork, and then apply 3 coats of semi-gloss Interlux polyurethane. (I do NOT recommend true varnishes like Epifanes because they tend to be softer and more difficult to apply. Sure they look great, but...) The brand that you use isn't terribly important, but you MUST use a product with high UV protection. The more expensive products usually have more "solids" and thus, there's less solvent that evaporates.
The project is A LOT OF WORK! We took off every piece we could and brought them home over the winter (even the dining table.) Label everything! That gave us a big headstart on doing the work in the spring.
Take the cushions off the boat (sanding dust.) Read up on applying varnish and the preparation required. An excellent text is "Brightwork" by Rebecca Wittman. It's very informative and a fun read.
Our project was done in 2 steps over 3 seasons (we couldn't stand to work on it the middle year.) It looks wonderful! We have done virtually no maintenance and have not had a bit of mildew in the 6 years since it's been done.
I highly recommend applying semi-gloss polyurethane. Good luck.

Dale
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Old 29-01-2014, 07:30   #8
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Coastal Living: I didn't have to do any bleaching. I gave up on sanding off the varnish, once you get the technique down it is easier, faster and removes less wood to use a heat gun and a wide chisel that isn't too sharp (one inch wide is good, 1/2 for tight spots.) Heat the varnish until it starts to slightly bubble and it peels right off. Keep a fire extinguisher handy though! Afterward it took very little sanding, remember there is a lot of veneer in most sailboats and in some boats the veneer isn't very thick. Sand with 80 or 120 first, then 150 or 180, then the French rub. Do not use a power sander, you will cause more harm than good. For tight or curved areas like paneled doors you can make a sanding block from a piece of styrofoam- heat it with a torch to get the right curve. Using good quality sandpaper (wet/dry works, or a folded over orbital sanding disc) is important as cheap stuff just disintegrates.

I didn't invent this technique, I learned it from a transient boater that was a professional wood worker. He also had owned sailboats for decades. The linseed oil gives a slightly glazed very hard satin finish.

Someone should do a thread on sandpaper. I wasted a lot of time trying to use too fine a grade of sandpaper, poor quality sandpaper etc.
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Old 29-01-2014, 07:58   #9
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

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.
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Old 29-01-2014, 08:39   #10
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Hi. I have oiled interior teak that has been treated with Watco teak oil for decades. Some areas in the galley wre darkened and I would like to clean and reapply the Watco. Can you be more specific about the teak cleaning? I've used two-part teak cleaner on pieces I've removed from the boat in the past but the process requires a lot of rinsing with water and I'm not going to do that on a boat I'm living on. What cleaner do you use? Can you rinse with a cloth to remove it completely? Thanks. Annie
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Old 29-01-2014, 09:06   #11
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie in WA View Post
Hi. I have oiled interior teak that has been treated with Watco teak oil for decades. Some areas in the galley wre darkened and I would like to clean and reapply the Watco. Can you be more specific about the teak cleaning? I've used two-part teak cleaner on pieces I've removed from the boat in the past but the process requires a lot of rinsing with water and I'm not going to do that on a boat I'm living on. What cleaner do you use? Can you rinse with a cloth to remove it completely? Thanks. Annie
Annie,

Definitely use a one-part teak cleaner, unless the wood has real water damage or seriously embedded mold. If it's just dark from too many prior sloppy applications of oil, or dirty from food/grease/hands, a one part cleaner should be sufficient.

If you're just doing limited areas, buy a quart of any of the ones you find at your chandlery...they are all essentially the same thing, a mild oxalic acid solution. I've used MaryKate Nu Teak with good results.

Wet the teak with a rag, apply the teak cleaner with a rag, wait a few minutes, scrub lightly with a scrubby pad, across the grain if possible, then wipe off. It may require a few applications depending upon the thickness of the old oil. You'll know when it's stripped...it looks like bare wood. Then rinse it with clean fresh water and let it dry. It's then ready for re-oiling.

I work with two buckets, one to rinse out the dirty pads and rags and one for the final fresh water rinse/wipedown. Wear nitrile gloves as the cleaner will dry out your skin pretty quickly.

If you're going to need more than a quart, then buy the unmixed crystals and mix up a solution yourself. Much cheaper that way. I know West Marine sells them, and it's what boatyards buy since they go through gallons of the stuff.
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Old 29-01-2014, 09:07   #12
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

I used Le Tonkinois Le Tonkinois Classic varnish and Vernis No1 for the interior of my boat.

I removed about 90% of the interior to affect structural repairs. Then rebuilt the interior teak woodwork.

Its been done for about 3 years. Was easy to apply and is looking good.

What I liked about it no odor you could probably drink it.

Will post some pictures later have to run.

Jack
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Old 29-01-2014, 09:31   #13
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Another option is French polishing. It is an ancient technique that works very well on interior surfaces, doesn't produce an overwhelming shiny, thick coating like conventional varnishing, and it can be done in stages without creating a mess. I use it for fine wood projects, repairs to damaged teak, or simply to "freshen up" a dull interior.

First, using some cotton rags, denatured alcohol, and plenty of open portlights and hatches for fresh air, scrub the wood surface HARD with the alcohol dampened rags. This removes old, dried flakes of dead finish, as well as any residue of cooking oils, cigarette smoke, or other crud that some folks have generated down below. You can do this for small, selected areas if you feel overwhelmed by the scope of the project.

Next, pour some thinned varnish in a bowl or saucer, about 1/4 inch deep. Take a fine weave cotton rag (such as an old diaper or tee-shirt), preferably without color than white and scrunch it up to form a ball about 2 or 3 inches in diameter. Dip a portion of the ball in the varnish to absorb about a teaspoon of varnish, then start rubbing an area of the teak that is easy to work on, either horizontal or vertical. You are going to practice the technique before going overboard. Rub on enough varnish to wet out a four-square inch block. Now, without adding more varnish, rub back and forth, in multiple directions, to squish the remaining varnish in the cloth, deep into the grain, as if sanding the surface. Scrub vigorously enough that you begin to generate some frictional heat. The varnish will begin to thicken and evaporate, as it develops a dull glow. When the surface is just about unworkable, dip the rag again in varnish and begin another four square inch patch. Don't worry about the finish that ensues, this is a process that will evolve. When you have completed a section, then rewet the rag and polish the whole area you previously completed. The burnishing of the soft varnish wears down any stray wood grain fibers, removes any deteriorating former finish, and results in an attractive surface that is better than what was there before.

The next day, don't bother with sanding, simply begin again, atop the previous finish. The idea is to use the varnish as a cleaner/lubricant, polishing it smooth with mechanical abrasion of the cloth, and leaving just the slightest amount of varnish behind to slowly build up the shine and color.

Though this may take a long time, it is easy to perform and is far more durable than oiling, waxing or traditional varnishing. Go on YouTube to see how to perform the process. I use this technique when working on people's boats to make my installs or repairs disappear and to transform a surface from blah to beautiful in a few moments.
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Old 29-01-2014, 09:46   #14
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

I'll toss my few cents in...

My boat is a working boat not a work of art. Thus I tolerate imperfections in the interior brightwork. Plus I've been know to skimp on the preparation.

My first choice is Captains Varnish for most woodwork. Goes on well and looks good.

But I must admit that MinWax Helmsman Spar Varnish works very well. It is a urethane and about half the cost of the "boating" varnishes. Plus it stands up to UV very well. And is quit resistant to scuffing.
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Old 29-01-2014, 10:23   #15
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Re: Interior Teak Wood...too many options!

Most interior satin finish will not hold up for exterior use, so read what the application is for. If you plan on varnishing teak wood tends to be oily enough with out adding to it. Light sand, 220 grit, and then wipe down the wood with acetone to get the top grease/dirt off/dust off. I hate suing acetone as it wrecks my manicure and strips the polish off.

As for the varnish buy a quart at a time as varnish once open will dry/harden. If multi coats be sure to sand in between coats. When we re finished the Eagle interior I use Captains satin which has held up for 16+ years. Twice a year I apply Liquid Gold polish which has a gloss finish, and protects very well.
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