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Old 22-04-2012, 23:04   #1
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Teak... Surely not the first time

I have done some initial searches around the forum for threads on teak and how different people care for it ( or not care for it ). But I haven't read anything about oiling the teak.
We have washed and or sanded nearly all the teak and have started to oil it with the expectation to have to continue to reapply every few months. I see varnished teak that looks horrible as its peels away in the sun. But I don't know how long that varnish has lasted before looking that way.

What is the preferred way to keep the teak looking good?
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Old 22-04-2012, 23:24   #2
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I use beeswax. It makes the teak more water repellant and reduces staini g. Its not slippery either
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Old 23-04-2012, 00:05   #3
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

We've tried many different things, including teak oil of various kinds and Semco. Teak oil and Semco ages nicely, but if you're in heavy air pollution area it will attract more dirt from the air.

At the end we've decided that, as for deck surfaces, reoiling in the islands wasn't a preferred way to spend our time. So now a gentle pressure wash every season does the trick.

For non-walking surfaces Cetol works great. You just have to make sure you touch up the scratches.

We've seen some very good results on another boat with a product called Teak Wonder. But we haven't tried it ourselves.
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Old 23-04-2012, 01:56   #4
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

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I use beeswax. It makes the teak more water repellant and reduces staini g. Its not slippery either
Welcome to CF Craggles.

Do you use it just on the interior, or does it work for exterior teak as well?
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Old 23-04-2012, 03:37   #5
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

Teak is a very oily wood....if you "clean" it with a high water pressure you blow the oil out of it, if you scrub it you wear it away, if you oil it, it attracts more dirt....
The grey you see is two things...firstly the action of UV on cellulose destroying the celluar nature of the surface...secondly the oily nature of the wood binds dirt and dust.

In our part of the world the UV is so strong it kills teak very quickly.

Whatever you do to keep it "looking nice" does harm to the surface, if you do nothing it gets grey and dirty

AND it wears away with physical activity...eg teak decks...not only do they get dirty and "need" cleaning, they wear away with crew walking on them

After years of "caring" for teak decks, I ripped em all up and glassed the whole superstructure of the boat...it still gets dirty, but it doesn't wear out
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Old 23-04-2012, 04:36   #6
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

Are you talking about teak decks? Teak brightwork? Unvarnished teak rail? Or what? They are generally treated differently. Perhaps even the same teak thing is treated differently in different climates.

Where I am -- the temperate North Atlantic, UK -- the only thing we do to teak decks is give them regular seawater baths. Once a season perhaps a treatment of Boracol against algae and fungus.

Teak consists of layers of very hard material and layers of extremely soft material. The soft material naturally wears down to leave the hard material standing proud. If you sand the decks in order to even that out and get rid of the ridges, it just accelerates the wear of the soft stuff and the ridges appear in no time.

Besides that, anything you do to reduce the overall thickness of the decks will leave the Sikaflex joints standing proud, which will accelerate their deterioration.

Oiling them just attracts dirt and makes them dirty looking. Maybe it's needed in the tropics -- I don't know. But here we never do that; they look awful and recover only after a couple of seasons.

Pressure washing them, however gently, destroys them almost instantly. Even a spray from a hose with your finger on the end of the hose will strip away the soft layers.

Likewise, a brush, even a soft one, used with the grain, will ruin the soft parts of the deck. Never touch teak decks with anything except with a motion across the grain.

The main thing they need -- at least in our climate -- is regular buckets of sea water in case you are not getting sea water over the decks naturally from sailing. The salt is hydroscopic and helps keep the teak from drying out. Sea water also seems to kill algae. With regular buckets of sea water, teak decks turn a lovely silvery gray and will last for a long time. Mine are 12 years old, have never been sanded, never repaired, never oiled, and are still in perfect condition -- no bad seams, no leaks, no splitting.

Since the teak decks are the most expensive single component of the boat -- replacing them is more costly than repowering -- I fervently hope for 20 years out of them. So far so good. But I do recognize that in the tropics they last much less long.

If you're talking about teak brightwork, I can't help you. I don't have any. All the teak on my boat is unvarnished.
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Old 23-04-2012, 05:26   #7
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

I see some very nice looking rails on motor yachts arpound here. The guy said he applies 2 coats of epoxy then many coats of varnish. Similar to this:
WEST SYSTEM | Application Techniques - Varnish over epoxy
However, he uses another technique of sitting the wood in the sun - then bringing it into the shade before applying the epoxy. (and then it "sucks" it into the grain). they recommend using a hairdryer.
I used it in interior wet areas for waterproofing..

my cockpit decks are mostly ruined from the refit - spillage of various products.
Was thinking about sanding back a little.
Maybe coating with epoxy??? Would epoxy seal and preserve decks longer? or just look terrible?
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Old 23-04-2012, 06:05   #8
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Craggles.
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Old 24-04-2012, 21:04   #9
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllezCat View Post
I see some very nice looking rails on motor yachts arpound here. The guy said he applies 2 coats of epoxy then many coats of varnish. Similar to this:
WEST SYSTEM | Application Techniques - Varnish over epoxy
However, he uses another technique of sitting the wood in the sun - then bringing it into the shade before applying the epoxy. (and then it "sucks" it into the grain). they recommend using a hairdryer.
I used it in interior wet areas for waterproofing..

my cockpit decks are mostly ruined from the refit - spillage of various products.
Was thinking about sanding back a little.
Maybe coating with epoxy??? Would epoxy seal and preserve decks longer? or just look terrible?
Epoxy is quickly damaged by UV if left unprotected. You would have to overcoat the epoxy with some kind of clear coating with UV filters. However, it would make your decks very slippery, defeating the whole purpose the teak.
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Old 24-04-2012, 21:33   #10
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllezCat View Post
I see some very nice looking rails on motor yachts arpound here. The guy said he applies 2 coats of epoxy then many coats of varnish. Similar to this:
WEST SYSTEM | Application Techniques - Varnish over epoxy
However, he uses another technique of sitting the wood in the sun - then bringing it into the shade before applying the epoxy. (and then it "sucks" it into the grain). they recommend using a hairdryer.
I used it in interior wet areas for waterproofing..

my cockpit decks are mostly ruined from the refit - spillage of various products.
Was thinking about sanding back a little.
Maybe coating with epoxy??? Would epoxy seal and preserve decks longer? or just look terrible?

I've done a whole lot of epoxy sealing for varnish. It does make the whole job last longer, but it also complicates "patching" and maintenance down the road. And when it does fail, the only way to remove it is grinding, which is a real PITA. It is also subject to bridging problems due to solvent popping. Products like Smith's/CPES do this the most due to their high solvent loading and extremely long off-gassing time. I have had best results using WEST system with Tropical hardener only, reduced 50% with MEK. Your friend who suggests putting removable pieces in the sun and then coating in the shade really knows what he's talking about. This is one of the reasons we build high end pre-preg boats in a temperature controlled environment. I have seen extremely expensive problems result from doing the reverse, ie storing balsa panels in a cold storage area and then laminating in a heated shop. You can fill the grain on teak with WEST using much fewer coats than any other product, and chemical bond each coat, which is a massive time savings. However, most of that time savings is removed by the fact that no matter how carefully you thin and coat, WEST will hang and run on you. This means you will end up having to sand out all your hangers and runs before varnishing, which means much hand-blocking and hard work. It ends up being a wash at best. I don't do it anymore and haven't for some time unless a client specifically requests it and I can't talk them out of it, which happens fairly often. There are other products which will get you a durable proffesional result without so much trouble, especially later when you need to wood it out again.
I personally would never coat teak decks with anything. I think it defeats the purpose AND looks godawful. Those who are concerned about removing some of the soft grain, "even with just a hose", I think are also missing the point. When some of the soft grain is removed, as will inevitably happen, the teak deck gets a ridged effect which provides fabulous traction. I think people who are constantly sanding to keep their deck flat are just wasting good teak deck to keep it looking like a new teak deck. It should not look like a new teak deck if you are more concerned with function over form.
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Old 24-04-2012, 21:41   #11
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

Seriously - Use a slightly satin varnish on the interior teak. Use a crowbar on the exterior teak. Replace with plastic, metal or FRP. Or maybe paint it. You never get those wasted hours of maintenance back.
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Old 24-04-2012, 21:48   #12
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

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Seriously - Use a slightly satin varnish on the interior teak. Use a crowbar on the exterior teak. Replace with plastic, metal or FRP. Or maybe paint it. You never get those wasted hours of maintenance back.

"Wasted" is a matter of opinion. Personally I enjoy varnishing and equate it to a landlubber's gardening. My boat looks incredible as a result and gets maximum respect from all those who work on it or have anything to do with it. A tour of the interior is a special treat for most other boaters we run into. A few acres of perfectly bookmatched showroom quality teak varnished well has a lot of charm, and that's worth something to some people. Other's put a premium on their time going sailing to the exclusion of that sort of maintenance, which is just fine with me, but someone needs to keep the old arts alive. What would the world be like without a single real "yacht" all varnished and pretty? I think it would be a lesser place for it...
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Old 24-04-2012, 22:04   #13
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

I shouldn't say this because I sell all sorts of teat treatments but I'm with Dockhead. A soft brush across the grain, rinse often with sea water and let the Sun bleach it. If it's in bad shape to begin with, do what you have to do to get down to clean smooth wood, then begin the sea water and sun maintenance.
Of course you could do it the old fashion way. Get yourself a bunch of sailors, give them each a block of sandstone and a bucket of sea water. They will appreciate it if you count cadence for them as they shove the block of stone back and forth on the teak deck.
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Old 25-04-2012, 02:25   #14
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

I use the bees wax in the cockpit in my Bavaria. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Qld and we have had plenty if rain. I used the bees wax in a couple of different panels to assess the difference. The teak stays more timber colour and water beads for longer. Running in and out of the companionway has seen the lift up step remains in a better looking state of timber than the rest. When i get time i will reclean the rest of the teak and bees wax it.
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Old 25-04-2012, 03:13   #15
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Re: Teak... Surely not the first time

Do you just rub the beeswax on to it? I have some teak cabin top handles that are shocking and need a good sanding to get the black marks and dirt out.

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