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  I don't understand the whole "teak oil only" preference.

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Author Topic:   I don't understand the whole "teak oil only" preference.
littleblue posted 09-03-2004 06:54 AM ET (US)   Profile for littleblue   Send Email to littleblue  
I really wanted to varnish my teak but read a few people saying teak oil looked better and was okay in terms of longevity. I still was going to go w/ the varnish, but the guy at west marine said teak oil only would be better. I did it, and it looked great, but after only two outings and maybe a week in the sun, all the wood is starting to fade, especially the anchor hatch. Am I missing something? Did I use a cheap oil? (West marine premium gold teak oil).

So now I have to do the job all over again, taking off all that trim, sanding, etc. Not looking forward to it. The worst part is that I'm planning to go fishing every other day for the next five days or so, and I would like the boat to look nice later in the week when I take some friends out on it. No time for removal, sanding, and varnish dry/apply times. Is there any additive I can use to make it (the teak oil) last longer?

littleblue posted 09-03-2004 07:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for littleblue  Send Email to littleblue     
By the way, I did do a search but didn't think that this oil compared to amazon or anything else could have such a significant difference in lasting time.
jimh posted 09-03-2004 07:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Oiling teak is an on-going process.

Proper varnishing will take much longer to accomplish initially, but will then be less work to maintain.

Peter posted 09-03-2004 07:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I used West's Premium Gold Teak Oil once and it was a terrible experience. It looked great for about an hour after application. Within two weeks and one rain storm, it looked like I hadn't oiled the teak for months. The oil seemed to wash off with any water or evaporate in the sunlight. All other non-West brand oils I've used lasted for at least two months exposed to the elements day-in and day-out before a touch up was required.
PeteB88 posted 09-03-2004 08:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Jim is right. Marine oils are an excellent option and what we referred to as "work boat interior finish" when I was involved in a wooden boat company. There are lots of formulations - options which could drive you nuts. We made our own. It is also important to understand how oil finishes work = the material oxidizes ultimately creating a hard, resin like finish. That said, it is possible, with repeated applications, to saturate the wood (not the best description) which becomes obvious. In any case, oil finishes do not dry like modern paints - it takes some time to completely cure. Owners sometimes complain when oil finish remains tacky as a result of too frequent applications.

I would study up on marine spar varnish over teak. Your oiled surface should be great for varnish. In fact, old timers often preppped bare wood with oil formulations prior to bright finish or paint.

However, wood (esp teak which is naturally oily) is very difficult to sand after oiling. From what you have said - 1) it is possible the oil formulation has not fully cured which you need to determine - is it tacky? sometimes it takes a few days or more 2) if it seems cured best thing you can do is scrub it up to keep clean and to make it look nice. 3) consider bright finish over the oiled finish with high quality materials ONLY after you a) fully understand proper application techniques and b) allow oil to fully cure - usually no big deal but there is a caveat that takes some time to explain.

finally, you gotta be realistic about teak or any wood specific to why it is there, intended function etc. If we are talking seats and consoles that's one thing. hatch covers and floor boards are a different deal. Wood on Whalers is intended to be functional while adding an elegant aesthetic value. Personally, I would never own one without wood.

As you know, many boaters allow teak to "weather" which drives me nuts. They could maintain it with high quality oil which protects this preciaus resource for decades or a lifetime. All wood I have seen in Whalers demand respect and maintenance becouse it is valuable and difficult to replace.

Whaler owners are welcome to send me any piece of wood they remove or think is no longer any good as long as there is no obvious rot (more than 50%) of the board or insect infestation. I will make good use of it.

If this is a high traffic/used area you might just keep it oiled. IF not or if you are like me and it drives you nuts because it is not bright finished - get ready to varnish once you get time. Email me for more info.

PeteB88 posted 09-03-2004 08:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
This is an excellent exchange regarding teak

jeffs22outrage posted 09-03-2004 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for jeffs22outrage  Send Email to jeffs22outrage     
I really is a matter of personal taste. Myself I much prefer the oiled wood to a varnished or sealed wood. I hate the plastic glossy finish the varnish creates. To me, you may as well of used a man made fake wood instead of a beautiful nature product. I also can not stand how if the varnish gets scratched or damaged the finish seperates from the wood and turns white. To me oil gives the wood the finish it deserves, a natural one. One where you can see and feel the grain of the wood. I can not stand a weathered teak though. To me that is a sign not caring enough about the boat. If dont right the oil finish will last quite some time but, not as long or as maintaince free as a varnish. If your base is a good one it may only need a good re-application once a year. And there is no need to remove the wood, just mask it off.

I would also recommend using a Danish Furniture teak oil. These can be found in woodworking catalogs. These are what I have found to be the best oils for any kind of teak or mohogany. This is all I have ever used on my boat or on my custom furniture I have built.

andygere posted 09-03-2004 10:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Cover your boat and the teak will need just a touch up with the oil once or twice during the season. If you varnish it and leave it uncovered, the varnish will crack and lift in time, and you will have a real mess. The sun will break down any finish you apply, so protect your finish from the sun.
PeteB88 posted 09-03-2004 11:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Marine finishes must be high gloss - - helps reflect UV as I understand it and makes a tough finish. One woodworker I know with instructions to put a satin finish on a exterior door (awesome door) made the final coats satin over multible build coats of high gloss.

My friend Andy who is an expert sailor and navigator, and from New England, says all boats should be painted and painted w/ marine high gloss white - only!

I agree oil finishes are totally appropriaate but the clear, high gloss finishes are spectacular - - and unique to Whalers - respect them, and care for them. Techniques learned can be applied to other projects. MOST OF ALL this is an opportunity to share something classic and a project with your kids - - and OUR opportunity to pass to the next generations what is becoming a dying art.

Last post about covering is important - - howver, bright finishes can be damaged in extremely hot, humid weather if not vented and heat is allowed to build up.

Respect old growth and high value hard wood - - as appropriate for furniture, boats, musical instruments and airplane components.

littleblue posted 09-03-2004 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for littleblue  Send Email to littleblue     
I'm thinking now it may just be this west marine teak oil. I put on sever applications while it was parked in front of my house w/o being used and still it would seem to dry out in two days. I'd put another coat on and then w/in the next two days you could already tell that it was fading. That was in sunlight for some time, but non a drop of water hit that wood. I'll try another oil first I think.
adaco posted 09-03-2004 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for adaco  Send Email to adaco     

There is much controversy...and more than a few posts... regarding the various options for teak. I previously used Seafin brand oil (maybe the best oil) and liked it initially, but eventually it would show signs of weathering between applications and I would start over. Last season I went with Cetol Marine Lite finish (a breathable sealer). Some feel the resulting finish is not the "true" teak color, but I feel that all of my teak components look terrific...and require a minimum of upkeep. I would suggest getting a scrap of clean teak, finding someone who will let you use a little Cetol, try it and see what you think about the resulting finish. If you like it, your teak maintenance woes are over, believe me.


DADDYSSHRINKII posted 09-04-2004 12:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for DADDYSSHRINKII  Send Email to DADDYSSHRINKII     
We all have our own opinions and tastes. To me an oil finished gun stock is far more elegant than a high gloss finish. Similarly, teak that has been kept clean and covered (if possible), looks far better oiled than sealed. However one must find a teak oil without any sealer component. My '78 Montauk gets complements for the teak. No one has ever been near that wood with sandpaper or bronze wool. I bought the boat new in July of '78 and will use it again tomorrow God willing.
I oiled the teak this last Wed evening. Boat is garage kept while Momma's Tahoe sleeps outside!!
Peter posted 09-04-2004 07:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
LittleBlue, same thing happened to me with the West oil years ago. I can't specifically remember which brand I used that worked reasonably well but believe it might have been Starbrite.
Marsh posted 09-04-2004 10:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
Tung oil might be a good alternative to teak oil or varnish...I used tung oil many years ago on my classic Montauk, which was stored outdoors, with good results. It's relatively inexpensive, available at any hardware store, and fairly durable. I did touch ups annually. Easy to do, and very easy to apply and clean up.


Landlocked posted 09-04-2004 09:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
For about five years I used Behr Brand Teak oil from Home Depot on my boat once a season Looked good and held up well. Last year, feeling a bit guilty about using the "cheap" oil, I went to west and bought their premium golden and expected superior results. It lasted about a month and then looked like I had never done anything.
I'll never use it again.


andygere posted 09-05-2004 01:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I've tried most brands and keep coming back to Starbright Teak Oil. Little Blue, oiled teak will shed water all day, it's not the water that causes it to fade, it's the sun. It may take 3 or 4 applications of oil initially if the wood has been sanded and was neglected for a long time before refinishing.

Here's what the teak on my Outrage Cuddy looked like before and after sanding, but before oiling:

Here's what it looks like now, 2 years later:

I've done nothing other than keep the boat covered and re oil it 2-3 times per year. By the way, the boat stays in the water year round and gets fished hard. This is not a garaged cream puff by any means. Take your time, do it right and it will look terrific. Cover it up and it will last.

littleblue posted 09-05-2004 01:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for littleblue  Send Email to littleblue     
What the heck...Andy, did you do any boating in sausilito ca today? When I launched today (somewhere around 3:30ish), I saw a boat just like yours by the launch ramp in sausilito. Anyway, your wood looks great. I made a bit of a mistake I think in using star brite sealer, kind of gave the wood a weird orange, dull, look. Not TOO bad, but it does seem to protect pretty well. When this wears off, I'll try just the star brite oil.
andygere posted 09-05-2004 02:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I was in Sausalito last weekend, launched at Clipper Yacht Harbor for the Whaler Salmon Tournament. Sadly, no boating at all today.
alkar posted 09-05-2004 02:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for alkar  Send Email to alkar     
She's a beauty Andy...
home Aside posted 09-05-2004 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Wow Andy......That's one Beautiful Whaler you have there....Nice Job


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