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  What kind of oil to use on my Teak wood?

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Author Topic:   What kind of oil to use on my Teak wood?
grw66 posted 10-30-2004 09:43 AM ET (US)   Profile for grw66   Send Email to grw66  
I'm just wondering what you all use on your Teak wood to keep it conditioned. I see about 1000 products out there for Teak wood but I was thinking about using just good old Raw Lin Seed Oil. Would that be a mistake? What is your opinions? I really don't want to spend hours and hours working on the woodwork of my Whaler. I'm a maintance free kinda guy. Regards, Gary.
PeteB88 posted 10-30-2004 10:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
This is a great question and having finished lots of wood boats, I never figured out what is best for teak - and certainly want to know. I was involved with a manufacturer of wood/epoxy composite boats some years ago in PNW. We recommended marine oils for interior finish we referred to as our "work boat finish". We had good results with Watco Marine Teak oil - which was readily available and priced reasonably in gallon quantities. We used it on unfinished Doug Fir marine ply (interiors and floorboards) or Brynzeel mahogany marine ply - but never on teak because no teak was in those boats.

We also experimented with linseed based oils that we made up. Typical formulation is 50% linseed (boiled) and 50% turpentine (old school painter's formula) but we would substitute mineral spirits for some or all the turp. Other versions we heard over the years would include some spar varnish, 20-25% tung oil w/ linseed, addition of pine tar and on and on.

It is important to note that marine oil finishes oxidize and leave what is very much like a hard finish. You can also over saturate the wood which requires a solvent wipe-down.

I am really interested in what others have experienced. At least you are interested in oiling that teak - many just let it weather and ultimately rot.


kingfish posted 10-30-2004 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I think there are a lot of threads in the archives about this, so it is probably worth the effort to do a search. I have come to prefer Amazon Golden teak oil, though am in the proces of sanding my teak down to apply a urethane finish.
jimh posted 10-30-2004 11:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have used Amazon Golden Teak Oil, too. I don't have anything to compare it to, but it seems to work well.

Pete's observation about the finish oxidizing is interesting. I think the finish you get may depend on how you apply it. I used to use a rag and rub the oil onto the wood. I have also tried a foam brush to apply the oil. This applied a heavier coating of oil. Letting this sit overnight seemed to produce a different finish than obtained with rubbing in a thinner coat. There seemed to be a harder surface on the wood, a residue of the oil, rather than the bare wood with oil in it.

Oiling teak seems to be a continuing process. This summer I was oiling my teak almost every time I used the boat, which was at 2-week intervals approximately. The boat is stored indoors, so the teak is not in constant sunlight. Even with this exposure, the teak seemed to need frequent oiling. In this case I was using the rubbing technique to apply the oil. I may try a heavier coat next season with the foam brush technique.

sjohnson posted 10-30-2004 11:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for sjohnson  Send Email to sjohnson     
I too use Amazon Golden Teak Oil. Seems to last longer and keep the teak well protected. I noticed it darkened the teak a little more than other oils I've used. This seemed temporary, though. After a few days the teak seemed to lighten up and looks great. Amazon's cleaner works well also.


PeteB88 posted 10-30-2004 12:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Jim's experience is typical. We have tried all possible methods of applying marine oils to wood boat interiors incl those Jim described. Some pro finishers apply consecutive and/or final coats w/ steel or bronze wool - fine or ultrafine. This method creates another level of different and unexpected results.

IN any case, I think it is pretty hard to wreck your wood if you use marine oil finishes. For example, we preferred high quality wood oars for white water drift boats and rafts in the Pacific NW. The absolute finest were/are sitka spruce, 9foot for our use. One of our very capable and experienced white water/fly fishing outfitters would soak the blade end of his guide boat oars in linseed oil or some combo of linseed and solvent vehicle - for like a couple of days. He would literally stand the oars, blade ends down, in a bucket of oil that would cover the first third or half of the blade. He believed that oil would permeate the end grain, migrate into the wood fibers and toughen up the edges of the oars. This is a capable, bright person who did 3 and 4 day white water, fly fishing trips non-stop from May 1 until Dec every year with a one week break early Aug. This is the same fella who we had life test our finish formulations.

It is possible to over saturate the wood w/ oil which really does no harm, is obvious to the eye and easy to fix. When that happens you will see a resiny, sticky build up that is not uniform on the wood surface. The fix is solvent wash with steel/bronze wool and rags.

Finally a very significant added benefit to marine oils over bare wood AND subsequent build coats is that oiled wood makes an excellent base for spar varnish or oil based marine paint - and a lousy base for epoxy finish or bonding. Many old timers use linseed/turp/m. spirits over new or stripped and cleaned bare wood prior to paint or varnish. I do that all the time on boat parts and restoration of wood work and windows of my 1914 house. It works great.

So if you ever want to varnish over oiled wood - it works and probably lasts longer than cut varnish penetrating coats over bare wood - no data on that.

I am compiling/updating all this stuff in manual form - actually updated from kit boat and assembly manuals I did some years back - copyrighted of course and would be happy to share w/ Whaler Bros.

REMEMBER - test your objects first - Jim hit on the fact that results are never 100% predictable and 2) because oils oxidize that is a chem reaction that generates heat and can cause spontaneous combustion - don't throw oily rags in the trash! - lay them out flat, outside until they dry (get stiff) or soak in container of water.

Cicada posted 10-30-2004 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
I used Daly's SeaFin Teak Oil on the 18' Outrage. The oil was applied by wet sanding a number of coats. Rebecca Whittman's book "Brightwork: The Art of Finishing Wood" details the process and has a wealth of information on the removal and application of wood finishes for boats.

I have a mooring cover that's used when the boat is parked and a center console cover that I use when traveling or towing the boat. The oil finish on the console teak has remained in good shape while the gunwhales have needed a number of reapplications of oil over the summer. I think this has more to do with the gunwhales being horizontal and exposed to more water and sun than the difference in covers. The wood tends to bleach out and am considereing using varnish on the gunwhales. I think with any finish wether it's oil, varnish or urethane that a cover is needed to protect the finish and provide some kind of longevity.

My preference is for the oil finish. Seems to be a softer finish visually which I find appealing. I enjoy working on the Outrage but with limited time I will opt to use the boat rather than work on it.


grw66 posted 10-30-2004 06:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for grw66  Send Email to grw66     
Thanks guys. I think I'm going to try the Amazon Golden Teak Oil. I'm trying to keep things simple and that seems the easiest. Enjoy the winter. Regards, Gary.
LHG posted 10-30-2004 07:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
If you're using Amazon brand, which I also prefer because of it's low varnish content, try their premium "Blend 55" oil.
Shoreway Marine catalog has it.

All brands of teak oil have an unpublished amount of varnish in them, some more, some less. Daly's Sea Fin evidently has a high varnish content, which is why it lasts pretty well. Generally, the more varnish it has, the longer it will last, but will look glossier than others. Varnish is also the reason why you can't just wipe it on, and let it dry. You have to wipe it off in 10 minutes or so, or the varnish in it will dry and glaze over, giving you a lousy appearance.

This is also the reason why a good one-step teak cleaner, like Amazon's, will get rid of varnish and teak oil spills on fiberglass. It has to cut the varnish in the teak oils

Marsh posted 10-30-2004 09:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
I used tung oil on an older Montauk I used to have. Got excellent results, too.


Tom W Clark posted 10-31-2004 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Daly's SeaFin Teak Oil is what I recommend. As a professional woodworker and life long boater, I think it is the best of the best.

Larry is correct that Daly's SeaFin Teak Oil has a relatively high varnish content (though not as much as Daly's FloorFin or ProFin). It is good stuff. It is not true that it will "glaze over" if you do not wipe it down. It really depends on what you are applying the SeaFin to.

Wet sanding with 400 grit paper after the initial flood coat application will simply get the teak VERY smooth. The wiping down is most important after the the first few coats to avoid "bleed back" where tiny spots of the oil finish come back out of the wood and dry to a shinier appearance on the surface of the wood.

If this should ever occur, it is not big deal, just steel or bronze wool the spots down and wipe on another coat.

Daly's SeaFin Teak Oil is very easy to use and is also a superb base for varnish. It eliminates the tedious paste filler coat typically used on porous wood like teak if you wet sand as I describe above.

I have talked extensively about teak oil finishes and Daly's SeaFin Teak Oil in particular here on the CW Forum over the years. If you use the search engine you can dig up many very good and informative threads on the subject.

Daly's SeaFin Teak Oil is available at any West Marine and many other paint and hardware stores.

rsgwynn1 posted 10-31-2004 07:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for rsgwynn1  Send Email to rsgwynn1     
Now that my teak is nice and refinished, I've been spraying it down and applying Armor-All after every outing.

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