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Author Topic:   Teak sealer
rsgwynn1 posted 04-22-2002 07:23 PM ET (US)   Profile for rsgwynn1   Send Email to rsgwynn1  
I probably should have put this in the repair section, but here goes.

The teak on my 83 Revenge was cleaned by the former owner before sale. Now what should I put on it (saltwater use)? Stuff like WaterSeal or something special? From what I've heard, I'm disinclined to varnish. But should I use teak oil for the nice color or just leave the wood alone? The wood on rod holders and cooler brackets looks different. Different treatment?

Taylor posted 04-22-2002 08:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
I've been putting on Daley's Seafin teak oil. Daley's is local, but I think West Marine carries it nationally. I'm sure there are a bunch opinions, though.

Regarding the chocks and rod holders, we recently noted that they are usually made of mahogany, and varnished.

rsgwynn1 posted 04-23-2002 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for rsgwynn1  Send Email to rsgwynn1     
Thanks. I'd like to get other opinions too. Anyone else? Maybe we need a teak section in reference.
JFM posted 04-23-2002 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Daley's teak oil is not teak oil. It is a sealer similar to light varnish or polyurethane. I know this from first hand experience. Real teak oil does not need to be sanded between coats. It's very simalar to tongue oil for fine furniture. I use Starbrite Premium Gold in my teak furniture business. It's not made to last long, but it can be easily removed and easily reapplied.
Regards, Jay
Taylor posted 04-23-2002 02:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Jay certainly knows teak better than I do.

But I was sort of surprised to hear that Seafin was not 'teak oil' so I gave Daly's (the correct spelling) a call and chatted with their chemist. Its not a big company. He says (and I'm paraphrasing from my notes):

There's no such thing as teak oil, in that they don't take the oil out of the teak. If you walk into a marina and look you will see many products called teak oil and they all have different formulations. Generally they start with tung oil or walnut oil or 'otaseak' oil (I don't know the correct spelling) and then add things. Daly's adds a mix of 'hard drying resins' (this must be where the poly comes in) in order to get a product that will dry hard and thus not attract dirt. Some products with more pure oils sometimes don't as dry hard. But is it a polyurethane? No, its too 'highly oil modified'.

Daly's introduced Seafin around 1960, and it has been very popular, now having national distribution through West Marine. Many boat bulders, including Hunter (that's a classy sailboat builder) use it. There was an article in Wooden Boat about taking Seafin and modify it by adding linseed oil and thinner.

<end of paraphrase>

I suspect that there is a lot of brand loyalty and blind faith in the teak product you choose and use. I like it because

1) it does not require much commitment to add a coat
2) it can be touched up later
3) it seems to build to a nice sheen

Now my boat is kept in a boat house, used in the cloudy Pacific Northwest, and not exposed to the Texas sun. Your milage may vary.

JFM posted 04-23-2002 03:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Taylor you are right about there is no such thing as real teak oil.

Tongue oil, or real funtiture oil is best for indoor use. If you use a tongue oil like product outside it will get dirty in a hurry and won't last long.

One of the largest and finest teak furniture producers (Barlow-Tyrie) states: "Do nothing to our teak furniture but clean it".

I have tried all brands and types, and there is maint. on them all. Daly's makes a great product but it's not like oil. It can be built up to a great shine and weathers better than any tongue oil type product.

Another highly rated product for marine use is Silkens. It's much like Daly's but claims to outlast them all.
Regards, Jay
P.S. This topic will be debated and has been debated many times, rs the choice is up to you.

David Ratusnik posted 04-23-2002 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Jay- I've been using Starbrite Gold as well. You have a point-sun eats it up fast. Are you aware of another "teak oil" that is lighter and lasts longer?? Thanks David
rfrazier posted 04-23-2002 07:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for rfrazier  Send Email to rfrazier     
I've never used this product but have read many folks highly reccomend it.
rsgwynn1 posted 04-23-2002 10:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for rsgwynn1  Send Email to rsgwynn1     
Thanks to all. It's "tung oil," by the way. I've used it in refinishing furniture. It gets its name from the tung bean.
JFM posted 04-24-2002 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
rfrazier, Semco is a very good product. It is chemical based. It is recomended by another fine teak furniture manufacturer, RockWood, the same company where the bench for jimh came. They also recommend to not use anything at all, but clean with a preasure washer(very carefully) 1-2 times per year. But if you use anything on their teak, use Semco.

The bottom line is once you find what you like and the look you like go with it.

Many yacht interior's teak floors and cabinetry are varnished or polyurethaned. The teak used on yachts is select #1 and in some cases it is actually veneered on the cabinetry.
Regards, Jay

fd3 posted 04-24-2002 09:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for fd3  Send Email to fd3     
A lot depends on what kind of exposure it will have. If you keep it garaged or covered when not in use most products will last quite a while. If its exposed to the sun and weather all the time its going to require more effort to keep it looking nice. I kept a boat in a slip in Florida for eight years and tried a variety of products from oils to Perma Teak. I found the best thing was to keep it varnished. As long as you put on a new coat of varnish before it deteriorates too badly you won’t have to strip it every time. Start with 3-4 coats the first time and depending on the exposure it gets you can probably hit it with a fresh coat once a year and keep it looking good for a long time.
Chap posted 04-24-2002 11:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
I always preferred the oiled look and my grandfather always said go with the tung oil based oils rather than the linseed based oils, because they held up better outside. I agree that covered oiled teak stays bright a long time.
Tom W Clark posted 04-24-2002 11:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
fd3 has summed this up nicely. The oil vs. varnish debate is really a matter of personal choice. Teak can either be left alone to gray out, oiled or varnished. Many think of an oil finish as a low maintenance finish but this is somewhat erroneous.

Varnish will preserve to wood into the future by putting a protective coating on top of the wood. As long as it is maintained, you need not strip it all down to bare wood. But varnishing requires greater care and more time up front. Work must precede under near perfect conditions for it to come out well.

An oil finish will require constant reapplication of the oil to keep the surface of the wood well protected and it will still dull with time.

Leaving the teak to gray out is common and acceptable practice among knowledgeable boaters and is (at least in my mind) the preferred method of maintaining the teak decks on yachts. It is mentioned as an acceptable, if not preferred practice, in the Boston Whaler Owner’s Manual.

There is one huge caveat with the “leave it bare” method: The teak needs to be kept clean! Dirt or other pollutants will turn that bare teak black with time if the teak is not gently scrubbed and washed on a regular basis. This is a greater concern in major urban areas where air pollution is a problem.

Getting back to the teak on Whalers, if you want to varnish, fine. Many have done this including lhg who has grown weary of grinding down the teak on his Outrages to re-oil it every few years. I have to admit there is some logic to this method though I am still at odds with the look of varnished teak on a Whaler.

If you do not want your teak to look bleached and gray and you do not want to varnish it, then you must apply some product to it to help preserve to color of the wood.

I must say that the wood work on the Whalers began to go down hull a bit in the late 1980’s based on what I have seen and owned. By 1990 Whaler was using some sort of sealer that was really poor. It had a very “plastic” like look to it. By this I mean it seemed to sit on top of the wood and have a resinous texture. Just looked crappy.

In 1990 I ordered and installed a fire extinguisher pocket for my 1983 Outrage 18. I also ordered the optional teak trim that goes around it. When it came I promptly sanded it down to bare wood because the finish was terrible. There were still huge cross grain sanding marks and the coating on it looked awful. After getting it sanded out to about 150 grit I applied my preferred oil product, Daly’s SeaFin Teak Oil, to it and it really came to life and matched the rest of the teak on my boat which I had just redone.

Regarding Daly’s SeaFin Teak Oil, it is an oil based product with some resins in it to provide more protection. This is also true of many “teak oil” products on the market. It is not like a varnish or polyurethane in any way. It does not sit on top of the wood but rather soaks into it and locks into the grain of the wood. It does not require sanding between coats and can be applied at any time even when things are a little wet.

Daly’s also makes a product called ProFin (available in three different sheen levels) which has much more resin in it and is more of a coating. There is also Daly’s FloorFin which is somewhere in between in terms of thickness and resins.

With SeaFin, you can, if you like, keep applying more and more coats to get an increasingly shiny surface though there is a limit to how far this can go. You will never get a varnish-like surface with SeaFin.

I have used SeaFin for 14 years on my boats and in my business. As Taylor points out above, Daly’s is a local Seattle Ma & Pa (actually Ma, Son & Cousin the Chemist) operation. Their product has gone national because it is so wonderful. I highly recommend it.

SeaFin can also be used as the sealer coat before varnishing. Apply SeaFin to your bare wood and sand with 220 grit to work the SeaFin into the wood and to produce fine sanding dust which will mix with the SeaFin to produce a paste that you wipe all over the wood thus filling the pores in the wood (if you are varnishing an open grained wood like teak or mahogany) or any other small voids. Allow it to dry and sand lightly prior to applying the first coat of varnish.

This last trick I learned from Rebecca Whittman’s well written and superbly illustrated: Brightwork: The Art of Finishing Wood, ©1990 McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing; ISBN: 0071579818

This book discusses all the issues that have been debated in this thread and is a truly worthwhile addition to your boater’s library.

JFM posted 04-25-2002 08:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Tom, I beg to differ with you about Daly's Sea Fin Oil.

For it to work the way you describe, it must be applied like varnish, smooth, even and with care. If not it can be spotty and uneven and definitely needs to be sanded between coats. Or did they send me a sample can of bad product?

The more "oil like products" can be applied as easy as wiping on with a rag and wiping off excess with a rag. Also you can apply a second coat the same way. Can you do that with Daly's? If so they sent me a bad sample.

Perhaps you are partial to Daly's because they are very nice friendly folks from your neck of the woods... Just kidding.

It's one thing to oil a teak bench, but it's nothing compaired to oiling the teak on your Whaler!

You must do what ever floats your boat, regarding the teak. Or you can buy a newer Whaler and forget about it.
Regards, Jay

Tom W Clark posted 04-25-2002 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

You are correct about me being “partial to Daly's because they are very nice friendly folks from (my) neck of the woods”. They are nice. But they also make a good product.

I should emphasize that Daly’s SeaFin Teak Oil is not radically different from other oil finish products on the market. It is just a superior product based on my experience with it.

But to compare it to varnish is a gross mis-characterization.

Varnish needs to be applied with a brush and laid down with as little brushing as possible so that it may level out on top of the wood. SeaFin can be wiped on with a rag or just about anything else you have at hand and soaks into the wood.

Varnish must be applied in a dust free environment to avoid having dust and bits of dirt embedded into the finish. SeaFin could care less because you will be rubbing and wiping it into the wood and any pollutants will be wiped off with you rag.

Varnish needs to be applied at the appropriate temperature in order to flow and cure properly. SeaFin doesn't care what the temperature is, though it will take longer to dry if the temperature is colder.

Varnish needs to be sanded between coats to ensure proper adhesion between the layers of varnish. SeaFin does not. If you sand between coats of SeaFin it will be to smooth the grain that is raised by the SeaFin soaking into the wood, just as with any other oil rubbed finish and not to promote adhesion.

With varnish you need to be careful about runs and drips. With SeaFin it doesn’t happen because the oil soaks into the wood and you will be wiping the wood down anyway to remove the excess oil.

Let me quote from the label of a gallon of SeaFin that I have in my shop:

“SeaFin Teak Oil™ is a penetrating, hard drying low sheen oil finish, designed for finishing interior and exterior woods, especially teak on boats. It will not chip, crack, peel, or blister when properly applied and maintained, thus reducing maintenance by eliminating scraping, sanding, and refinishing.

SeaFin Teak Oil may be applied while the vessel is underway to refurbish or touch up worn or marred areas, and may be used as a maintenance and intermittent coat, giving existing varnished surfaces longer life. When used on teak or wood decks, SeaFin provides a durable non-slip surface to repel water and resist wear.”

The only time you get spots with SeaFin is when it is heavily applied to an open grained wood like teak and after an initial wipe down the oil “bleeds back” to the surface forming tiny little pools on the surface of the wood. The solution for this is very simple: just keep wiping until it stops bleeding back.

If your experience with SeaFin is based on one sample then I encourage you to give it a second chance. You may well have gotten a defective product. My comments are based on years and gallons of use and it is exactly the flexibility of application of the product that makes me so fond of SeaFin. I’ve used it for just about everything imaginable. It is just about fool-proof.

Taylor posted 04-25-2002 12:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Fool proof? That's probably why I like it!
JFM posted 04-25-2002 12:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Tom, you have convinced me to give Daly's another try.
When mass oiling benches it's easy to get a nice finish with Starbrite quickly. Perhaps I can enhance my teak business with adding a premium for a top notch DALY'S finish.
Regards, Jay P.S. They sure are nice folks!
John W posted 04-25-2002 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for John W  Send Email to John W     
Just so I'm clear on this before getting some of this Daly's stuff: the finished look with SeaFin looks like an oiled finish, as you'd get with Starbrite & comparable teak oils??

I do not like the look of Cetol, Wood Pro, or Honey Teak...I want an oiled look to my teak. But I hate how oiled teak attracts dirt so easily. If this gives me the traditional look with less dirt sticking to the oil, I have to give it a try.

Tom W Clark posted 04-25-2002 05:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
John W,

Yes, SeaFin gives you an oiled look, not the plastic coated look of Cetol or of the factory coating Whaler put on the teak when it was new.

Again I repeat: Daly's SeaFin Teak Oil is nothing magical. It is not radically different than other oil finishes on the market. It is the best I have ever used. I like it. You may like it. I mention it by name because of this and because I know it can be had across this great country of ours if only through West Marine.

In general I recommend products or suppliers by name if they are available nationally. It is far less helpful to the FORUM to recommend things that are only available locally. This is why I so frequently refer to West Marine and Boat US. Everybody has one close to where they live. It's not because I think West Marine is the greatest, it's not.

I once recommended WD-40 as a penetrating oil and someone else posted that WD-40 was worthless for anything other than label removing and that you HAD to have this stuff called "Aero Kroil". Now the fact is that Aero Kroil IS better than WD-40 for freeing rusted parts, but WD-40 works too, and everybody in North America (and probably much of the rest of the world) has a can of WD-40 in their garage or basement.

My point is that I do not like sending anyone off on some huge run-all-over-town hunt to find one special product. You should use what you can easily get your hands on. But I believe you can get Daly's SeaFin Teak Oil no matter where you live. If you can, I think you will like it but don't kill yourself trying to find it.

rsgwynn1 posted 04-26-2002 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for rsgwynn1  Send Email to rsgwynn1     
I started the thread, so I'll end it. I'm convinced by the testimonials: ordered Daly's SeaFin.
bmacauto posted 04-29-2002 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for bmacauto  Send Email to bmacauto     
Has anyone checked out the Seatol (sp?) Sikkins products? Very easy to use, yet looks like and protects like varnish. One coat of the flat, and one coat of the gloss, on bare wood, no sanding between coats, looks like 10 coats of varnish. I've seen the outcome on my fathers boat, and i'm in the process of getting all my wood on my 18' outrage down to bare, without using stripper, Has some kind of stain on it now, looks like ceader wood, lol. Anyone else use this product?
John W posted 04-29-2002 02:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for John W  Send Email to John W     
Yes many here use Cetol & similar type finishes, do a search & you'll probably find a number of threads on it. Cetol is the teak finish that is the easiest to keep up with, as it lasts a long time & is easier to recoat than varnish. So if you like the look, go for it.

I, for one, don't like the way Cetol finishes look at all, when compared to traditional varnish or oil finishes. But the latter two are definitely more work to than Cetol to keep wood in top shape.

BabySitter posted 04-29-2002 05:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for BabySitter  Send Email to BabySitter     
Greetings I'll weigh in on yet another teak product not yet mentioned; one of the local Whaler dealers told me the best looking teak he'd seen was re-done with 'Tip Top Teak' so he started carrying it in his store. I'm currently re-doing mine with same. It is a very thin oil type product but does build to a low sheen after multiple coats. Available from West Marine.
bmacauto posted 04-30-2002 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for bmacauto  Send Email to bmacauto     
John W, not sure if were talking about exactly the same thing, because the final outcome of what i'm talking about is almost identical to varnish, however cetol did make one that turned the wood bright orange(not the one i'm talking about). I love the look of properly varnished britework, and that's why i love the cetol product.
BabySitter posted 05-01-2002 10:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for BabySitter  Send Email to BabySitter     
I had a buddy who uses the Cetol on his Blackfin charter boat - swears by it and gave me a qt. I applied it to a brand new teak swim platform. Within 6 mos it looked terrible, much worse than my 'oiled' teak on the RPS etc. Maybe I did something wrong but I don't think so. It was the 'orange' stuff which turned the wood a funky color as well.
Chap posted 05-01-2002 01:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Didn't include Amazon and I'm unsure if it was objective, $.


JFM posted 05-01-2002 02:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Perhaps $ sways results or votes.
I still have 12 gallons of Starbrite Premium Gold to use up.
I did try a bench with Daly's but went back to Starbrite.
I put them side by side and with 5 votes Starbrite won in appearance, and it's easier to use. However, it seems as if Daly's is a harder finish that would last longer.
Regards, Jay P.S. I never tried Amazon, but the Amazon salesman turned me off.
adaco posted 05-01-2002 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for adaco  Send Email to adaco     
rsgwynn1: I found a teak oil test which someone conducted some years ago, which included several of the products noted in the above replies. FYI it is at:

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