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  Lots of new teak - oil or varnish????

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Author Topic:   Lots of new teak - oil or varnish????
Chesapeake posted 04-30-2001 03:55 PM ET (US)   Profile for Chesapeake   Send Email to Chesapeake  
I believe this is a recurring argument, but I was unable to locate any definitive opinion -- if one exists...

I recently completed the rebulding / refinishing of my Nauset console. It is now Awl-grip white as the remaining mahogany was in such bad shape. To try and keep some classic whaler heritage, I used teak when I made a new front bench seat and handles, dash panels, steering wheel plate (and soon to be completed rear bench seat).

The dilemna is this. Should I oil or re-finish with varnish. I like the idea of oil, particularly for original application, but understand that it can 1) damage the Awl-grip and 2) will be painstaking when it is time to oil around instrumentation.

The varnish would seem to be more in keeping with the whaler heritage. Would appreciate the thoughts from the Classic experts, as well as any ideas on how to finish if I go the varnish way. Undercoat with West Epoxy? Any stain? What type / brand of epoxy would you use if it were your boat?

Thank you, in advance for the thoughts and advice.

Bob (Chesapeake)

Tom W Clark posted 04-30-2001 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

There is no definitive answer to your question, but here is mine:

Some think Mahogany should be varnished and teak should be oiled. But teak can be varnished and it looks beautiful. Since you have a Nauset I would lean towards the varnish (more original) but I personally like oiling teak. Whether you oil or varnish it's going to be difficult to cut around the instruments. Some think that varnish is more work but it's not really. Oiling is less work upfront, but it's more work over time because it has to be renewed so much more often if you don't want it to gray out. On the other hand, oiling is pretty much fool proof. It's hard to make a mess of oiled wood. Varnish done properly will hold up a long time.

If you oil, I recommend Daly's Seafin Teak Oil. I've used it on all my Whaler's teak and I use it by the gallon in my contracting business. It is easy to use and I think more durable than some other products on the market like Watco's Danish Oil finish.

For some professional advice I can heartily recommend Rebecca Wittman's "Brightwork: The Art of Finishing Wood". This book is superbly illustrated and Wittman offers some very to-the-point, and sometimes unconventional, wisdom.

OutrageMan posted 05-01-2001 01:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
My $0.02

I would go with the oil. Yes you have to keep it up, but I do appreciate the appearance. As far as the greying goes, my experience is that it is from dirt, and just some scrubbing with a good teak cleaner can keep it looking just fine.

I would recomend a product called Perma Teak if you don't want to mess with it too often. I have applied it to a family menbers whaler, and seen it last nearly 3 seasons including outside storage. However, my standards would force me to re-do it at least once a season.


hauptjm posted 05-01-2001 02:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I'm an old oil man myself. I try to use teak cleaners as little as possible; very caustic stuff. I clean my wood during normal use with just a mild soap and water, with a soft brush. This prevents the teak from getting an algae that is common to teak. Some people actually over oil their teak. This again will contribute to the algae problem. After awhile, you will need to use a teak cleaner and brightner. Otherwise, keep clean and oil once or twice a year and you'll have a very nautical, natural surface.
Chesapeake posted 05-01-2001 06:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Thanks for the oily responses!... What about those of you that prefer varnish. For example, Chuck Warren, I beleive just bought a new teak pilot seatback because he wanted to replace his oiled version with a finished one. Similarly some recent pics of a classic dumptruck outrage showed finished teak, I believe. Thoughts?

Kim posted 05-01-2001 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kim  Send Email to Kim     
do yourself a BIG favor
try ( Semco Teak Sealer )
this such a good thing I will NEVER NEVER use oil again !!!
I use the natural one but there 2-3 others. once you have tryed this you will see why, oil is way to messy this can be cleened up very easy then it gets on something that you do not want it on . get a can and try it on a piece I think you will like . I use a spoung on a stick to put it on . let sit a while then just wipe it off . this is some GOOD STUFF
Kim posted 05-01-2001 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kim  Send Email to Kim     
I shood of said for teak
sorry !

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