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Author Topic:   Teak Oil on Mahogany
Florida15 posted 02-13-2006 09:42 AM ET (US)   Profile for Florida15   Send Email to Florida15  
I just bought a 1982 13-footer, and all the wood needs refinishing. I've done this before and it's very time consuming and a real pain. Can mahogany just be oiled instead of varnishing it? I have no idea if this is feasable, just a thought.

Also, my bow locker hatch is beginning to delaminate. I've thought about replacing it with KING StarBoard®. How much does KING StarBoard cost? Where can you purchase KING StarBoard at the best price?

grandpas68 posted 02-13-2006 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for grandpas68  Send Email to grandpas68     
I am just shooting in the breeze here, but I think [using teak oil as a finish for mahogany] would be a bad idea. Teak has more natural oils in it than mahogany that allows it to weather better. I think you would either end up ruining the wood or it would not take (so to speak) and provide a durable finish. Or, it could work, but I am thinking if it did, it would have been done already. You could always buy some marine paint and give it a few coats. If you were going to go that route, you could probably also get some marine plywood from your local supply and paint that as well.

I did a quick search of the site for sources of StarBoard, and this link showed up. There is a place at the bottom to search for distributors.

Here is another post that discusses sources for it:

I hope that helps a little.

Florida15 posted 02-13-2006 11:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Thanks '68. I was thinking the same thing--if it would work, it would have been done already. I'm sure I didn't come up with an idea that nobody has thought of. I would never paint the wood. Looks like I will probably be varnishing it. Or, seems like I've read about some other stuff some members have used. I need to do some research for some old threads.
bsmotril posted 02-13-2006 12:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
You can get a nice oil finish on Mahogany using boiled linseed oil. The problem is the durability of such a finish when exposed to the elements. Putting on a good coat of butcher block paste wax after oiling helps, but it will still be a finish that requires a fairly high level of maintenance to keep looking good. There is a book by Taunton Press, the publishers of Fine Woodworking magazine, that goes into detail on creating such finishes if you want some more good information. BillS
Florida15 posted 02-13-2006 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
I've seen some finishes on Whaler wood that look like fine furniture. The one time that I did it on a 15' I used to own, it came out looking thick, not fine. I did 6 coats but it just didn't have the "craftsman" look to it. The wood was protected but it looked like an amateur job. I hope to do a better job this time.

A friend of mine said to hang it up by an eyelet and spray it. I thought most people used foam brushes.

I've heard that some people thin the varnish to get that look.
A member did a fine job on a 15'. That's the kind of finish I hope to achieve.

ConB posted 02-13-2006 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConB  Send Email to ConB     
I tried oil on mahogany years ago. It didn't look very good and it didn't last long at all. There is no substitute for many coats of varnish on mahogany. Prep and cleaning is the biggest part of the battle.
Florida15 posted 02-14-2006 09:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
The last time I refinished some wood, I used a Craftsman 1/4 sheet palm sander. A friend of mine claims a high-end (DeWalt or similar) orbital sander will be a lot faster. I want some input from experienced woodworkers before I shell out $90 for a sander when I already have one that works.
jeffs22outrage posted 02-14-2006 09:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for jeffs22outrage  Send Email to jeffs22outrage     
All of my furniture I have built out of mahogany has been finished with oils. I use either Danish oil or Behlen teak oil. I have also used the teak oil on mahogany trim on my boats and it works just really well. I apply each coat of oil with a cloth. Let the coat dry for an hour and recoat. After about the fifth coat the wood should start becoming saturated with oil. After the fifth or so coat I usally do two to four more coats of oil applying one coat a day till the oil will not longer absorb into the wood. Then take a clean terry cloth towl and polish the wood in the direction of the grain till you remove all excess oil and the wood starts to have a nice matte sheen. Then it is good to go. Depending on how much it is exposed to the sun you will every once and a while have to go back with the cloth and reoil.

Here are the finishs I use

Danish Oil
Teak Oil

Like some other have stated, yes, teak is stronger than mahogany but, mahogany is more that strong enough to do what you need and it will weather the same as teak. I have every had a problem with mahogany on a boat. IF you want a REALLY strong wood take a look at IPE. Stronger than teak and looks very close to mahogany when finished

Or, have a look at this guys work. He builds 13' interoirs and sells them. Very nice and made of IPE. could cost you a bit however, it would save time.

Florida15 posted 02-14-2006 10:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Thanks Jeff. I may have to look into the products you mention. I talked to the guy who builds interiors out of Ipe wood. Seemed like a nice guy but said he's in the process of moving right now and wouldn't be able to give a delivery date. Actually, all my wood (except the bowlocker hatch) is solid so I don't really need to replace it. The hatch is beginning to delaminate and I contacted Yankee woodworker to see if maybe the Ipe wood would match the mahogany pretty well. He said it is darker than mahogany. Sounds like a pretty good choice wood for an interior though.
Buckda posted 02-14-2006 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
My sander is a 1/4 sheet DeWalt palm sander- pretty inexpensive, not an orbital sander..just vibration. Works fine.

In fact, I'm headed home right now to go do some sanding and varnishing in the basement....

Good luck with your project.

By the way - I bought a panel of 3/4 inch "Starboard" material from "theft" Marine for about 80 bucks recently. I used it to recreate my under-gunwale rodholders. I think you'll be disappointed in the results for an anchor-locker though. The finish on the material scratches easily and really looks like what it is: plastic. If at all possible, I'd work on finding a wood solution to your challenges with that delaminating anchor locker cover.


Buckda posted 02-14-2006 07:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Results with the DeWalt sander (Note the gunwales):
Before: IMG_2545.jpg

After: DSCF0095.jpg Holland%20MI%20April%2005/2boatsfxd4.jpg


Florida15 posted 02-14-2006 08:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Dave, it looks great. Did you use spar varnish ? How many coats ?
Buckda posted 02-15-2006 10:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I used Z-Spar Flagship varnish from Pettit..(29 bucks a quart!). The gunwales have between 8 and 10 coats and have held up wonderfully through the first season (last year). The way they look right now, I'll probably make it through this season and then scuff them and add another coat or two this fall.

I'll admit that the top coat is MinWax Helmsman varnish from Home Depot - I ran out of the Flagship on a Sunday and the marine supply store was closed. I was pretty pleased with that product too - though it was clear instead of the warm amber color of the Flagship.

Florida15 posted 02-15-2006 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Dave, would a quart be enough to do the wood on a 13' ?
Do you think the Z-Spar is worth the extra money over the MinWax ?
Roarque posted 02-16-2006 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Roarque  Send Email to Roarque     
Buckda, nice pics!!

I've used the Daly's SeaFin oil on my teak because I'm worried about a finish like yours being too slippery. Can you comment on that?


Buckda posted 02-16-2006 11:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Q: Do I think the Z-SPAR Flagship varish is worth the extra cost?
A: Yes, definitely. I know they're bending me over a little on the pricing since it's a "Marine" product; but "I've drunk the Kool-Aid" as they say. The coloration is superior to the MinWax product, and it is much thicker. I also believe that it likely has better UV inhibition properties to protect the wood. I first bought it on LHG's suggestion. Based on the look of his wood, I took it as a pretty good endorsement of the product.

Bottom line: I'd use the Flagship varnish for as many coats as you can. If you choose then to do some top-coats with another product, that's your choice and I'd not fault you for it - those top coats will be sanded and re-varnished every 3 years or so anyway.

Q: Will a quart be enough for the wood on a 13?
A: Depends on how many coats you are going to go for in the end. I think a quart is good for about 150 SQ feet at 3 mils wet/1.5 mils dry. At 30 bucks a quart, I'd go one at a time. The first two coats you will be thinning the varnish by about 50-25% anyway, which should give you a good base coat. For my 18, I'm at the top 1/4 of my 3rd quart of the product for the bits of wood that I'm working on this week. That covered the gunwales, the cooler cleats, the wood accents on the console and the console doors. There are a couple other small pieces of teak that got treated as well, but don't amount to too much.

Q: Are the gunwales too slippery?
A: Assuming you mean "when wet" - yeah, they're a little slick when coated with dewfall or rain/spray, but I haven't yet slipped on them. I typically step aboard the boat at the stern with my foot on the anti-chafe strip at the hawse-hole for the stern dockline. I also have the benefit of the arch as a handhold.

Last summer at Isle Royale, I could be spotted walking around the boat (with all the canvas up) on the outside of the arch as I single-handed that trip, and needed to adjust fender tenders, etc. when approaching various dockages, etc.

So I'd have to say that it hasn't been a problem. On the deck/platform that I use for sleeping up front, I have a bit of black non-skid tape applied to prevent slipping when moving around the forward portion of the boat, and haven't had any problems with that at all.


Florida15 posted 02-16-2006 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
One other question before I jump into this. When applying the varnish, how do you position the wood ? Last time I did it, I just varnished one side and the ends across a couple of sawhorses and then went back after they were dry and did the other side.
Is there an easier way ? A friend said I should screw in an eyelet and hang the pieces from the ceiling so I could do all at once. But he also said I should spray them. He's never actually done it, he's just speculating.
Buckda posted 02-16-2006 03:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Florida -
I've never tried spraying the varnish. I suspect that would be easier, but require additional coats since I *believe* you have to thin it out in order to be sprayed.

I'm experimenting with the "eyelet screwed into the wood, hung from the ceiling" technique this week. So far, it's worked rather well, although I've had to be strategic on how to "hold" the pieces as I apply varnish with the brush. It is a lot less messy than the technique I used before, which was to put nails in a thick piece of cardboard, pointed side up, and then varnish two sides of the wood and then flipping it and doing the other two. (I have limited space in the basement of my apt. in roommate won't tolerate LHG's technique, which is to take over the kitchen!)

If you've had good results in the past from using sawhorses, I'd say stick with what works. Especially since you have warm enough temperatures to work outside. For me, that's not an option for a few more months. (Even if it were, I think that some nice teak sitting outside might walk away during the day in downtown...)


Florida15 posted 02-16-2006 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Thanks Dave, I hope to start sanding this weekend.
LHG posted 02-16-2006 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
The marine industry never misses a chance to sell regular household and automotive items under a "Marine Product" name.

I have yet to see even one source of "Mahogany Oil", vs many kinds of Teak Oil. If marine mahogany was meant to be oiled, there would be a product such as this. In a tropical, sun and salt environment, I would think oiled mahogany would be disaster.

Florida15 posted 02-16-2006 09:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
You are probably right LHG. I didn't think I came up with an original idea. I figured there must be a reason that I didn't normally see oiling as an alternative to varnish.
I think I'm going to check out the Z-Spar that Dave referred to. With all the work that goes into prep, there's no sense in trying to save a buck on the varnish.
RJG posted 02-17-2006 07:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for RJG  Send Email to RJG     
I will confess that I cheaped out and used the Helmsman product on my sons 1994 13 sport. After removeing and sanding all the interior wood bare, he applied 7 coats of the Helmsman semi gloss. After a year of abuse by a crew of teenagers and the Florida sun, the Helmsman is holding up very well. At $10 a quart, it seems to be a very good value.
Florida15 posted 02-17-2006 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
I've had a couple of people suggest that I use polyurethane. That it will protect better than varnish and is easier to work with. Any pros and cons ?

PeteB88 posted 02-18-2006 01:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Florida - I was associated for a long time in a white water wooden boat shop in Oregon - I wrote the finishing manual for these boats and did lifetesting of a variety of finish options including spar varnish, marine paint, epoxy base coats w/or w/o fiberglass cloth over d. fir, Bruynzeel mahogany of several species as well as a variety of marine oils including our own formulations which are easy.

To answer your question about oiling over mahogany you must understand that marine oils are all formulated with linseed or maybe tung oils. Those oils oxidize and create a resiny somewhat hard finish. Spar varnish contains oils esp old school stuff but with more resins. Specifically, marine or finishing oils do not "dry" which describes solvents that evaporate but more accurately "cure" with a slight exothermic reaction. That is why linseed rags can spontaneously combust causing fires. OF course there are solvents in the formulatins that do evaporate.

Marine oils do act somewhat differently on mahogany but you CAN use them if you choose. I would test to determine saturation characteristics on non exposed piece of mahogany. IN my experience mahog doesn't absorb much oil. It is easy to determine because you will see resin globs or streaking when the wood is saturated or areas of the board that absorbs faster. Simply wiping down with mineral spirits will dissolve the build up.

Old timers oiled bare wood as a general rule before applying paint or varnish. I do it all the time in my 1914 house. Oil base coats are fine and wise assuming you are using high quality oil based paint or spar varnish. SO you can always apply varnish over oiled wood.

My favorite method for some components is to use WEST Systems marine epoxy base coat over bare mahogany and subsequent coats of spar varnish. My fav, year in and year out is Captain's Z-Spar. I've used them all for hard core use in white water river boats, rain forest and high desert (major intense sun) with excellent results.

You need to get comfortable with that fantastic wood in your boat and realize that it is no big deal to prep, apply and maintain a proper marine finish. This assumes you use commercial sand paper and pro techniques. As regards sanding, all you have to do is scuff sand between cured coats (extremely important to get full cure), remove the dust and apply a coat. I ususally do three or four and apply a couple later - like one or two years later or whatever. To illustrate scuff sanding - I could scuff sand the exterior hull of a 16 ft white water guide model drift boat in 20 minutes.

Buckda is right on - I have a full array of sanders and always use the Maktita palm vibrator sander I got in 1986. I have Porter Cable random orbital which can screw up a finish in seconds whether you have a ton of experience or not. I use it occasionally - they are very aggressive.

I have NO confidence in polyurethane clear finishes and would not use complicated 2 part linear polys which are awesome but toxic and just ain't right as far as I'm concerned.

I took a bunch of photos last summer which I need to get on Photobucket - I did the wood in my 11.5 and vintage Grumman fishing boat.

Contact me by email - I do not mind answering your questions at all - I have done it several times for other Whaler owners. I say respect the wood, it is fantastic and not at all hard to keep very nice if you get the techniques down.

One more thing - I have always used natural brushes but had good results w/ foam last summer.

You gotta be ready to "chase the runs and sags" best to position the wood flat/ horizontal if you can.


Binkie posted 02-18-2006 07:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
Florida 15
I have a piece of 14" by 1" African mahogany that is long enough to make a hatch cover for your `82 13 footer. Trouble is its rough sawn, and not planed, and my planer is only 12". I just made a hatch cover for an `82, and the owner wanted it planed to 3/4", so I had to rip the wood and then cleat it on the bottom. You couldn`t see the seam when it was compleated, but this is a lot of labor, but the owner didn`t want it it stick up that quarter of an inch, as the original plywood is only 3/4". I don`t see a problem with that and the hatch can be belt sanded and then orbital sanded to a smooth surface, just like if done with a planer, but it would be 1" thick, and it would be only one piece of wood. I build mahogany, original and custom interiors for 13 footers, and I can tell you it will take 1 1/2 quarts of Z-Spar varnish to do a new interior, with 7-8 coats, and probably a quart to do a refinish job. buckda`s advice is right on the money as to Z-Spar varnish. It is the best varnish out there, and it is what most boat yards and pro refinishers use. Also it is very easy to use unlike polyurathane. Where are you located in Florida. I`m 45 miles north of Tampa. I can cut out that hatch cover for you and sand it smooth for $50. You can varnish it. If you can come by my house and pick it up, I`ll show you how to varnish. Its really very easy, Ive been varnishing boats for 50 years, I started in a boat yard when I was 17. Some of the advice you are getting is not the best. You can spray varnish, I`ve sprayed my mahogany raceboat, but it is not worth the trouble for small parts.
Binkie posted 02-18-2006 07:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
As far as scuff sanding between coats, as PeteB88 wrote, it is really very easy and fast. It takes me 20 minutes to scuff sand the entire 13 foot interior, ten minutes to wipe it down with mineral spirits, and then a tack rag, and 30 minutes to apply a coat of varnish. thats seven hours of labor for seven coats. I use a brush, but if you can`t handle a brush then use a foam brush, but they seem to take more time, at least for me. I have plywood cutouts made for all the parts, with screws in the corners, so I varnish one side, turn it over, lay the varnished side on the screw tips, varnish the other side, and then varnish the edges with a dry brush. (don`t redip the brush). This way you don`t have to chase runs, which have to be sanded out before the next coat, and takes up more time.
jimh posted 02-18-2006 09:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Pete--Thanks for that excellent information on a variety of finishes for mahogany.

I experimented with using WEST System epoxy as a base coat on some mahogany hatches, followed with several coats of varnish. The results were very good, although my application technique and sanding technique need some further refinement.

PeteB88 posted 02-18-2006 01:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
No problem- - - one important thing is to get commercial sand paper - I get it a pro paint stores or auto body shops. 3M Fre-Cut "C" weight (grey stuff) is very good. I have been using similar "green" paper, 3M I get from commercial painter supply - Dulux I think.

I usually use 120 between coats - maybe 150 and on rare occasions 220. The viscosity of spar varnish is such that it flows and heavy coats compared to furniture finishes or household, non-marine finishes. Therefore, if you go much finer it barely "cuts" the cured finish coats.

As regards dust removal: I vac the entire finishing area and let things settle for a half day. After scuff sanding I vac with brush attachment but exhaust can and does kick up the dust. I try to do that outside if I can. OR I put the vac unit in another room and run the hoses into the finishing area.

I have used commercial tack rags, made my own tack rags went through all the hoops - I seem to default to terry cloth bath towels soaked w/ water and rung out real good. They work great and you can rinse and ring out the dust and do it again. If I am picky I will use a mineral spirits wipe.

Cure time is critical - most beginners don't allow enough. Regardless of labeling instructions - you must allow full cure for best results. The only way I know of that is reliable is to take a piece of fresh sandpaper and scuff the objects in various locations - if it "powders" and you can blow it away like dry powder snow it's ready for the next coat. If it gums up the sandpaper - it is NOT ready. Humidity, contamination of the surface and other variables can cause slower cure rates - ambient temps too.

One trick we used to use is to put a box fan in the shop or finishing area and let it run on low or med. NOT directed on the objects that are curing but the intent is to keep the room air (even garage) circulating. This simple thing has amazing results. As the finish is curing vapors coming or flashing off the surface will actually create a vapor blanket over the object thus (theoretically) slowing down cure rates by preventing ambient 02 from direct contact of the finish. A fan on low gently keeps the room air moving.

As regards runs and sags: they are nearly impossible to "sand" out. The old pro method is to use a cabinet maker's scraper and scrape them off following up with hand sanding or vibrator. Piece of cake and done very fast.

For curing fixture I came up with an awesome solution last summer: I took a sheet of styrofoam insulation, like 3/4" and snapped several pieces off specific to the size of the component I was finishing. THen I took a Sharpie marker and drew an outline on the foam of the part, allowing 1/2" over - rough outline. Next, I took a bunch of dry wall screws and pushed them point first through the foam board and in the general pattern of the outline of the part. The screws stuck out like maybe an inch or so. It was a perfect solution for a fixture to place wet parts on for curing.

I still have my copyrighted finishing manual that I might revise and distribute/publish with lots of cool photos.

Our Whaler wood is extremely significant and valuable. I am looking for a disaster Whaler wood project to see if I can restore -

Epoxy takes some getting used to Jimh - the bubbles (gasses) drive me nuts - I always buy slow cure for finishing - If we thought the epoxy was flashing off too fast, we would go around and blow on the bubbles - sounds stupid but it works. Blow a dimple in the surface, bubble goes away. The other important thing is to remove the amine blush from the surface p/full cure - comes off with damp towel and H20.

One more thing - we have a brush prep, maintenance, cleaning and storage technique for natural bristle brushes. I just retired my Purdy "Oregon" china bristle last summer after using it since 1987. Foam is looking better all the time but you can't beat a high quality china bristle for tipping off.


GAN posted 02-18-2006 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for GAN  Send Email to GAN     
I added a full length console to my 1976 15 ft whaler 2yrs ago with new mahogamy wood and used varnished purchased at West Marine. Applied 6 to 7 coats and it came out perfect, and lite in color. Iam replacing my seat and raising it to the top of the side rails for more leg room. No one has mentioned when finishing wood if a wood sealer should be used prior to putting on the varnish? Is it neccesary?
Also when I refinished striping the back board to my seat and refinished it came out dark again. I know that there is a couple of different types Mahoganys, are there dark ones and lite ones?
Florida15 posted 02-18-2006 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Wow ! Some great advice here. It is obvious that you all know what you are talking about. Nothing compares to the voice of experience.
Binkie, I'm in Pensacola, about as far away from you as I can be and still be in Florida. Wish I was closer, I would love to come hang out with you for a day and pick up some tips. I just might take you up on the offer for the hatch cover if you don't mind shipping it. But first, I'm going to just try to feather the splintering wood and see how it looks. The hatch is not that bad, there is just one place where it is beginning to delaminate.
I'm using a stripper to get all the old varnish off today. I had a quarter can of Stripeeze remover and it works really well. It's a thick gel-type remover. I bought a can of watery stuff yesterday and it doesn't work near as well.
What is a tack rag ? It's my understanding that after sanding, I should wipe the wood down with a rag dipped in mineral spirits. So, I should use a tack rag after that ?
What is the difference between the Captain's Z-Spar and the Flagship Z-Spar that Dave mentions ?
I think I might of messed up yesterday and bought cheap sandpaper. I figured sandpaper is sandpaper. I think I bought 80, 150 and 180 or maybe 220. Not sure. I figured I would start with 80 and work down to the fine stuff.
So, do you turn the wood over and place it on the screwpoints while it's still wet ? Does it not leave marks ?
Sorry for all the questions but while I've got the experts together, I want to learn all I can.
Thanks guys.
Binkie posted 02-18-2006 05:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
Florida 15

No the screwpoints will never leave any kind of mark. Its laid over them when its wet. thats the idea of using screws. Flagship is supposed to be a better grade of varnish than Captains, but I`ve always used Captains and have been very satisfied. I don`t see how it can get any better. A tack cloth, you can buy them in Home Depot, is a piece of cheesecloth, that is a bit tacky, and must be used just before you begin varnishing, after you wipe it down with mineral spirits, and let dry. I always do my sanding outside, as I live in the Sunshine State, and do my varnishing inside my CLEAN garage. I use 220 sandpaper, with my orbital sander to scuff the surface between coats after the piece has dried at least 24 hours. If the paper is brand new, I don`t bear down too hard. You just need to make it smooth to the touch. The feel by the hands work better than the eyes, a blind man would be an excellent sander.
If you want the hatch let me know, and I`ll ship it to you.

LHG posted 02-18-2006 06:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Z-Spar Flagship is deeper in color, and has something like 6 times the UV inhibitors of "Captains". I agree I like the Captains for ease of application and flow, but I use the Flagship, since I need the UV protection. I pre-stain also, to increase UV protection even more. Best price I have been able to find is $25/qt.
Florida15 posted 02-19-2006 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
I went to Home Depot yesterday afternoon and got a better grade of sandpaper. At least it SAYS "The Best Sandpaper in the World. Works and lasts 3 times longer." It's aluminum oxide made by Norton. It was the best they had anyway. We'll see how good it is. I got 80, 120, 150 and 220. I'll experiment and see if I need to use them all.
Also, got some more paste-type stripper. It works a lot better than the watery stuff.
I found a tack rag at WalMart in the paint section so I will be sure and use that.
I stopped by Boater's World Friday after work and they had Z-Spar varnish but it wasn't Flagship. At the time, nobody had brought up Captain's on this thread so I don't remember if that was what it was or not. I do remember it was $29.95 a quart and they usually have the best marine prices in town. I never thought I would spend that much for "paint" but since the consensus is that Z-Spar is the best, I believe that's what I will go with. I've just got to make a few phone calls and see if it's available anywhere else. Any chance that a paint store carries it or is it strictly found in boater's stores ?
PeteB88 posted 02-19-2006 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     

REMEMBER! Quality doesn't cost, it pays!!

1) If you are using stripper - you must remove the residue for best results. I use chem stripper not water based and have way, way too much experience with it meaning as much as I hate to get started it isn't that bad.

When the pros I know and have worked with strip wood, they test with scrapers, then sand paper to determine if old finish can be removed w/o chem or heat. First choice is heat gun and scrapers using care not to scorch the surface. Second is chem.

Home Depot has stripping brushes that work very well. The drill is to apply the chemical, let it work, scrape off the residue as best you can, then possibly a light coat of stripper if lots of residue. Once you are down to bare wood, then use steel wool and solvent scrubbing vigorously with lots of solvent to clean the gunk out of the pores. Solvent: lacquer thinner and/or acetone. Rags = go to commercial laundry and buy painter rags by the pound or big bag usually 5 or 10 bucks. Lots of scrubbing until rags are pretty dang clean. Sounds like alot but is not once you get the hang. ALWAYS use pro grade respirator - mask w /carbon filter and gloves.

2) I did lots of Whaler wood and awesome mahogany seats last summer that are in my classic Grumman. I very carefully used my Makita belt sander and it went extremely well but be forewarned you must be careful with a belt sander.

3) If you want - use the profile to email me for questions. I would be happy to assist.

and good luck.

Florida15 posted 02-19-2006 04:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Man, I am starting to get pissed. I had a quarter can of Stripeeze stripper that worked like a charm. The old varnish bubbled up and came right off. I ran out so I bought some cheap liquid stuff called Crown from Lowe's. That stuff wouldn't cut butter. So, I went to WalMart yesterday and bought some stuff called Bix. It was a gel. Didn't work at all. So, I got frustrated today and went to Home Depot. I told them I want the best they have. I bought a half gallon of some stuff called Lift Off. It says on the bottle "works in 5 minutes." After 20 minutes if I really press hard with the scraper, I can get a thin layer off.
Waaaaay, too much work. I am going to put all this crap in my truck and tomorrow, it's going back. And I'm going to tell them it's crap.
Guess I'll go to a paint store tomorrow and try to find some Stripeeze. Or a friend told me that Kutz It is good stuff.
As soon as I ran out of Stripeeze, this weekend has been a total waste running to the store and trying to get substandard products to work.
Maybe I should've tried sanding at first with 60 or 80 grit. If I can't find any Stripeeze, that's what I'm going to try next.
PeteB88 posted 02-20-2006 06:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
FLorida - How's it goin' today?

88, Out.

Florida15 posted 02-20-2006 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Well, I went to Sherwin William's at noon and found some Stripeeze. I had to work today so wasn't able to do anything on the wood. I was just sitting here trying to decide whether to go out in the garage and strip a little varnish or sit down and watch CSI-Miami.
I think I will go out in the garage. I've already seen that episode.
Binkie posted 02-20-2006 11:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
Glad you didn`t waste your time watching TV. Now you`ll have something to report to us tomorrow.
Florida15 posted 02-21-2006 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Just had time to work on one side of the bow hatch. The finish on the underside was still very good and hard to take off. I put some Strypeeze on there, waited 20 minutes and scraped a mess of it off. Not all of it though.
I highly recommend that stuff. It's the only brand I've found that works.
I probably won't get serious again until the weekend.
Binkie posted 02-21-2006 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
I`ve had good luck using Strypeeze on antique outboards, and a bike frame and then blasting it off with a 2500psi pressure washer. Almost instant sucess, and hardly any labor involved. I`ve never tried that method on wood, but I don`t see why it wouldn`t work. You need to do it outside, and away from everything. It blasts the stuff everywhare.
Florida15 posted 02-22-2006 12:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Hmmm. That's an idea, a pressure washer. I wonder if it would splinter the wood ?
I might should have just left the underside of the bow locker hatch alone. It looked pretty good and it's a bear to get it all off even with Strypeeze. I've already done 3 applications. It's getting there tho.
PeteB88 posted 02-22-2006 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
NO PRESSURE WASHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Buckda posted 02-22-2006 05:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda pressure washer on teak!

Florida15 posted 02-22-2006 05:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Would it mess up the wood even with a wide spray nozzle ?
Buckda posted 02-22-2006 06:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
My understanding: the biggest "problem" with teak is that it has ridges of very hard wood and valleys of soft wood. When sanded smooth, these are all even...but scrubbing with the grain, or pressure washing, can erode the soft wood and begins to develop problems.

This is why some people varnish the wood - to protect it. That's' why I chose to varnish mine.

I would not use a pressure washer on the wood. Only on the boat or the motor cowling (not under the cowling on the powerhead though).


ConB posted 02-22-2006 06:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConB  Send Email to ConB     
What Dave says is true with all wood. When power washed it will end up very rough. You are blowing away a layer of wood to get it clean.
PeteB88 posted 02-22-2006 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Florida 15 -- What you are attempting to do is quite simple - stripping old varnish or poly off of excellent, high quality marine mahogany boards. I am only responding to this because of the boat - I don't know you at all. Perhaps you are not using enough stripper- I usually pour copious amounts on the work and spread it with a cheap, natural bristle brush -it has to be very, very thick and wet. It has to "work" for at least 20 or more minutes. Furthermore, if you leave it on the work it is advisable to have sheets of aluminum foil ready to cover the areas where you have spread the stripper to slow down the evaporation rate. AND if it does evaporate you gotta dump more stripper on the dried up stuff to activate the stripper and make it moist or saturated enough to scrape it off. I often use the big gobs of wet stripper I have scraped on the next section to be stripped.

We're trying to help you my man, you are getting fantastic advice but something is not connecting for some reason.

ALSO - you will totally need to remove the stripper residue with solvent and steel wool and clean rags as I discribed. Some will tell you to use bronze wool - which, in my experience, is indicated for wood components that you are working on that are installed in the boat or cannot be removed.

Good luck - you are welcome to call - I'm done, last post

see ya later, adios, have a blast, tight lines, calm seas, stiff drinks, drive fast, Thanks/Gracias/Obrigado/Merci

Florida15 posted 02-23-2006 09:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Thanks guys. I'm learning a lot here. Last night I learned just what Pete said, the stuff evaporates.
Night before last, I put a coat of stripper on and left it over night thinking that it would be a breeze to take off last night. No such luck. It was about gone.
I think you may be right, I need to put it on thicker. It's just this one board that has been a pain. Like I said, the underside of the bow locker cover was really in good shape so I'm probably taking off 6 coats or so.
I just don't have long periods of time to devote to this except on weekends so this is going to be an ongoing project for me.
But, I am about done with the chemicals and will get on to the sanding pretty soon.
Your advice is connecting, just some things I have to learn by trial and error. Remember, most things are easy if you've done them before, especially if you have done them many times but to a novice, they are a mystery until they've done them themselves.
Florida15 posted 02-27-2006 12:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
At what point do you guys stop sanding ? My wood was fairly rough and had some black weathered streaks running through it.
I started out sanding with 50 grit and then to 80. Next I'll use 120 or 150. Any need to go to 220 ?
I'm currently working on the seats and they look much better than when I started but there are still faint black streaks which I know will really show up after I varnish.
The only way to get them out is to keep sanding but I don't want to sand too much wood off.
Also, a previous owner drilled holes and installed a couple of seats on the boards. I took them off but the washers really dug into the board. There's no way I'm going to be able to sand it enough to get that indentation out. It's also black in the indentation. I'm thinking maybe get some wood putty and fill the holes and hopefully be able to get it to stick in the indentations and smooth them out.
Any suggestions ?
Buckda posted 02-27-2006 12:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Florida -
You have a couple options.

My wood was pretty weathered and still has small black streaks in it under the varnish. It will never look like Mike Gephart's wood, or LHG's (both boats are exceptional!) but I like to think that the black streaks give it some "character". Like you, I was worried about sanding too much away, and like you, I can only work on the boat on the weekends (it's 97 miles away from home!).

I chose NOT to take the extra time to attempt to bleach the dark stains out. You may have some luck gently using a brass bristled brush, and then re-sanding the areas.

I'd sand to 220, then start applying coats of varnish.

Before the varnish, clean the wood with mineral spirits, then apply a 50/50 thinned mixture of Varnish/thinner. This will allow the wood to soak some of the varnish into the grain. Allow this coat to dry throughly and very lightly scuff it with a fine sandpaper (220 should be fine...but do it by hand and just a cursory scuff....don't be too thorough at this stage).


Then change the mixture for the 3rd coat to 75% varnish and 25% thinner.

Then apply a minimum of 3 coats of full thickness varnish.

This should take you two or three weeknds (depending on temp and humidity). I found that I was able to run over early on a Saturday morning and do the first coat, then late Saturday night (around Midnight) I could do another coat, and then Sunday afternoon I'd do a third coat and go 3 coats a weekend, meaning it took a minimum of two weekends to get a good finish started. (I took 2 months, along with other projects!)

If you can get away with bringing the wood home (basement, back deck, condo balcony, take over the kitchen, etc), you can do this a lot faster. Two weeks of work would put give you quite an impressive finish!

Good luck.


PeteB88 posted 02-27-2006 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Florida - you are suffering through this process but I hope you're having some fun.

1) Your "hand" is the QA/QC tool - sand until it is smooth, very smooth - you are scuffing or cutting the high/rough points with abrasives.

2) Initial coats over bare wood will "raise the grain" and it will look and feel rough. You "scuff sand" the object to knock down the grain, smooth it off while creating a microscopically rough surface to ensure a mechanical bond (scratches) between finish coats. Subsequent coats will continue to raise the grain until proper finish thickness and saturation into wood fibers occurs.

3) don't forget to "break the edges" of the objects with sandpaper - slight rounding of sharp 90s on the panels. VARNISH LOVES A RADIUS and does not stick well to sharp edges.

4) be sure end grain is well coated esp on marine ply.

good luck.

Florida15 posted 02-27-2006 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Thanks guys. I spent probably 5 hours sanding this weekend.
Like I said before, it's a slow process for me because I don't have long periods of time that I can devote to it.
Dave, I've got the boat in my garage so I don't have to travel to get to it. I've just got a lot of other things going on and this isn't priority number one. As long as I get it done before spring fishing season. (by the end of April or so)
It's a tedious process but there is a certain amount of satisfaction in seeing the wood go from weathered to smooth. They are beginning to not look like the same pieces of wood.
As weathered as they were (some pieces had no varnish left on them) I don't believe I am going to be able to get them back to showroom finish but as long as they look pretty good and are protected, I'm happy.
Florida15 posted 03-03-2006 10:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
I plan to put a big dent in the sanding this weekend, if not finish completely.
The previous owner had some vinyl seats bolted on the wood seats so there are 4 holes in each one. What's the best way to fill these ? I know I've read something about filling with wooden plugs and sanding them. Where would I get these and how would you get them to match the size, just drill them out to match ? Would a paste-type filler work just as well ?
Buckda posted 03-03-2006 10:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
You want teak plugs. Many marine-supply stores carry them. They generally come in 1/4 or 3/8 inch sizes.

Once you have your wood sanded completely, use a drill bit to make sure the size is right, and then wet the seat and the plug. Add "Gorilla Glue" (Sparingly!) and insert the plugs into the holes. It is important that you align the grain on the plug with the grain on the wood bench. I'd wipe the area clean and then add masking tape on the back (under) side to keep the plug from sliding out.

Then on Sunday, (24 hours later), I'd go back with a very sharp chisel (1" or larger) to pop off the top of the plug and sand it smooth.

PeteB88 posted 03-03-2006 11:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Or Epoxy glue.
Florida15 posted 03-03-2006 12:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Dave, use teak plugs even tho my wood is mahogany ?
I think I've seen them at Boater's World.
Do you mean wet the wood with water ? Does it cause the plugs to swell to fit the hole ?
Buckda posted 03-03-2006 12:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Uh..sorry..find Mahogany plugs.

You may need to buy a bit of Mahogany and then run over to Home Depot to buy a plug cutter and make them yourself.

You wet them with water...just dampen them, really...per the instructions on the bottle (heck, saliva works too, in a pinch...but for more than one plug, that can get old real quick!).

Epoxy glue works as well...Gorilla Glue is just easy to find and works fine. Use sparingly, but make sure the sides of the plug are coated so that it has a good seal all around the plug.

Depending on how thick the wood is, you may need to "gang them up" in the hole.

ConB posted 03-03-2006 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConB  Send Email to ConB     
Gorilla glue and some other polyurethane glues need moisture to start the curing process.
Do not wet wood if using epoxy.
I've been to your area a few times and intend to explore the Pensacola area by boat someday.
Florida15 posted 03-05-2006 09:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
In thinning out the first couple of coats of varnish, is it OK to use mineral spirits or should I use paint thinner ?
I've sanded most of the parts down to 220 grit and am planning on beginning varnishing either tomorrow or Tuesday. I put the blow gun on my air compressor and it did a great job of cleaning the wood of sawdust. I still plan on wiping it down with a rag with mineral spirits and then a tack rag.
My wood is too weathered to achieve a showroom finish but it will look a lot better than it did and it will be protected. (and most important, ready to go fishing)
I've decided to not worry about the holes. There are indentations around the holes where washers were and it would just take too much wood off to get them out. I've decided that getting the boat ready to fish is more important than spending a lot of time trying to achieve perfection.
This wood should last a few more years and maybe then I can get a full interior from Binkie and make it look really good.

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