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Author Topic:   Teak Wood Too Dark
cinco de whaler posted 04-12-2008 09:00 AM ET (US)   Profile for cinco de whaler   Send Email to cinco de whaler  
I'm in the process of restoring a 1985 18' Outrage and experienced something strange last night with the teak. When I purchased the boat a few weeks ago the teak was in terrible shape so I did as I have done before using a teak cleaner and brightner but the grain was raised so badly I stripped all of the hardware, removed hatch covers and sanded with a belt sander and then finished with a fine grain mouse sander. It required hours of sanding to get the grain even again and after all of that work, I was looking forward to applying the oil. I had a quart of Starbright oil which I had used on my Montauk and it looked fine with a light yellowish tint. I know it's not the best oil out there but I was satisfied with the look on the Montauk so I thought I try it. I was disappointed when I applied it to the wood and the color looked to be a dark chocolate brown. On the boats I have done in the past I have never encountered this color from teak and I don't think it has anything to do with the oil because after sanding the wood it a had a dark appearance instead of the usual light appearance. Of the three boards used to construct the hatch cover, it was strange that one of them had the light yellowish appearance I expected but the other two had that dark brown look. Has anyone experienced this? If so, how do you get the wood to have the lighter yellowish appearance? I had not planned on varnishing originally but after all of the work done thus far, I'm not opposed to it if it will give the wood a nice color. I'm also not opposed to staining but I don't think a stain will lighten the wood to achieve the natural color.
jimh posted 04-12-2008 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
My experience with teak and its color is shown in this prior article:

cinco de whaler posted 04-12-2008 11:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for cinco de whaler  Send Email to cinco de whaler     
Thanks Jim that's a great article and I read it along with several others regarding teak issues before posting my question but it doesn't seem that anyone has experienced this dark chocolate brown appearance after cleaning and sanding.
RJG posted 04-12-2008 11:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for RJG  Send Email to RJG     
Until now. My son has just completed sanding and varnishing the wood on his 1994 13' sport. He sanded the wood bare and applied 6 coats of Captains Z-Spar 1015. While the finish is very good it is also very dark. Not nearly as light as the wood on my 1988 18' Outrage. I am sure the wood is original so I don't know why it would be so dark. Interestingly I bought some African Mahogany to build a little box in which to mount a tachometer. Using the same varnish, the end result was a much lighter color than the wood in the boat.
Buckda posted 04-12-2008 04:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     

The classic 13' Sport interior wood is darker than teak because it is made from Mahogany, right? (See reference section).

Cinco -

Now is when a photo would be handy. Is it possible that your wood is not original? Also; are you sure you sanded down to bare wood - is it possible that a mold/mildew is still present on the current surface of the wood due to the badly weathered condition it was in previously?

If you have sanded the wood down very well, and it is still darker than you would expect, you can try to carefully apply a bleaching product - but my recommendation is to simply oil it and enjoy it in a slightly darker shade than you're used to. The Petit Captain's Z-Spar Flagship varnish will give it a warm, amber hue; due to the UV protectors in the varnish. I would go ahead and put a good solid 8 coats on and enjoy the boat!

Good luck.


cinco de whaler posted 04-12-2008 04:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for cinco de whaler  Send Email to cinco de whaler     
Dave, It's the original wood and I sanded probably 1/16 of an inch off in most areas so I know that it can't be dirt or mold. I lkie the varnish suggestion but what type of bleaching products are you talking about and will they raise the grain again?
RJG posted 04-12-2008 05:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for RJG  Send Email to RJG     
Looking at the reference section I can see that the wood is considerably lighter than the wood in our boat. The box I made for the tachometer turned out the same color as the wood in the reference section pictures. Not complaining as it all looks very good; just darker.
RJG posted 04-12-2008 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for RJG  Send Email to RJG     
Rats, hit the submit button too fast. Dave you are correct though to point out that I am comparing apples to oranges:)
Buckda posted 04-12-2008 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     

Interesting! I got nothing beyond that! Personally, I think that just about any wood, adequately prepared, sealed and varnished, can look pretty good on a boat...

Cinco -

Bleaching/Brightening products will likely cause some grain to raise again - so I would not suggest taking more material off - as it is, you will begin to notice that your SS Coaming cover won't fit as well (it will have "edges" because the coaming lip is now thinner than the metal. My suggestion is to live with the color. To rebuild the thickness and to protect the wood (and for a deep, beautiful appearance), I suggest using WEST SYSTEM Epoxy and SPECIAL PURPOSE hardener over the prepared bare wood. Then, follow WEST's instructions to prepare the epoxy for varnish coats above and beyond that. You may wish to oil the wood before applying WEST to get a slightly darker color (Maybe not in your case!). I'd put a good 5-6 coats of varnish above the epoxy coat. Your wood will never need to be sanded down again (which is good, since you may not be able to afford to lose more material). Just scuff and re-coat the varnish every season (spring or fall) and every 5 years or so, sand it well and add a "few" coats of fresh varnish.

Good luck.


cinco de whaler posted 04-12-2008 11:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for cinco de whaler  Send Email to cinco de whaler     
Thanks for the suggestions, I just hate to think that I've spent hours on this and won't be satisfied with the final outcome because the wood is dark and ugly like I have never seen before on a Whaler. I was hoping for someone who had experienced this dark colored teak and had a lightening/brightening solution.
cinco de whaler posted 04-13-2008 01:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for cinco de whaler  Send Email to cinco de whaler     
Well, I'd like to work on the boat today but am in a holding pattern until I can figure out what product will lighten the teak before oiling or varnishing.
Tohsgib posted 04-14-2008 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tohsgib  Send Email to Tohsgib     
I have found that really weathered teak does not come out as light as teak that was maintaned. I had a 1989 Montauk that had never seen shade or teak oil. I tried 3 times to get it light but it still looked real dark after 2 part cleaner brightner, sanding, etc. The Cetol light was what I used in the end and it looked better than oil.
Hunch posted 04-15-2008 07:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hunch  Send Email to Hunch     
As a rule of thumb the older the wood the darker it will become when oiled. This is true even if you sand it thoroughly. Wood that has never been subjected to the elements will darken less but old wood will darken nonetheless.

You may get better results with the 2 part teak cleaner/bleaches followed by a few coats of Deck's Ole #1 or Golden Teak Oil.

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