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post #11 of 29 Old 02-25-2014
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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

Scotchbrite is a good idea. Scrub the teak too.
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post #12 of 29 Old 02-25-2014
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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
In any event, varnish isn't going to seal well to caulking, which means any cracking between the caulk and plank will allow water in and that's the death of varnish. Most things I see varnished, do not have caulk joints. Even without them, varnish is hard enough to maintain.
To be honest, for the application in GMFL's photos, he'd be far better advised to use a soft-setting absorbent Teak Oil of some kind - not a hard varnish - for all the reasons you mention.

If varnished he'd have to do it all over again in a year or two anyways.. and an oil is far easier to maintain if caulking is involved.

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post #13 of 29 Old 02-25-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

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Originally Posted by Classic30 View Post
To be honest, for the application in GMFL's photos, he'd be far better advised to use a soft-setting absorbent Teak Oil of some kind - not a hard varnish - for all the reasons you mention.

If varnished he'd have to do it all over again in a year or two anyways.. and an oil is far easier to maintain if caulking is involved.

Sorry, I have to totally disagree with you here. This is even bordering on bad advise. While I know some people prefer the weathered teak look on all their teak (or just prefer not to maintain it). I'm not one of those. For the cockpit sole, the teak is just that and I don't plan to change it. If I had teak decks, the same would go. But this area is not used for any major foot traffic so varnish it is. Oil BTW, just attracts dirt and would need monthly cleanings and re-oiling and never looks that great IMO. Same goes with Cetol, might as well paint it if you go that route. Again, my opinion.

As for having to do this all over again in a year, well, not quite the case. Sure, if I re-varnish and don't maintain it, then that statement may be true. But properly covered and bi-annually light sanding and re-coating should give me many many years without having to re-strip the varnish.

Maybe I should have stated I'm a contractor and have experience with many a tool and actually enjoy these projects. I just haven't had to remove varnish from caulking before.

I do thank you for your opinion though.
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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

I have varnish on my coaming, but it doesn't cover separate media with different expansion rates along the same coating. It's not a good idea to use varnish over teak and caulk alike.


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post #15 of 29 Old 02-25-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

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I have varnish on my coaming, but it doesn't cover separate media with different expansion rates along the same coating. It's not a good idea to use varnish over teak and caulk alike.
I do understand that and I will take these suggestions under consideration. However, the existing varnish has been over the teak/caulk joint for many years and there was no failure that I could see. The reason I'm stripping the varnish is that it had not been maintained so i let it go until I had time to re-finish.

Again, I do appreciate these comments, but the purpose of my thread is to get suggestions on removing the varnish from the caulk. You and others have offered suggestions and I welcome them all. But... ITS GETTING VARNISH!
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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I have varnish on my coaming, but it doesn't cover separate media with different expansion rates along the same coating. It's not a good idea to use varnish over teak and caulk alike.
FWIW, I agree totally.

If it were my boat, I'd be leaving it bare.. as it was most likely intended to be.. but to each their own.

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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

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Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
I do understand that and I will take these suggestions under consideration. However, the existing varnish has been over the teak/caulk joint for many years and there was no failure that I could see. The reason I'm stripping the varnish is that it had not been maintained so i let it go until I had time to re-finish.

Again, I do appreciate these comments, but the purpose of my thread is to get suggestions on removing the varnish from the caulk. You and others have offered suggestions and I welcome them all. But... ITS GETTING VARNISH!
Message received, loud and clear.

...but if you really must varnish it, do yourself a favour and put the varnish down before re-doing the caulking.

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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

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Message received, loud and clear.

...but if you really must varnish it, do yourself a favour and put the varnish down before re-doing the caulking.
Curious, why would you suggest that? All common sense (and practice) would suggest otherwise.
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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

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Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
Curious, why would you suggest that? All common sense (and practice) would suggest otherwise.
It's fairly simple really: Firstly, if you varnish right over the whole thing, the varnish will crack along the edges of the caulking as the timber moves allowing moisture to get under it. Secondly, some varnishes (you haven't said what you're using: a tung oil base? Urethane??) aren't compatible with some caulking products, making them "melt" and stuffing the finish. Thirdly, since the caulking has a matt finish and most varnishes a high gloss.. it makes for a better finish. Fourthly, it's easier to clean up excess caulking from varnished timber than bare timber because it doesn't get into the grain. Fifthly.. no, that's enough for now.

All common sense (and practice) would suggest you leave the timber un-varnished...

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Last edited by Classic30; 02-25-2014 at 09:29 PM.
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Re: Remove Varnish from Teak Caulk

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Originally Posted by Classic30 View Post
It's fairly simple really: Firstly, if you varnish right over the whole thing, the varnish will crack along the edges of the caulking as the timber moves allowing moisture to get under it.

All common sense (and practice) would suggest you leave the timber un-varnished...
What would make you think the varnish would crack? Teak hardly moves, healthy varnish is flexible, so is caulk. The caulk would have to rely on the varnish to provide a secure joint. Teak caulk is formulated to adhere to teak, not varnish. I could go on....

You could make an argument that the varnish won't adhere to the caulk. However, if that was the case, I wouldn't have started this thread.

Common sense would suggest that my boat had no exterior wood. I'm passed that though.
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