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saurav16 09-12-2007 12:27 PM

Teak varnish?
I know there are a lot of posts on teak varnish. I just had a small quick question. My teak is grey and rough. I was wondering if I can go ahead and varnish it and will that bring the reddish brown color back or do I have to oil it first (or use a cleaner)? Thanks in advance.

TrueBlue 09-12-2007 12:34 PM

Small, quick answer to your question:
Sand it with 80 grit, wipe with tack cloths and apply acetone to remove surface oils. Then follow label directions. Do not apply any oil if you intend to varnish the teak.

prudence2007 09-12-2007 12:49 PM

Teak Cleaner
I have an easy solution to brighten old teak.
1/4 c baking soda
1/2 c ammonia
1 c vinegar

Note: the solution will create a lot of foam when you mix the vinegar with the baking soda.

I used a green scotch pad and a lot of fresh water and it removed all the gray stuff. It brought the teak back to its original wood and lightly sanded some rough parts. Then I used Semco instead of varnish to protect. It's not as pretty as varnish but we can walk all over it and not worry about damage.

I can send you a link to some pictures if you wish.

Cheers, Sheryl

RichH 09-12-2007 12:59 PM

If ALL you're looking for is a 'brown color' .... wash the teak with TriSodiumPhosphate (TSP) to dissolve the UV destroyed surface cells ... the 'grey'. TSP is obtainable in a hardware/paint store. Just mix with water, or make a paste, apply and let soak ..... then scrub off the grey with soft bristle brush.

Then immediately apply a 'sealer' such as SEMCO, Teak Wonder, etc. etc. etc. ... sealers usually need to be reapplied every 6 months to prevent the UV damage.

Joel73 09-12-2007 04:25 PM


Originally Posted by TrueBlue (Post 191680)
Small, quick answer to your question:
Sand it with 80 grit, wipe with tack cloths and apply acetone to remove surface oils. Then follow label directions. Do not apply any oil if you intend to varnish the teak.

What if the teak has already been oiled in the past? (I was considering varnishing our cabin table but its been oiled several times... just not recently.)

prudence2007 09-13-2007 06:02 PM

Teak cleaner
Saurav16 - Sailblogs will not allow me to add images, links or send you a message. Can you email me? sv.prudence at

RichH 09-13-2007 07:00 PM

If your Pearson was built between 1972 and about 1984 ... thats NOT teak on your boat but probably IROKO, a teak look-alike.

Iroko is a beautiful wood (prettier than teak) but has very soft 'soft' grain between the 'hard' grain. Most coatings other than varnish dont adhere to Iroko (at least the soft grain sections) ... so you can forget about Cetol, Bristol, and all the other so-called 'modern' coatings. The downside of Iroko is because some of it is soooo soft, you have to sand off a LOT after you remove previous coatings to level the hard grain to the soft grain.

Actually a resinated oil works best with Iroko (25% varnish + 75% oil) and many coats applied THICK. A commercial 'ready-made' resinated oil would be "NuTeak" by "MaryKate" ... usually available from WM. A resinated oil finish can be flat sanded, and then 'hand-rubbed' with rotten-stone etc. after application and be made to be MORE glossy than the best varnish jobs. .... and best of all when the finish ultimately 'goes' can be dissolved/removed by soaking it in TSP (triSodiumPhosphate) .... 'wood cleaner' sold in paint stores.
Resinated oil finished will turn very dark after about 2 years in direct sunlight exposure.

TrueBlue 09-13-2007 07:57 PM

I did not know that about Iroko, or "African Teak". Thanks for sharing that bit of trivia.

Looks like teak though.

RichH 09-14-2007 12:04 PM

Iroko, to me, is vastly more beautiful than teak. The downside with Iroko is that the soft grain will severely erode if left 'bare' .... very deep erosion of the soft sections; plus, its more 'moisture porous' than teak so if the piece is not fully 'encapsulated' it will swell/shrink (by moisture uptake) and that is perhaps why that most of the 'modern' coatings simply flake off or 'lift' from Iroko after a few months.

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