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  #1  
Old 07-08-2009
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Teak oil vs. synthetics for the tropics?

We're in the third day of stripping failed Epiphanes off our teak. (Also had bad luck 9 years ago with Cetol, though I understand their formulation has changed in the interim.) After we're done we are reluctant to put another synthetic on. We're thinking this time of using oil (Star Brite's Tropical formula) and would appreciate some feedback from people who've used it. Part of our reasoning is (a) our wood is older and imperfect, some spilts and dings and frankly we're not inclined to make it perfect, but those sharp corners can provide entree for water to eventually get under a varnish or synthetic finish; (b) oil is supposed to nourish dry cracking wood; (c) philosopically, we're more likely to do moderate regular maintenance every few months than the multi-day, multi-layer marathon varnish/synthetics seem to require in the tropics; (d) we want the boat to look reasonably good and well maintained but don't need the boat to have teak that sparkles. Frankly, if it doesn't make the boat safer or sail faster, it goes WAAAY down the priority list.

Headed south in less than 2 months! Woo-hoo!
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Old 07-08-2009
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I oil my teak decks and cockpit gratings once a year. I use a Tung oil / linseed oil / UV blocker mixture, I forget the name; I have seen the Tropical oil, but I have not used it specifically. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it is also mostly Tung oil, with UV blockers. I try not to think about how many baby Tungs had to die to make that stuff...

I have found that you must have clean teak before applying the oil. You don't have to use those "teak cleaners" and acids and bleach and two-part whiteners, which are just going to eat away the surface of the wood. Before I apply the oil I scrub the deck with a soft brush and 5pic 'n Span, rinse really well, let it dry in the sun. Two coats with a cheap brush makes the teak look really great.

If you put the oil over dirty teak it turns very dark and muddy looking, trust me.

By the end of the season (great lakes) the sun has oxidized the oil back to the natural grey teak look.

I use Cetol on everything else (original Cetol) and it holds up very well; I just touch it up every once in a while. The bowsprit gets Captain's varnish, and I'm lucky if it lasts three months in the tropical Ohio sun.

Best Regards,


e

.::.

Last edited by eolon; 07-08-2009 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Ha Ha Ha! they blocked "S_p_i_c" !!!!
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Old 07-08-2009
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Decks I would leave oil and any other stuff free. For teak trim we use teak oil. Forget the brand but we get it from Home Depot.
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Teak treatment

The deck gets nothing but a wash every now and then. The brightwork around the cockpit was varnished with Deks Olje for 10 years and began to lift in a few places so off it came. Sounds easy but wasn't too bad with a heat gun and scraper it only took a few hours. I used a high grade deck and fence oil from Loes all last year and just wasn't satisfied with it. It looked good for a week or two after a fresh coat but quickly went dull. The worst thing was the finish was very suseptable to scratching by any little thing.

So I revarnished with Deks Olje this Spring and it looks great again. Unfortunately you can't get Deks Olje anymore but I had a fresh quart in my locker.

Good Luck!!
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Forget about oiling the teak if you're headed to the tropics. It is extremely hot underfoot, attracts dirt, and won't help the teak. Note that the three responses above are all from folks in northern climes, not the tropics. My boat was in the BVI for eleven years, and I've watched the trials of teak-decked boats there for over 30 years. Not pleasant :-(

The only real solution for aging/splitting teak in the tropics is to remove it. I had my teak tecks removed some 8 years ago, and couldn't be happier. I did put new teak in the cockpit -- by a master shipwright, using epoxy and no fasteners -- and leave it bare. It still looks like new when I scrub it periodically.

Sounds like you don't want to do any major work on the decks, so about the best you can do is sand them a bit, try to patch the worst parts, and live with it. IMHO.


Bill
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Thanx, all. Bill, I realize now that my initial note didn't specify, but this is trim I'm concerned about, the decks are painted with sanded Brightside and we're very satisfied with it.
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Eryka...I've tried oil in the past and find that it starts looking ugly and holding dirt quite quickly. I'd vote for either natural (with regulat sea-water washdowns) or sanding things down and going with Cetol Natural coats followed by Cetol Gloss coats. I think you will like that look a whole lot better than the original Cetol and since you just touch up with gloss, you don't add more darkening color each year. In the tropics, just go around every 90 days or so with a scotch brite pad and some gloss and do touch ups wherever you being to see wear. The trick is to stay ahead of the deterioration. Lack of simple maintenance causes major work later.
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For teak decks I use a mixture of 1/3 Teak Wonder, 1/3 Semco Natural, 1/3 Olympic Deck (carmel). For prep I wash/etch with TSP, then bleach with Oxalic Acid then Clorox to bring the teak to a 'light' color. The 'mix' prevents the 'ugly greys', isnt slippery when wet, seals the seams and bungs, is light in color so it doesnt soak all that much 'heat'. 2-3 coats followed by a coat every 6 mos. is all that it takes; although burying the bow under green water on long passages will lessen the 6 mos. requirement. Teak is expensive nowadays (~$35.00/ bd. ft.) so its probably a good idea to protect it.

For 'bright' I use "Honey Teak" (Signature Finish and Honey Teak Products - Home) - if properly applied will last upwards to 10-12 years in hot sun, requires a yearly clear 'slop coat'. VERY expensive, has a high learning curve to make it last. Catalyzed 2 part base + 2 part top clear coat - can be applied wet on wet (with some time to allow catalysis) on horizontal surfaces but needs some cure time for vertical surfaces. Mfg. recommends 2 base coats but I apply three THICK coats to insure longevity. Looks like butt ugly Cetol for first month after application but then quickly fades to a clear amber hue very similar to oil based varnish. Probably the closest synthetic coating to varnish ... as its quite 'transparent' (after 30 days cure).

Can be flat sanded and hand-rubbed (or power buffed using 3M perfect-it & 3M finese-it) for the most brilliant, most glossy finish that will equate to a "hinckley type varnish job" ... (handrubbing will develop a glowing irridescent 'patina' of the surface wood cells - just like on 'prime' varnish jobs). Is a urethane/acrylic copolymer; therefore it can be 'powerbuffed'. Must be applied THICK for good service life; if applied 'thin' will quickly fail in UV exposure. Shouldn't be applied if dewpoint is rising and temp. is dropping - greatly retards the catalyizing/cure. Can be applied to hot surfaces but best is applied to COLD (45-50°degF.) so that you get good 'flow-out'. Apply with quality foam brushes or 'soft' artist brushes. Needs to be 'scuffed' with 3M purple pad between cured coats or when applying yearly maintenance coat.

Manufacturer will supply 'splits' - just the amount you need to do the job. Downside is that user must carefully mix the proper percentages of the components (HT, catalyst, thinner). Its expensive but when you amortize over the service life (including the 1-2 year maintenance coats) its probably the most economical overall. HIGH learning curve: but, If done right will make a Hinckley blush with envy and will last up to 10-12 years (with yearly quick 'maintenance' clear coat).

Last edited by RichH; 07-09-2009 at 11:45 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Note that the three responses above are all from folks in northern climes, not the tropics. My boat was in the BVI for eleven years, and I've watched the trials of teak-decked boats there for over 30 years. Not pleasant :-(



Bill
Just a note, the boat I'm talking about has never been north of Charleston. It spends the winters in the Bahamas and the summers baking in the Florida sun, which, while technically not in the tropics, is as hot as you'd get anywhere in the Caribbean.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Note that the three responses above are all from folks in northern climes, not the tropics.

Bill
Yup, I live in a northern climate. Maybe that's why it's almost a hundred degrees outside this afternoon under a scorching sun. Sure wish I lived where it get warm now and again.

For those of you who aren't really in the know, the southeast portion of Washington State is a desert! Fortunately we are blessed with the second largest river in the Northern American continent.

If a varnish will stand up here for very long it has to be good.

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