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  #11  
Old 03-16-2010
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I watched a couple of guys come up with an awesome trick and thought this a good time to share it.
First, use Soft Scrub on the teak. Leave it as a sort of paste and let it sit for a while. A little water mixed with it helps. After it has set for about 30 minutes take a good brush to it. The teak, once dry will look awesome and may not even need to be sanded.
After that just put on your finish of choice. If you want a more natural look then I've seen some excellent results with West Marina's Teak Oil and Sealer. It applies pretty much like varnish but will leave a very natural finish that retains the color of the teak without graying. The two boats I've seen this done on have had excellent results AND the teak still has the natural look 2 years after application. Of course you can varnish or Cetol all you want if your looking for a glossy finish.
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I didn't read all the posts so pardon if there are repeats.

For any (nice) finish it is all about prep. Good prep = good results. That said I think that the promise of less work by products are therefore bogus, so why not go with delightful real varnish. Nothing looks better, smells better or protects better. varnishing isn't hard, its all the prep thats the work.

If you go that route I suggest "the brightwork compoanion" by Rebecca Whitman. Follow her insructions to the letter and it will look awesome.

I use Schooner by Intlux and have been astounded by its beauty and durability.
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Old 03-16-2010
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Speaking of varnishing techniques...i am currently in the process of using Ace spar varnish to refinish my boat. The directions say that you should not wait over 48 hours between coats. Since this is primarily a weekend project will waiting a longer duration between coats be that bad of a thing. If I apply 10-12 coats like a several people suggest this could be a fairly drawn out process.
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Ditto on "The Brightwork Companion" reccommendation. Whitman has turned varnish into a religion. Even if you follow half of her advice half of the time, you will get a finish that is better than 90% of the other boats in the marina.
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Old 03-16-2010
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Mark, if you sand lightly with 220 between the coats then no, it won't be an issue. Now if ya wait for two or three weeks to apply the next coat, yeah, you could have problems. I would suggest a wipe down with Mineral Spirits about an hour prior to sanding if the boat is outside to remove any fallout from the varnish surface. Wipe lightly.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutterorient View Post
I didn't read all the posts so pardon if there are repeats.

For any (nice) finish it is all about prep. Good prep = good results. That said I think that the promise of less work by products are therefore bogus, so why not go with delightful real varnish. Nothing looks better, smells better or protects better. varnishing isn't hard, its all the prep thats the work.

If you go that route I suggest "the brightwork companion" by Rebecca Whitman. Follow her insructions to the letter and it will look awesome.

I use Schooner by Intlux and have been astounded by its beauty and durability.
While I agree with nearly every point in this post I am just plain tired of maintaining exterior varnished wood surfaces. Varnish (Schooner) smells good enough to be used in a men's cologne, IMHO.
While Rebecca Whitman's book and the photos contained therein are amazing she is a varnish Nazi. I gave up on following her advice as I do not have the patience to apply umpteen coats of varnish on low humidity mornings. She has no other life then varnishing boats. I would rather touch up my Cetol Natural Teak and go sailing instead of needing to put on another 8 coats of varnish.
Yes, nothing looks like an amazing varnish job except perhaps Bristol Finish but I don't have time to make my boat look like J.P. Morgan's yacht.
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Old 03-17-2010
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I'm another newbie with a boat that needs refinishing, so I thought I'd post here before I start a whole new thread. The finish looks okay in some parts, but is worn off an grayed in others. I am not sure if it currently has varnish or Cetol on it. I'd like to refinish - I plan to use Oxalic Acid, I have a sander, and will recoat with Cetol Natural Teak. I'm just not sure about the order of events -- do I need to use something else first to remove all the existing varnish/cetol? Any recommendations? And then do I use oxalic acid, or sanding first? (I've seen some people say acid then sand, and others say sand then acid.) Thanks in advance!
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If I may also jump onto the newbie woodfinishing train and borrow a photo from my other thread, the exterior wood on my boat -- should I assume it's teak? -- looks like this:



I assume there would be no varnish left on wood that looks like this, if there ever was...?

(I like the soft scrub idea!)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
Mark, if you sand lightly with 220 between the coats then no, it won't be an issue. Now if ya wait for two or three weeks to apply the next coat, yeah, you could have problems. I would suggest a wipe down with Mineral Spirits about an hour prior to sanding if the boat is outside to remove any fallout from the varnish surface. Wipe lightly.
Hopefully it will only be about four or five days at most between coats. I should be able to do 2 or 3 in a row before I take a break.
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Old 03-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jleigh38 View Post
I'm another newbie with a boat that needs refinishing, so I thought I'd post here before I start a whole new thread. The finish looks okay in some parts, but is worn off an grayed in others. I am not sure if it currently has varnish or Cetol on it. I'd like to refinish - I plan to use Oxalic Acid, I have a sander, and will recoat with Cetol Natural Teak. I'm just not sure about the order of events -- do I need to use something else first to remove all the existing varnish/cetol? Any recommendations? And then do I use oxalic acid, or sanding first? (I've seen some people say acid then sand, and others say sand then acid.) Thanks in advance!
jliegh,

Kind of like booze, different folks' preferences vary when it comes to finishing wood. Here's what I'd recommend based on my own experiences.

First for Cetol you'll need to strip it down to bare wood. You've got several choices -- sand it off; scrape it off; or use a chemical stripper. Of the three I prefer to scrape when possible, but sometimes sand or strip depending on the situation. Chemical strippers are relatively quick, but leave a fair amount of gooey mess. Sanding works, but can become tedious after a while.

Scraping -- using a sharp scraper and sometimes adding a little heat from a heat gun -- works in 90% of the spots you'll encounter. Google "cabinet scraper" and you'll get a good number of hits. Look for the videos that show using one, and those on how to sharpen them. If you don't want to buy a "real" cabinet scraper, you can make one using the side of a putty knife, the back side of a hacksaw blade, etc. The key is to keep the scaper sharp.

Using a heat gun along with the scraper can make it go quicker. Just remember that you're not trying to "burn off" the old finish, just heat it up enough to make it soft. You've got to be very attentive to make sure you don't char the wood.

Sanding off a finish will work, but takes time. The finish will clog the sandpaper fairly quickly (depending on the quality of the paper), and you'll go through a fair number of sheets before you're done. I'd leave the sander in the tool garage except for large, flat areas. Sanders and round edges just don't play well together. To strip off the finish, start by hand gently with 80 grit paper on a stiff sponge or a block of wood. After a while you'll get a good feel for how much pressure to apply to get off the varnish without taking off too much wood. Once the finish is off, switch to 180 grit paper and go over it again.

Chemical strippers work great, but I only use them on pieces I can remove from the boat. Citrus Strip works OK, and is friendlier on you than others you may encounter. Lay it on fairly thickly, and let it work. Scrap off the loosened finish with a plastic scraper, then give it a scrub with some bronze wool (not steel wool) and mineral spirits. If there's wtill any finish left on the wood, repeat the process. After all the finish is off, wash it with soapy water and rinse well. Let it dry, and then sand it smooth with 180 grit paper.

If you're going to use the oxalic acid, do it between the rough sanding (80-100 grit paper) and the finish sanding (180-220 grit). You want to have bare wood for the oxalic acid to achieve a uniform finish. The water will raise the grain of the wood, which you'll need to knock back down before you apply the finish.

Best of luck!
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