Teak plugs don't match handrails - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 04-20-2010
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Teak plugs don't match handrails

Hi all,
We're getting ready to reinstall our teak handrails, and it seems that the widely available teak plugs (pre-packaged) are much darker than our handrails. I'm sure it's because our handrails are 26 years old and the plugs are new and from a different batch of teak. But I do have some other new teak that's much closer to the handrail color, so I know it's not impossible to find a match.

I tried Exotic Lumber in Annapolis, and they do not have plugs or really the ability to make them for me (assuming we found some wood to match). Also tried Buck Woodcraft online, and they don't have anything different than what I have.

Any suggestions on where we might be able to get some custom made teak plugs that are a closer match? Even though we are using Cetol Natural Teak, and some of the difference in color will be reduced by the Cetol, I don't think it will blend in at all. See pic below for comparison.

Thanks for your help!
J

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Old 04-20-2010
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I bet that if you rub the entire hand rail with Teak Oil you will hardly notice the difference in hues. Let the oil soak in for a day. When you are ready to coat with Cetol wipe the hand rail down with Acetone. Done.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
Looks great BTW.
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Old 04-20-2010
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why not make them out of the teak you have, its fairly easy to do with right tools

Using A Plug Cutter

It may also be that your wood is bleached more than the plug?
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Last edited by T37Chef; 04-20-2010 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 04-20-2010
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Go to a woodworkers warehouse kind of store, there are several chains of them around. Sears used to even carry these, but you buy 'plug cutters'. They come in sets of three or four, or sometimes you can buy just the size you need. These allow you to use a drill press to cut plugs out of a piece of wood that matches what you have. Same color, same grain. Same wood.

Buy a decent drill for the wood, the same size as the plug. Get a brad point, or something similar. something that cuts a clean hole. then you just make your own plugs out of the same wood, and it can almost be invisible.

Plug Cutters

Ryobi - RYOBI 1/2 In. Plug Cutter - A10WD34 - Home Depot Canada

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/search_10...rd=PLUG+CUTTER

You can have anyone with a drill press cut the plugs for you, and take them to the boat. You can drill the hole for the plugs with a drill and a steady hand on-site.
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I always thought that the plugs looked darker too, but it appears to me that your handrail is sun bleached. Once you sand it all down and seal it, then they will be much closer although not a perfect match like from the same batch of teak.
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Make sure you line up the wood grain of the plugs with the handrails. It will help it all blend in.
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I don't think buying new plugs will help, as the rails are sun-bleached and weathered. The plugs will weather to a similar finish over time.
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Yeah, I figured it's the sun over time. Would oiling the teak before applying the Cetol make the handrails a lot darker than the rest of the wood on the boat? I haven't oiled any of the other brightwork on the boat before finishing.

I don't own a drill press, otherwise I would try to find a closer match (at least a little closer) and do it myself.

So I'm left with either dealing with what I have or finding someone else to help with a better match.
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I still think the major difference is the sun bleaching. Do you sand before the Cetol? This should make the plug and the rest of the teak look very close.

I never used Cetol so I can't tell you about the oil. I use the oil as a sealer and a smooth wet sand with 600 grit before varnishing.

Another option you can try is to acid bleach your plugs or in a weak clorox solution.
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or go the other way entirely....pick plugs with a totally contrasting color to make them stand out.

That's typically what i do when building furniture using trenails. Or cut the plugs from end grain, so that when they expand they do so laterally and make the plug tighter. I happen to like the contrasting wood. Teak and walnut, for example. or if you like lighter ones, birch.
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