Tartan 27' owner
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Wow! Since everyone else has expressed their opinions on teak oil above I will express mine which are derived from working on the too-much-exterior teak on my boat.
- teak oil does not turn the wood black.
there is a fungus that can attack the wood when it gets dried out (of oil) and the fungus can grow. This is why some people swear by using just salt water on their teak as the residual salt kills it. Fresh water would not provide the same protection. Black spots can be bleached out. Perhaps a solution of water and sea salt (or any salt) would act as a good brine or pickling solution for the teak if you want to stay with the silver/gray look (haven't tried this yet but you GL sailors might try it).
- teak oil will not be slippery like varnish.
the oil will seep into the wood and the surface can be wiped down with alcohol to pick up any remaining moisture. Oiling the wood can even make the grain stand up a little giving you more traction while varnishing tends to flatten and smooth out the finish making it more slippery. I know, as I sanded, oiled and varnished our cockpit gratings and even though they still look pretty good 6 years later I still kind of hate using them. The sheets and other lines can get between the slats and they are slippery when wet.
- teak is known to be an oily wood. Giving it more oil can't be a bad thing for it if it is clean and I do believe that it is good for the wood in the long run.
- I also agree with the other posters in that leaving the wood alone, untreated (or salted as I am advocating) is the easiest way to go as the maintenance seems minimal. I am just not sure what this does to the wood on a cellular level if it dries out. I happen to like the look of oiled teak so I get the tyranny of the teak.
I say go with salt water solution rinses periodically if you want to stay gray; go with teak oil if you want the rich ruddy teak color.
"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen
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