Exterior Teak Finishes

Sent: Friday, April 03, 2009 12:47 PM

Any favorites out there for treating the exterior Teak? I have experimented with CETOL, but the finish is very soft. Looking for easy, good looking finish.

Wayne Eagleson
Knotty Bouys

From: Glenn Zimmermann glenn@btfenterprises.com
Sent: Fri, 3 Apr 2009 3:51 pm

Honey Teak from Fabula Inc., Tom Fabula, Pres 772-287-6077

On Apr 3, 2009, at 5:15 PM, mfspike@aol.com wrote:

During the refit, I used 3 coats of epoxy followed by three coats of Varnish.

S/V Willow
Portland, OR, USA

From: Don Henderson
Sent: Monday, April 27, 2009 2:03 PM

Just to toss another thought into the box! I've tried lots of different products over the last 15 years. Most looked good initially, but the lasting time even in the SF area, was not all that great. Based on several recommendations, I'm now trying "Epithanes" system. This involves 3-4 coats of their "wood-finish gloss", with no sanding required between coats provided recoating is in 72 hours. For first coat, tinning is 25%, feathering back to 5% in last coat. THEN, (optional), recoat with Epithanes Clear Gloss Varnish, sanding lightly between coats (3-4 recommended). Not a cheap process: At W Marine the "wood-finish gloss" is $50/quart, the recommended thinner is $20 and the follow-up Varnish is around $35/qt. I'm about half way through, and will report back as to results in another year.

Don Henderson henderkin@comcast.net
I-36 Kindred Spirits

From: Michael Daley
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 2:25 PM

I know very little about varnishing, as anyone looking at my boat can see, however I do have one observation:

The reason teak is such a wonderful wood for marine applications is that it contains a naturally-occurring oil that preserves it and keeps it from rotting. This oil is also the reason it repels water, varnish and other finishes. If you can live without that shiny look, teak oil cooperates with the wood's nature, rather that fighting with it.

Personally, I wish there were NO external wood on my boat. Belowdecks wood is great -- there's no sunlight there. Unfortunately my boat, being older, has more exterior teak than most -- the toe rail is teak, and there are large teak areas under the cockpit winches. Even the forward hatch is teak. I have a love/hate relationship with the stuff...

Happy sanding to all,
Michael sailing_michaeld@yahoo.com

From: Hank Nelson HNelson@ultratech.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 8:12 AM

I visited Smith Chemical up in Richmond last summer. Smith developed CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer) that most of us are familiar with. He described the two primary failure modes of varnish: degradation of adhesion to the wood and degradation of the UV protectants.

His suggestion was to apply CPES first (to the bare wood, of course). He is adamant that 'coats' mean nothing; it is the dry film thickness that matters. After building up the epoxy allowing 72 hours cure time between coats (and sanding each coat BTW) the final coat is applied and after a 24 hour partial cure the first coat of Epithanes (his recommendation for the 'best' varnish) is applied.

There is an intermolecular bond that is established between the epoxy and varnish. This essentially eliminates the first problem of lack of adhesion. Anyone who has worked with CPES is familiar with its low viscosity and ability to seep deep into the wood fibres (capillary-action). Not only does the CPES promote great adhesion, it also water-proofs the wood!

I ran out of time last fall and only got 1 coat of the planned 10 coats of varnish on, but many people have remarked on the gloss and smoothness on the toe-rails (I now have an Islander Freeport 41 but still monitor this site). Supposedly, the maintenance should only consist of a quick scuff of the varnish, removing essentially only a couple of 'coats' and then reapplying 2 new coats every 6 months or so.

Thanks for allowing me my 2 cents!
Hank, Sea Runner, Westpoint Harbor, Redwood City

From: "Mike Bennett" mbennett@astrosociety.org
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 7:24 AM

The May/June 2009 issue of Fine Woodworking magazine had the results of a year-long real-world test of 5 clear wood finishes--Watco Oil, Zar Polyurathane, Man O'War Spar Varnish,Epifanes High Gloss, and Epifanes High Gloss over epoxy sealer. They tested on 5 different woods, but not teak. The clear winners were the two Epifanes. Over the course of a year left outside in various locations around the country (but not on any boats) the two Epifanes treatments were the only ones that showed essentially NO degradation. They preferred the 7 coats of Epifanes High Gloss over the 3 coats of epoxy plus Epifanes only because it involves one product instead of two.

I have recently done all the brightwork on my new little trailerable wood boat with 7 coats of Epifanes High Gloss. On part of it I tried a combination of the Woodfinsh with the High Gloss and decided that the Woodfinish, while slightly easier to use, didn't look quite as nice as the full 7 coats of High Gloss. Once you get the hang of how much to thin it, the Epifanes really goes on pretty easy and looks GREAT!

Here's hoping it really does last for awhile.

One final point. I discovered you can buy things like Epifanes, and many other marine supplies from on-line suppliers at much lower cost than West Marine, even when you include the shipping (assuming you are buying more than one or two items at a time). I have used Hamilton Marine, Jamestown Distributors, and Go2Marine several times over the past few months with perfectly satisfactory results. (Don Henderson has reminded me, though, that at least some West Marine stores will match any documented internet prices.)

Good luck!
Mike Bennett
former owner, Freeport 36 Getaway

From: C. Openshaw
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:03 PM

I gave up on varnish years ago. Now I use turps. and raw linseed oil, 50/50 mix. It leaves a dull finish, but I feel it is better for the wood. It will need redoing every month or so depending on the weather, but it takes about an hour to do the whole exterior, and then every year or two a quick lick with fine sandpaper and you are good to go.

Lets face it, I would rather be sailing.

Clive Openshaw, openshaw@island.net I36 Induna, Sail No. 84

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