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FAQ: Varnish over Oiled Teak


How do I varnish over oiled interior teak?

Original Message:
The previous owner oiled the interior teak in the cabin. I prefer a varnished finish. Anyone know whether the oiling is going to present problems in varnishing? Anyone done this? Any tips, secrets or suggestions?
Thanks for the info!
Chuck Hughes, Sand Save #223 [chuckhughes@yahoo.com]

All my interior teak used to get white growth on it when the winter cold set in. I had success with my last boat in using varnish on the teak, so I decided to try it on my C34. After varnishing, I did not see any growth the past two winters. Excess teak oil had to be dealt with first. I washed all the walls and wood work with Brush Clear..the water soluble type. Then I wiped all walls and woodwork with acetone. Then I applied three coats of Helmans Semi-gloss varnish. It gives the boat a nice low luster wood look and is easy to clean. If it gets scratched, I carry a touch up bottle of varnish and some fine sandpaper. Because it is not in the sun, any touch-ups could wait till the next spring. No maintaince should ever be needed to the woodwork other than normal cleaning. Try not to use a gloss finish as it will show any defects and not look as rich looking.
Capt Al ~~~~_/)~~~~~~~~~~~~(\_~~~~#55 C34
"Kindred Spirit" http://kindred-spirit.net

Maybe. I have had good success using Deks Olje #1 & 2 on a previously oiled teak table and a yellow poplar mast on a homebuilt boat. The #1 is a matte finish and the #2 gives it an almost varnished look. Well, at least itís shiny. It isnít very rugged but it has the advantage of being easy to refinish. Just wipe more #2 on with a rag.
I recommend you test on an area that doesnít show no matter what you end up applying to the teak.
Charlie Pearsall C34 Delirious, [cpearsall@smcplus.com]

I refinished the interior our C34 using Dalyís Pro-Fin.
Pro-Fin is a resined tung oil which produces a bright durable finish that can be easily repaired by wiping on another coat.
Dalyís also produce a tung oil without the resin additive for external use. Its called Sea-Fin.
I prepared the original oiled teak by spraying with domestic bleach solution and rubbing in the grain direction with fine bronze wool. This removed dirt and mold and lightened the surface. Bleaching is not a pleasant job and must be done with lots of ventilation or youíll end up coughing for dayís after. Youíd need to clean the surface in much the same way if you were going to use a regular varnish. After allowing the wood to dry, I then wiped on two coats of Pro-Fin. Each coat is liberally washed on, allowed to stand for a few minutes and then any excess is wiped off. The second coat can be applied a few hours later.
Charles and Ba Holder, holder@unixg.ubc.ca

Iíve used tung oil as a first coat to seal wood before varnishing and it seems to work fine. Iíve always used oil based rather than a poly or synthetic varnish. Iím not sure what happens if you put a poly over an oil. On the other hand, I have found that a couple of coats of tung oil wet sanded on with a fine grit emery paper can produce a smoother finish that lasts longer on interior teak than using varnish. It wonít hold up on exterior teak. Personally, Iíve found tung oil easier to work with than varnish especially on vertical surfaces and easier to touch up if thereís any dingsójust rub some more on, smoothing it out with emery paper, if needed.
Phil Davies [PhilDavies1@compuserve.com]

Last modified by Phil Imhof, Wednesday, August 11, 2004 . Copyright © 2001 by Catalina 34 International Association.  All rights reserved.