I'm helping out my BIL with refinishing some teak trim for his sailboat. We
decided that a couple of the pieces were a bit too weathered to restore so
he bought some teak from which to mill some replacement parts. The new teak
has a distinctly greenish cast. It appears that the newly milled faces of
the stock are the most green.
Is that normal? is it wet? needs oxygen? or did he just buy an ugly,
overpriced chunk of wood?
I'm new to teak. I know that the natural oils are a concern when gluing. Is
there any special prep I should do before applying marine varnish?
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IMO, yes - do not varnish it. Once you put a coating of anything on it, you
will continually have to maintain it, until you have had enough, and then
have to clean it off (sand, scrape, whatever)
There are some products to bleach teak - to make it look like 'new wood'.
A light sanding will help. Usually, teak goes to a grey state in a year or
Unfinished teak has a good non-skid quality, which can be useful on a boat.
Most coatings will give it a slick(er) slippery finish.
If you really must finish it, wiping it down with acetone will help remove
the oil from the surface, to help in a better bond for the varnish
I suspect the teak you bought was plantation grown and the teak on the boat
was not. In my experience (2 years in England where a lot of furniture was
teak veneer) the old teak was darker and richer colored and the plantation
grown looks a bit anemic. But I don't remember seeing any that looked
Put it out in the sun for a while. It's likely to change color to a dark
brown after a few days. I'll put out fresh teak on sunny afternoons for a
few days in a row, taking the wood in at night. The irregularities usually
even themselves out after a while, and they ordinarily brown out nicely.
I remember cutting a bunch of plugs out of a teak board one day. The plugs
came out of the plug cutter a bright salmon pink. I was working outside at
the time, and just flipped them into a box on the bench that was lying in
direct sunlight. Within no more than a half-hour, they were the same dark
brown as the surface of the board that I was cutting them out of.
For surface prep, wipe the wood down with a rag moistened with acetone just
before you put on the first coat of finish. Don't drench it - you just want
to remove the surface oils. If you're using varnish, thin the first coat
maybe 30% so it gets a good chance to penetrate. Later coats can be either
slightly thinned or full strength.
Some people use a clear penetrating epoxy sealer as a base coat. Smith
Brothers' CPES is one of the best, in my opinion.
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