I needed to replicate some teak parts on my boat and figured I'd do it
myself. So, I got some teak ($14/bf!) and got to work.
It's interesting stuff. Rough cut, it feels like any other wood, but as
I started planing it, the true character came out. I always knew teak
had oil in it, but I never expected anything like this. The newly
planed surfaces are totally saturated. Wild stuff.
So, the question is, do I need to worry about the oil getting on my
machines being a problem for other woods? The next time I run something
else through my planer, table saw, etc, will it now get contaminated
with teak oil, and if so will that play havoc with finishes, etc?
Wow, I don't have much experience working with Teak but I certainly
didn't have the experience you have with oil. I bought a lot of 200
bf. I haven't built anything substantial with it yet, but I did cut
off a piece and jointed and faced it, then put some decorative edging
and beading on it with a router. I just wanted to see how it works and
what it looked like. Its gorgeous stuff, but not what I would call
oily. I'm wondering if there was difference in drying between yours
and mine. Mine was air dried in hot warehouse for about a year. I
have not checked the moisture content.
Roy, what you are experiencing is not unusual for teak. In my experience
some lots are oilier than others. The primary problems I have encountered:
1) the oil coating the feed rollers of planers causing them to slip and
2) the oil retarding the curing of certain finishes. I have not had a
problem with the oil cross-contaminating other woods from contact with
tools. Gluing can also be a problem and it is sometimes recommended to wipe
down the edges to be glued with acetone immediately before glue application.
You will also note that although teak is relatively soft it has an abrasive
character that dulls blades rather quickly.
Another question: The bin marked 4/4 contained boards that were about
1-1/16" thick. The 5/4 bin had stuff that was more like 1-3/8" thick.
The yard guy confirmed that it's cut thick, not mis-labeled.
Now, I'm certainly not complaining that I got extra material, but it is
curious. I'm used to 4/4 being more like 15/16 rough-cut. It it common
for teak to be cut a little fatter for a given nominal size? Or is it
cut the same thickness and just doesn't shrink as much in drying? Or
did I simply luck out and find a good supply?
As for finishing it, this is going on my boat, and won't get finished at
all. As a friend of mine once said regarding the upkeep of teak on a
boat, "If god hadn't meant teak to be grey, he wouldn't have made it
that color". For me, the choice of teak was purely for it's physical
properties, i.e. the ability to survive with no maintenance in a marine
Could it be the difference between you measuring in Imperial and the
supplier rough cutting to Metric? After all, the US and UK are the only
places that still use Imperial predominantly and everywhere else is metric.
Even if you don't finish the teak and let it attain that grey colour, you
should be scrupulous about cleaning it. Being a boat owner, you probably
already know this. Many people with teak garden furniture just let it stand
out in the weather and basically rot. It still takes effort to produce a
He is talking about getting the fungus off. (mildew or whatever you want to
call it). On a boat this is also salt and whatever else collects from the
I am not a fanatic about the teak in my yard or on my boat but you should still
knock the fuzz off and wipe it down with a teak oil/cleaner every once in a
while. I use the generic stuff at one of the tar/mart type places..
Reputable people in the lumber business rough cut 4/4 to a size that
should allow finishing at a precise 1 inch. The erosion of wood sizes is
their way of making you pay for the kerf and an abominable practice
sowing confusion around the world.
Roy Smith wrote:
Please let us know where you buy your lumber. With most of the 4/4 rough dry
lumber I've bought, you might be able to hit or miss surface to 1", but even
that is unlikely. 7/8" for planed flat boards is usually a possibility, but
not always. I'm not saying it's right, but that's the way it is. In my
Again, tell us where you find all those fat boards.
Normally have them sawn, especially when I used to seal with the EU
where the standards do not keep slipping a sixteenth of an inch per
A fair number of people used to do it properly when I was in the
tropical wood business, es-pecially when supplying door manufacturers
and veneer cutters. Personally I have rarely bough any exotic wood from
retail outlets, so I have little idea of what that market accepts.
renewable resource teak
According to his Norm-ship putting teak through the planer or joiner
does a real number on the knives due to the presence of lots of
Also you need to clean off any surfaces with a solvent before trying
or you end up gluing the oil to the oil.
No, but good teak will play hell with your cutter blades, even carbide ones.
You will have to resharpen all tool bits that were used to machine the teak.
If you plan to do any gluing, use epoxy.
Wear gloves, wipe glue surfaces with acetone, then epoxy.
Clamp lightly, only enough to keep pieces in registration, and allow epoxy
to cure at least 24-36 hours.
S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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