Refinishing Teak- July 18th 2015

When we acquired our catamaran, the teak had been sorely neglected for many years. It was a cosmetic aspect which didn’t hurt the Gemini’s functionality. Since refinishing teak was something we had done on both of our prior sailboats, we knew we could progressively enhance Yacht A Fun ’s interior.

Starboard Bulkhead before refinishing

Starboard Bulkhead before refinishing

When a boat is empty of personal effects, dust from sanding is acceptable and easy enough vacuumed up. However, once you are living in the boat, teak dust is not a good thing.

Diann has incrementally worked on our teak since we left Oriental last winter. Now settled at a dock in Southport NC for the summer, we could remove all the settee’s back cushions in order to access the teak rails and bulkhead.

Our teak technique has evolved from: using a vacuum hose chasing an orbital sander, to hand sanding with wet sandpaper, to using wet scouring pads. The wet scouring pads have become our primary tool.

Scouring Pad Technique

Scouring Pad Technique

The open mesh of the wet pads picks up wood dust as a paste. The paste is rinsed out in a pan of water, as is the cloth rag used to pick up more of the wet residue. There are course, medium, and fine versions of the pads. We’ve mostly used the course pads.

Décor, or fixtures, which have hung on a bulkhead will leave “shadows” as a result of the fading which occurs on the uncovered areas. Acetone can be used to soften that fading. Teak oil continues the process.

Oxalic Acid, sold in spray form by Starbrite, removes gray / black water stains. You must be careful in its use. I poured small quantities into a 2 ounce plastic cup and applied the liquid with a disposable brush. It was a pleasant experience to see that the acid does as good a job on water stained wood as it does for removing rust stains on white fiberglass.  2497 stain

The acid needs to be neutralized before applying a finish. Diluted Ammonia works well as a neutralizer. After the oxalic acid / ammonia process, wipe over with water.

First pass with scouring pads

First pass with scouring pads

Before applying teak oil, we used 220 grit dry sand paper and hand sanded as a “once over” without creating a significant amount of dry dust.

Once the sanding process is complete, a paper towel wetted with alcohol should be used to wipe down the wood surface.

2502 port sanded

2503 bleached

Starbrite Teak Oil was applied in two coats to the settee rails and bulkhead.

Two Coats of Starbrite Teak Oil and Three Coats of Polyurethane

Two Coats of Starbrite Teak Oil and Three Coats of Polyurethane

Over two days, three coats of polyurethane were applied with disposable foam brushes. Open hatches are a must to vent the fumes while drying.

It seems that wet scouring pads take out some of the soft wood between the harder grain. As a result, a smooth high gloss finish should not be expected.

Grain Shows

Grain Shows

Our scouring pad / teak oil / polyurethane process renews the wood’s appearance and protects the teak surface. Next, the floors will get done.

Comments 2

  1. How do the back cushions remove? We have a 105m that needs to be reappolstered and don’t see how they come out? Thanks Peter

    1. Post
      Author

      Look (with a flashlight) for small wood screws penetrating the fiberglass back of the cushions. Open the storage sliders to find the screws.
      There are a pair of small bolts holding two cusions together- on port and starboard pairs.
      Bung plugs will have to be drilled and pulled to access the screws holding the top back area of the upper cushion parts.

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