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Boat and Yacht Detailing

Submitted By Lance Winslow

When you find some boats with gray and weathered teak, you may use any of the variety of products that are recommended from Nauticaleze. You may also wish to clean it with Snappy-Teak-Nu.

If you apply a fresh coat of varnish or sealer as soon as the finish starts to dull or show signs of wear and touch up nicks, your work will be very easy and your profit margin sustainable. You'll want to wear a nice set of protective gloves, long pants and a long sleeve shirt. Some of these products will have some strong acids in them, which are used to de-clean the teak.

With a very stiff brush, do not use a wire brush, or try using bronze wool or stainless steel wool but not steel wool, begin usually with the step one cleaner. Apply on a wet surface, the wet teak, scrub in thoroughly, rinse, and let dry for a couple of minutes. You can either progress onto the last step after letting this dry thoroughly usually taking several hours, or you may proceed to lighten the teak wood as some people like it with a step two product which kind of bleaches the wood out. Basically it is the same as you do with step one. You put it on a wet surface, scrub gently, rinse and let dry.

Teak must be extremely dry before applying any of the teak oil. Putting oil on teak that is not completely dry will result in splotchiness and an uneven finish. Properly cleaned teak will be tan in color. If it is grey it isn't clean enough. Remember that teak will begin to oxidize within an hour or two so treat it right away.

Before applying any products to teak, make sure you know how the teak has been taken care of in the past. Be sure not to get any cleaners on adjacent surfaces such as fiberglass, polished metals or aluminum moldings. If it is varnished or has been varnished in the past, using the steps described previously will not work.

Applying a teak oil or sealer is a lot easier than applying varnish. There is no industry-wide standard that spells out the difference between a teak 'sealer' and a teak 'oil', so merely seeing these words in a product's name is not always an accurate indicator of how one product differs from another. Both are penetrating finishes that are designed to soak in to the pores of the wood and leave a matte finish.

Broadly speaking, a teak sealer is supposed to contain more solids than a teak oil, which leads some manufacturers to claim that the sealer will require fewer coats or will last longer. However, some products labeled teak sealers do not last any longer than those that are labeled as teak oils - and some oils actually may last longer than some sealers. All tend to darken the wood somewhat, but the amount of darkening will vary considerably from one brand to another. The only way to tell how much a particular finish will darken your teak is to try it on a small area, or see what it looks like on someone else's boat.

Most of these oils and sealers will oxidize and darken over time, so the color may change as the finish ages. All of these oils and sealers are difficult to remove from fiberglass, gel coat and painted surfaces after they dry, so be very careful to avoid runs, drips and smears when applying them. Masking tape helps, but don't trust it too much. Some of the oils have such a low viscosity that they will work their way under the tape. In addition, many will soften the adhesive on the tape. Your best protection is to wipe off smears and drips immediately.

You can apply it with an inexpensive throw-away foam-type brush or even a sponge mop or roller. There is never a worry about brush marks. If you really want to go fast use a long handled mop sponge. Another idea is to use a mixture of half turpentine and half boiled linseed oil. Shake mixture well. Pour a small amount of this potion onto a rag and rub back and forth in the direction of the wood grain. If you put too much teak oil on, don't worry. Sprinkle on corn starch to absorb excess stain and oil. Allow to sit one hour and then dust off. You'll find it shiny underneath.

Teak oils and sealers should be re-applied every six to eight weeks. If you do not have a lot of experience in revarnishing, you are advised not to recommend this as it requires a long learning curve and very expensive products to do this and is very time consuming.

However, if you are good at working with wood and you have the patience, please contact the home office for some of the procedures on how to do it and some of the recommended products.

As mentioned, unless you have gone through an extensive training program and have practiced a lot on teak that is not on an actual boat, it is definitely not recommended that you try varnishing and all the steps involved with it. The good news is that the marine industry is working currently on a system to radically reduce the time for reconditioning teak with a minimal of products. This will be available soon.

When using the cleaning products on teak, always be careful to keep them away from the gel coat and other striping as they sometimes can stain. Make sure you wet the area down when you are doing it and if you are ever going to redo teak, make sure that it's done as the first step before you start on the rest of the boat. You may even wish to tape off an area with high grade masking tape. That way by the time it dries, you are able to apply the teak oil or other coatings as a last step.