So last summer I bitched and moaned about spending all my time scraping the old Cetol and varnish off the teak and not getting it completely ready for the surface treatment. Sure, I got a nice tan, but man, did I ever get sick of it right quick. I knew I didn’t want to have a repeat of that this summer so I took a few days off of work and busted it out last week.
Rich and I prepped the companionway hatch and the boom gallows a couple of weeks ago and Rich coated those with three coats of Cetol Natural and one coat of Cetol Gloss. After a week or so of looking and touching it we decided we really don’t like it. The color is ok, but after more than a week it still feels soft. And we’ve already dinged it with something (not sure what) We’re not going to redo it, but we decided not to use it for the rest of the teak.
So we’ve had a hard decision to make. What to use on the teak? Since I started scraping the old Cetol off and realized how much teak we have and how hard it is to do because of all the detail in the teak, I’ve been undecided about the final coating. I NEVER want to scrape this teak again. I won’t mind doing some touch-up, sanding, cleaning and whatnot, but scraping it again is OUT. I never considered varnish because it sounds too finicky and difficult to do and I know me…I have no patience for it. I really wanted to do Honey Teak, but Rich thought it was too expensive and sounded a little tricky to apply.
I had to come up with something or the freshly sanded and prepped teak would sit and turn gray. Then I stumbled across a sailing blog of a couple now in Mexico and they used Cetol Natural on their toe rail, rub rail, and hand rails. They didn’t use a gloss coat on the toe rail because they didn’t want it to be too slick to stand on (makes sense) and the Cetol failed miserably without the gloss coat. They scraped the Cetol off the toe rail and switched to Star Brite Teak Oil and Sealer instead. They said it’s holding up great in Mexico and it was really easy to apply. Ding, ding, ding…we might have a winner!
I did a little research on it, and even though it doesn’t have a nice shiny gloss to it, not only did it look easy to apply, but if we hated it, it wouldn’t require scraping to remove it. That basically sealed the deal for me.
So for two days I sanded…and sanded. First with 60 grit (yes that seems really rough, but the old Cetol and varnish was deeply embedded in the teak grain and nothing was going to get it out except aggressive sanding), finishing with 120. I probably should have spent another day sanding with 180 or 200 but I was bone-tired.
The third day Rich and I used the Star Brite Cleaner and Brightener. That only took about 4 hours. And the fourth day we busted out the foam brushes and applied the teak oil and sealer. We started with the eyebrow moulding on the cabin top and tried to just cut it in at the edges. It was a little difficult at the lower edge so ended up masking that part off. Then we moved on to the toe rail and trailboards. With the two of us working together it took about 5 hours to do. And we didn’t have to mask off anything else. I think the finished product looks fantastic. I really like the color and the matte finish is growing on me as well. We had a freak rain storm here a few days after we applied the stuff and the water beaded up and dried perfectly.
Of course I’m not completely done with the teak just yet. I still have to sand and prep the teak in the cockpit, the teak pads under the boom gallows supports, and the teak coamings once Rich builds and installs them. We’re considering putting a second coat on toward the end of the summer so I figure I have until then to finish sanding and prepping the rest of teak.