Teak Wars: The Teakening Strikes Back

One of the things that made me pretty leery about buying Sooner was the amount of exterior teak on her. Not only were there the dreaded teak decks, there were also teak cap rails, cockpit trim, cockpit seats, dorade boxes, boom gallows… the list goes on.

A lot of teak in other words.

The problem with teak is that you can’t really just forget about it, as you can with fibreglass or stainless steel else it starts to look a bit ratty. Sooner’s teak rattyiness was compounded by the fact that a lot of it had been gone over with some kind of varnish and then not really touched for a few years, so it was all peeling, some of the exposed teak had gone grey and generally looking like quite the mess.

So I started small, with a dorade box. First thing was to use a heat gun and scraper to get all the old varnish (or cetol) off

Once that was done, I used my palm sander to sand down the box

Lastly, I used applied cetol (as it seems this is the most low effort finish that also lasts years)

Next was the cockpit trim

Same procedure here, lots of scraping, followed by sanding and then coating with cetol

Next up were the toe rails – which were a HUGE pain as not only do they run the whole length of the boat, but also were in really bad shape – a lot of bungs were missing and on one side, the toe rail was separating from its two pieces

Not only did I have to do the whole scrap/sand/coat thing, I also had to drill out old bungs, reseal gaps and do all kinds of things that were pretty boring and took a long time


Eventually it was done

Lastly, I needed to redo the cockpit teak.

It’s hard to see from this pic, but the teak was all peeling and horrible and even worse, all the sealant between the teak planks had dried up and separated!

This meant not only did I have to scrape off all the old varnish, I also had to scrape out all the sealant using a special hook thing

This part took FOREVER and I made a video about it

Finally I had removed all the old sealant and cetol.

Next, I had to sand down inside the cracks (heh) and then fill with a special sealant that cost 35 bucks a tube and really DID NOT go very far. I had to use in the end maybe 10 tubes for the entire cockpit. You put it into the cracks and then press it down with a putty knife.

On a suggestion from the internet I didn’t bother taping, as I had to sand down the wood anyway

This also took forever and cost a lot of money out of the Black Tubes Of Gunk budget so I had dark thoughts about buying a boat with lots of exterior teak.

Once THAT was done, all that was left was to sand down it all

And it’s ended up looking really good!

I still have a tiny bit to sand off but then that’s done. I don’t think I am going to use cetol or anything on the cockpit planks – it just looks and feels so nice as is.

It’s amazing how much difference doing (most) of the brightwork makes, she really looks like a different boat. Once I redo the non-skid/deck paint next year she’ll look amazing. Maybe exterior teak isn’t so bad…

Astute readers will notice I didn’t mention touching the teak deck and yeah, that’s because whatever I chose to do (rip up or refurb) would have taken too long for just me on my own. That is a project for next year!




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