Sunday, July 1, 2012

I wonder if Jimmy does his own teak?.

Disclaimer: This is a technical post...boat stuff.
I spent the last four days working on Serenity. It was time for me to learn about teak. Teak is a tropical hardwood tree species, and used on the trim of many sailboats. Much of the wood inside the cabin is also teak. Teak is native to southeast Asia, but is cultivated in many countries. Costa Rica has a rapidly growing plantation market. The natural oils in teak help it resist decay because of exposure. The oils also make it termite resistant.. Teak must be maintained or it begins to look like the picture below...kind of old, weathered and grey. Not that there is anything wrong with old weathered and grey, (like me), it is obvious that the eyebrow, (trim above ports) and the bow sprit, (that long board that Jimmy Buffett hangs his toes off of and holds the anchors on Serenity) was in need of some TLC. I consulted Google and found the following technique.

The appearance of the eyebrow, with previous coating flaking off and the teak underneath a dull grey color. 

 There are chemical strippers available, but I was worried about getting some in the Lake. I used the heat and scrape technique, which although is time consuming works pretty well. After scraping off the varnish, I used a teak brightener to clean the wood and prepare it for varnish. I then used 220 grit sandpaper and lightly sanded the stripped teak.
Tools needed: heat gun, scraper, sandpaper

 The eyebrow was then taped off to avoid getting varnish on the fiberglass.

 The eyebrow after 4 coats of natural Cetrol and three coats of clear.

 As you can see the bowsprit was also looking bad. The same technique was used to refurbish it, however I did use eight coats of Cetrol...four natural and four clear.

The bow sprit as it looked after being stripped, cleaned and sanded. You can see that the wood is still in great shape.

The finished bow sprit. Looks a lot better!

Anchors and anchor chain back in place. The white plastic pieces you see are chain protectors to keep the chains from scraping the teak. You can see the electric windless near the bottom of the picture. And yes, I will hang me toes off the bow sprit! 
 There are different ways to keep teak looking great. There are oils that will protect the wood from sun exposure. Part of Serenity's teak was already done with Cetrol, so I decided to make it all the same. After the last four days, it would not bother me to have a sailboat with out teak...fiberglass may not look as nice but it is sure easier to maintain.

A Teak tree for those who are interested.

This was the sunset Thursday night on Lake Erie. More often than not there is a beautiful sunset over the water. We are looking forward to some Caribbean sunsets.


  1. Teak, shmeak! Booooring! I did like the sunset pic though. You must've finally gotten rid of that little throw away camera you had.
    Love you. Glad you're home safe.

  2. Sara, I still have the same camera but will upgrade to a Canon D20 soon. It is waterproof and I hear it takes great pictures. If SFP wants to purchase one I would be happy to try it and give you a full report.

  3. I'm afraid SFP doesn't take recommendations from amateurs.


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