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Old 02-25-2010, 12:30 PM   #1
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Teak OIL or Not?

I am replacing an old swim platform with a new, all teak one. I don't like the natural weathered look (silver-gray) but I don't want to be a slave to it either. "To oil or not to oil is the question." Anyone with photos of an oiled (not varnished) teak swim platform would be greatly appreciated. Also, all suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:10 PM   #2
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

Regardless of what you do, don't varnish it....it has nothing to do with being a slave to it. A Varnished swim platform is slippery as hell. Anyway, an oiled one just looks slightly wet. It does not look all that much better than a grey weathered one unless you oil it regularly.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:52 PM   #3
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

Walt:

Just out of curiosity, of what material was your previous platform made? Mine is made of a "Starboard" type material with thin teak slats attached for traction purposes.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:26 PM   #4
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

David:

My original platform is made out of a plywood core, encapsulated with fiberglass. Then a teak grate is inserted in the interior of the platform. Water intruded into the plywood core and when the wood expanded, it cracked the glass around the entire perimeter of the platform. I tried, in vain, to get Halvorsen and Selene (who built my boat) to acknowledge and fix the problem but neither one returned my numerous e-mails. Such is the case when buying a boat from Asia.
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Old 02-26-2010, 06:40 AM   #5
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

I wouldn't oil it. If you start down that path, plan on doing it monthly and then it'll still turn black on you.

I used to use regular Cetol on an old boat of mine. It was slipperier than varnish, but acceptable at least to me. My current boat has a teak swim deck, never gets any care at all. Nice and gray!
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

Now......has anybody put "abrasive material" into cetol or varnish so you can have a nice looking platform AND it not be slippery? A Varnished swim platform is downright dangerous. Not necessarily to you because you know it is slippery. But your guests aren't expecting it and when they go to plant a foot thinking they are gonna get sure footing and it doesn't happen.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:18 AM   #7
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

Not.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:34 AM   #8
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Teak OIL or Not?

Quote:
SeaHorse II wrote:

"To oil or not to oil is the question."
You will regret it if you do.* An oil finish on exterior teak lasts even less time than varnish.* If you spill lube oil on a teak deck, not to worry because the oil will weather out of the wood fairly quickly.* Same thing with teak oil.*

The only valid use for oil on the exterior of a boat, in the opinion of the shipwrights I know who do a lot of teak work on GBs and the like in our marina, is as temporary protection to wood that will eventually be refinished but there isn't time to do it now.* In the large GB charter fleet, a piece of teak that is having a problem with the finish will sometimes be sanded back and then oiled if the boat is departing on a long charter too soon for the wood to be properly prepped and finished.* The oil will protect the wood until the boat gets back.* They usually give the person chartering the boat a little can of oil and a rag and ask him to rub some onto the wood once a week or so.* If they don't do this, the wood could start going gray before it gets back, so it will have to be sanded again which, of course, removes more wood.* The oil also protects the bare wood from moisture.

When we used to use varnish I used this technique from time to time and the oil really does weather out of the wood very quickly.* But it was a good way to protect the wood until my schedule gave us enough time to properly varnish it.* Once we switched to Bristol I couldn't do this anymore as Bristol (and I assume the other similar finishes) will not adhere properly over an older oil finish.* You have to remove all traces of the oil.

Almost all the boats I see with "wood colored" swim steps in our marina are in boathouses.* Some of them are varnished, which as John says provides a wonderfully slippery surface unless you put traction material in the varnish on the top surfaces.* Others appear to have Cetol on them--- the finish is dull and a bit orange.* There are a few that are simply painted brown.

But whatever you decide to do, oil will not give you a labor-free finish.* In fact, you'll find it will be a much more labor-demanding finish than just about anything else.* Oil also holds all the dirt and soot that falls on it, which is one reason it's a terrible thing to put on a teak deck.

If you keep your boat in a boathouse and the stern is completely protected from the weather you'll get more time out of the oil, although you'll still have the dirt problem.* There's a very good reason why most boats with teak swimsteps have silver/gray ones.




-- Edited by Marin on Friday 26th of February 2010 11:41:15 AM
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:24 PM   #9
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

I varnished my swimgrid before installing it, after I had added some depth. That was in 2006. after 4 summers, the varnish is still in relatively good condition, as I only put it on the underside, in order to slow the greening. On the top surface, I sanded lightly, so as to get the same colour out of the old 2/3 as the new section. within 6 months, you could no longer tell where the new started and the old finished. now the whole thing looks..... gray and ugly, but not slippery. While under way, the waterline at the transom is right at the swimgrid, so it gets wet and wouldn't be safe to walk on if varnished.
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Old 02-27-2010, 01:00 AM   #10
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

Quote:
SeaHorse II wrote:

I am replacing an old swim platform with a new, all teak one. I don't like the natural weathered look (silver-gray) but I don't want to be a slave to it either. "To oil or not to oil is the question." Anyone with photos of an oiled (not varnished) teak swim platform would be greatly appreciated. Also, all suggestions are appreciated.
WalT, for what it's worth, and sort of in reply to what several others have said, I would not varnish it, (slippery as Baker says, and hard to keep nice), nor would I oil it, (like Marin says - does not really last), but I have always used the Cetol marine clear on my exterior teak, swim platform included, and I did it the Easter before last, when she was out having antifoul and other stuff done, and it still looks quite good, and is never that slippery.* However, I can't see why you could not mix a bit of non-skid in a separate tin of it, to just use on the swimboard, if slipping was a significant concern.* Bearing in mind, as Cetol does soak in to some extent, and does not build up a surface which has to be sanded before new coats can be added, but lasts a lot longer than oil, it has several desirable attributes, including ease of retouching, lasting well, and allows some of teaks natural non-skid to still be effective.* I doubt you would want to add a non-slip, but it would work.


*
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:55 AM   #11
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

My suggestion:

http://www.plasteak.com/osc/

All the advantages of teak without the hassle. Perfect for a swim platform that has to endure a beating.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:41 PM   #12
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Teak OIL or Not?

Thanks guys, for all the input. I'm still vacillating but have narrowed* down the decision to either doing nothing or using Semco clear sealer every 6 months. I looked at two Eastbays the other day, both a little over two years old, and one had done nothing to its platform and it was silver gray. (But nice!) The other used Semco clear sealer (every 6 months..top only) and it was fantastic! Remember, I don't have to mask when touching up the step every 6 months and the silver gray doesn't look as good against my Navy blue hull as does the sealed teak. (Form is everything in this application. Not function.)

This is the look I'm going for. (But without varnish.)



-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Friday 5th of March 2010 03:44:05 PM
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:07 PM   #13
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Teak OIL or Not?

That's a beautiful swimstep, no question, and I can certainly see why you would like to keep the wood looking like that. I would, too. And your point about what looks good with a dark hull is well taken.

There is a new 50-something foot motorsailer in our marina with a dark blue hull and it has a weathered silver-gray swimstep. It looks quite nice if you like that color combination. But if you are successful in finding something that keeps the teak looking like your photo that does not peel off, fade, or otherwise go bad, I'd give it a try. I'm not familar with Semco sealer so I don't know anything of its properties over time. But I hope it works for you if that's the route you decide to try. It would be well worth the effort to try to preserve the "new" appearance as long as you can. Let us know how it holds up six months and a year down the road.

Did you build the new swimstep yourself?* If not, who did?

-- Edited by Marin on Friday 5th of March 2010 08:08:55 PM
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:59 AM   #14
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Teak OIL or Not?

The picture is not my swim step. I just pulled it off a web-site for the color. My yard is handling the project but they bought it from Pennsylvania. When it's delivered, I'll know who made it and I'll pass it on.

-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Saturday 6th of March 2010 10:02:29 AM
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:52 PM   #15
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

I'm a bit surprised that someone said that Cetol was slick after application. My wife pulled the teak grate out of one of our showers and cleaned it up and put a number of coats of Cetol on it, and frankly...it was not the least bit slippery. In fact it was less slippery than the raw wood was.

I had been concerned that it would be slick....but it turned out not to be. Granted, this was a fresh water application, so I am not sure if salt water would cause it to be slicker.... But I know she is planning on using Cetol on our GS-44's swim platform....she's already done the rest of the teak....... SHE has the patience.... I don't.....but then again...I'm the bilge rat and she's the Admiral...
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:44 AM   #16
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

I agree, I've already suggested to Walt Sikkens Cetol, clear, or teak, (if he wants a darker colour), as I also use in on my swim step and slipping has never been an issue. But I'm pleased I'm not a lone voice advocating Cetol.
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Old 04-05-2010, 03:36 PM   #17
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

OK! The swim platform has arrived from Pennsylvania and will be installed tomorrow.

My reaction when I first uncrated it was " It's so beautiful, I hate to install it."
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:18 PM   #18
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

Absolutely gawgeous!
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:17 PM   #19
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

Let us know what you decide to do with it regarding finishing (or not finishing).
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:58 PM   #20
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RE: Teak OIL or Not?

Well, here it is! I've decided to go the Semco Clear Sealer route as all the Eastbays look great.....What you see is unsealed at present.
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