The adventures of the vessel "The Hard Six" and the man owned by her!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jim's Teak refinishing, Inc.

When I was a kid, we had a 1958, 42' Matthews double cabin. If you ask my mother, she'd say this was when I became infected with the boating virus. By the way, there is no known cure for this particular type of insanity. Ever.

She was mahogany over oak stringers. I generally say she was like furniture with engines. As you can imagine, my Father was a whiz with wood and taught me a few things here and there. So when it came time to do varnishing, I said "no problem, I got this". 

I wanted to replace as much of the teak vinyl veneer that was in the boat as was practically possible. It was ugly and lets face it, it wasn't fooling anyone, not even itself. There is nothing that looks like Teak with a bunch of varnish on it. It almost glows and I love the look of it. 

I did a bunch of research and the best choice for me seemed like Pettit's Flagship Varnish. And it's very, very good. At $120 a gallon, it better be!

Here's a tip..... There is a huge argument as to if you should use natural brushes or foam "throwaway" ones. Maybe the really good guys can get a better result with the natural bristle ones, but I found I could get a more even coat, with less brush marks, with foam ones. Now, you might think all foam brushes are crated equal. They aren't. Do yourself a favor and get the good ones! Yes, I know, they are 3x as expensive... and there is a reason! The ones I use are made by Wooster and have plastic, molded handles. You can use them about 3 or 4 times if you clean them before you have to throw them away and they don't fall apart like the cheap ones do. 

I started with recovering all the doors and drawers with real Teak veneer from World Panel Products in South Florida.  It comes in 4x8 sheets. You can see a partial one in the background of this photo.

This is after only 1 coat of varnish.

And this is after 6 coats of varnish. See what I mean about the "glow"?

Trim rails and kick plates from the cabin post sanding. The one in the foreground is for comparison.

And after....

Here's another tip - your double sided ladder makes for a good drying rack!

Crown Crown Quart Japan DrierAs an aside... I called Pettit's tech support. They recommend that you not varnish in humidity above 80 %. I explained to the rep that I was in Florida. He sort of laughed. 

I had read about a product that you can add called Japan Drier (available at Lowes). It helps offset high humidity and makes the varnish dry a bit faster. Otherwise it is a week between coats here. This stuff is like magic. 

If you live in Florida, or anywhere humid. It's a Godsend. The guys from Pettit just recommended that you not use more than 10% ratio and never, ever add it to the main can, only your work pail. Otherwise you will ruin a perfectly good gallon of varnish as it will become a solid after about 3 days. 

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