a day goes by when someone wandering down the dock stops to mention what a beautiful vessel we have, and then notes how happy
they are that they don’t have all that woodwork to care for. Well, all I’ve got to say to them is (tongue between
lips) PPPHHHZZZTTT!!! We do have a ton of teak on deck, and most all of it was in terrible shape. So I did some investigation,
and a plan of action was implemented. Time to bring back the brightwork!
We started by stripping the old varnish off with a heat gun. Weeks passed and the stripping continued.
I kept waiting for our harbor master to come and tell me he was going to raise our rates to cover the electric bill. But after
several bags full of varnish peelings, and the obligatory minor personal injuries, we were on to step two - sanding.
a hefty investment in the sandpaper industry, we were beginning to think that bare wood didn’t look so bad. Alas, I
had my heart set on a nice shinny finish and the grayer the teak got in the sun, the more adamant I got about how enjoyable
it was to work with wood. I moved on to step three - sealing the wood with teak oil.
There was another skipper on our dock who was also wooding his boat down for a new finish, and
we commiserated, shared techniques, and patted each other on the back in our little successes. It was nice to have the competition
and the moral support.
The amount of teak on a Hans Christian is incredible. It all adds to the beauty and function of the vessel, as well as the
amount of time it takes to maintain it. A lot of people will steer clear of boats that require this level of maintenance,
but we have grown to love the work, as well as the final results. We roll our eyes at the "I can have the teak refinished
in a couple of weeks" comments of the inexperienced.
If done right from bare wood up, the finish will only require
a recoat every four to six months. But to do it right takes months and months and months. You are at the mercy of the weather,
and other issues that demand attention. It takes a minimum of 3 coats of sealing oil, a wet sand, and 10 coats of premium
varnish (we use Schooners) with drying times expanding to 48 hours between coats. Factor in sanding and dust clean-up between
layers, the need to limit the coverage area to keep a wet edge, drying times before evening dew, dry-off times from morning
dew, and well - you do the math.