The benefit of an oiled teak finish goes beyond the way it enhances the wood’s beauty.
It’s also in the ease and simplicity of application. An added advantage is that if the wood is accidentally scratched or marked the spot can be carefully sanded out, then re-oiled and blended into the surrounding wood. Teak is the most forgiving of woods. It has a natural oil that prevents decay and enables easy refinishing of neglected or damaged surfaces.
The wood’s surface should be clean and smooth before oiling. If necessary, wash the teak’s surface with soapy water and a soft brush to remove any stubborn spots. Otherwise, simply wiping down with a damp cloth will suffice. Allow the surface to dry thoroughly before oiling.
Before getting started on oiling it is important to know that if you spill or drip any oil onto the gel coated surfaces while you work, the spill needs to be wiped off with a clean rag immediately. Once hardened, these spots become sticky, darken and are very difficult to remove.
Important! Oil soaked rags must be carefully disposed of because, given the right circumstances, they can combust and potentially cause a fire. Follow the directions on the can for handling and disposal of oil soaked rags.
When re-oiling your boat it is best to apply the oil in moderate temperatures and never in direct sunlight. The oil can be applied using a cloth, brush, roller or what we prefer, a foam applicator. Apply it liberally and let it penetrate for 10 to 15 minutes watching for spots that dry early and adding fresh oil to them. Then simply wipe the surface completely dry with clean rags. Generally speaking, one coat is enough but if a second coat seems necessary, follow the drying time instructions on the can.
For a really fine, furniture-like finish, leave the wood for 24 hours then, working on small sections at a time with 400 grit sandpaper, burnish-sand the wood. Wipe the burnished areas clean and apply a final coat of oil and allow it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Then wipe hard and follow by polishing with a soft, dry cloth.
The length of time an oil finish stands up usually depends on the number of hours of direct sunlight exposure. As mentioned, keeping the boat covered whenever possible increases the longevity of the oil finish considerably. Another factor is the number of coats of oil on the teak. If sunlight cannot be avoided, re-apply the oil whenever the wood looks parched.
There’s something special about the deeper, warmer glow and the smell of a freshly oiled, wood finish. So if you feel like oiling your boat just for the pleasure of it, go ahead.