R 22

Rhodes 22


Teak Maintenance

About two years ago we were all discussing our different methods of taking care of the teak trim and our favorite brands. Some used the traditional teak oil method while others opted for the cetol. I on the other hand chose to use the WM version of cetol in gloss. I am happy to report that the product is a complete bust. After carefully preparing the wood I applied three layers with tender loving care. In less than a year more than 50% of the product had come off and needed refinishing, but being one that would rather sail than work on the boat I waited another year.

I have sanded back down to the original teak and this year I'm putting four coats of Spar Varnish on it. Last year I replaced the kick plate in the cockpit with a piece of teak that I finished with varnish and after one year it looks great.

I know everyone says not to varnish teak, but it looks great and so far has held up very well. The varnish I am using has ten times the UV protection that standard varnish has, so that might explain why it's holding up. I was just wondering how the other products are doing that were used?

07 Mar 2003

Dynamic Equilibrium is a 1976 Rhodes 22. My boat originally had teak companionway hatch guides, probably the same as yours.

In the spring of 1987, soon after I brought the boat home, I removed the hatch guides in order to sand & varnish them. The sliding hatch was still working OK, the teak hatch guides just looked grey & dirty. They are easy to remove, just 4 sheet metal screws in the bottom of the pop top hatch per guide. The hatch guides simply prevent the companionway hatch from rising up. The hatch actually slides along the top surface of the pop top. When I pulled mine apart for the 1st time, I found I had a much bigger problem on my hands than refinishing a few pieces of teak.

When you remove the hatch guides & lift up the sliding hatch cover, you are probably not going to like what you see:

Abrasive salt, dirt, & crud tend to accumulate in between the fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) hatch cover & the FRP pop top as well as between the FRP hatch cover & the teak hatch guides. Over time, this abrasive material has been wearing away at both the FRP surfaces as well as the teak every time you use the sliding hatch. You may very well find that you have no more gel coat remaining on the FRP hatch cover &/or the pop top. The teak hatch guides are probably worn so thin that they are no longer structurally sound.

The fix is relatively easy:

The FRP surfaces can be built back up with a thickened epoxy. Use Gougeon Brothers, WEST system epoxy: 105 epoxy resin, 205 Fast Hardener, & 406 Colloidal Silica Filler/Thickening Agent. This will give you a structurally sound & more abrasion resistant sliding wear surface for the hatch to run on.

If the teak hatch guides are worn too thin; then, they will have to be replaced. GBI can sell you new hatch guides in either teak or plastic. The plastic parts will be maintenance free & will last much longer than the teak. If you have a router; then, you can also make your own hatch guides out of plastic or teak. I built my own new hatch guides out of UV stabilized, black, Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) in 1987. They still look & work like new in 2003. Note: If you are replacing the teak hatch guides on top of the companionway; then, consider also replacing the vertical hatch guides on the front of the companionway to match.

Good Luck!

Roger K. Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
14 Jan 2003

We use a product call Armada. It does quite well down here in the Florida sun. Kathy gets several years out of it. It comes in several different gloss levels.

I use Ace Hardware's Spar Varnish on the tiller with good results, although I do keep it covered when we are not out on the boat.

Bob and Kathy on the "NoKaOi"
07 Mar 2003

I use Daily Sea Fin teak oil. Come from WM. It will harden to a gloss shean and will look like varish. Layer on about 8 coats. If it get scratch, all you have to do is layer on a new coat of oil. Best teak oil I have ever seen.

07 Mar 2003

I must be the fool in the group. Not only did I get the last boat Stan swore he would do with wood trim, but I added teak toe rails the full length, except for midship cleat track. My ladder also has teak rungs, but I also would always rather sail than maintain.

I originally tried Cetol, after oils,etc. but found although it held the season, it didn't look natural-too orange. The spin-off company Armada, has their version-I use the Satin Wood finish, which is more brown, looks greenish grey in the can. It is much closer to teak's natural appearance. I've used it 6 years with minimum touch-up during my 8-9 month season of exposure, only where chafing hits, etc. I've never taken the wood back to bare and unless there's any moisture or natural oil underneath, one or two coats is it with minimal or no sanding. Touch ups are easy to blend in, the grain shows through significantly even though it's a pigment base, which is the UV protection. Like all urethanes, it levels easily, and inexpensive foam brushes work well.

I absolutely love varnish, and I use the Z-spar Captain's Varnish on the tiller with 8-12 coats over West epoxy to seal it (also makes it less subject to cracking from stress). But in our neck, I would never try this outdoors. I actually use a standing garment bag as a drying enclosure. What type of spar varnish did you use? If it works, is easy to apply with good drying conditions, that would be my best choice. Most people don't recommend it on teak because of these factors, plus teak needs to be absolutely stripped of any internal oils with acetone so coatings don't lift, plus touch-ups are a bitch.

Practical Sailors this month changed their focus on testing coatings to best within types because appearance was most people's criteria for what they used, with longevity and ease of application after that. My stuff isn't listed, but hey, that's PS-they have representative products, and used Armada's MC2000 Synthetic, a sealer.

07 Mar 2003

Regarding putting epoxy down before varnish; I agree with your experts. I have had great results with a product called Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealant. It is a two part epoxy that is designed only as a wood "primer". Just about anything you paint on over CPES adheres better plus CPES can help strnegthen the wood. I first learned of the product on a Wooden Boat Forum. Many great reviews on that board.


I ordered on line after doing a bunch of research. Wood purist do not like using epoxy but it works really well. CPES is an awesome product and I have used on my wooden boat. It darkens wood very slightly and the wood really soaks this stuff up deep. I used the injection kit to inject CPES into some soft spots around the CB Trunk. I then covered with LayUp and Laminating Resin. It works very well and it is a little pricey. West doesn't really have a product that comes close to CPES.

On the R22 I have been using Teak Oil. I am getting ready to redo my tiller. My tiller looks like crap. Once I get to bare wood I will put on two coats of CPES then add several coats of varnish.

Warning this stuff is very toxic ....

10 Mar 2003

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