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Mark J

Teak Treatment

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So I'm ready for surface coating of this most recent turning project, which is made from a block of teak.  I may end up tackling this tonight, but certainly by tomorrow so I'm hoping for a few quick thoughts from the herd.

First, what are your thoughts about just leaving the teak bare?   The butternut top will get varnished.  

If I apply a surface coating it will be PU varnish (gel).  So as the teak is oily I would wipe it down with mineral spirits first.  But how long is that wipe down good for?  I need to write on the bottom of the thing so the MS has to go first and then get pretty dry before the pen is going to work.  And I'm also thinking I may wipe the whole thing down, but then varnish in two sections.

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I've always heard that acetone should be used to remove surface oils from jungle woods like teak. 

The teak will likely polish up nicely with no finish at all, but slowly turn fuzzy with humidity. Just a guess.

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Acetone and mineral spirits should both dissolve oils, but does anyone know if acetone is better?  I tend to avoid acetone as it penetrates gloves and skin and it evaporates so quickly it can be a little overpowering.

How long does the "cleaning" last before new oils migrate to the wood surface?

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Acetone will wipe it off the surface, but since it evaporates so quickly, I doubt it does much more than that. 

What will Naptha do?   It seems like the evaporation rate is between Acetone, and Mineral Spirits (without looking it up).  Naptha is great for cleaning up dirty guts of chainsaws before pulling seals, and that is some greasy gunk that it gets off after it's already been in the parts washer that the washer couldn't get.

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16 hours ago, Mark J said:

How long does the "cleaning" last before new oils migrate to the wood surface?

Generally long enough to get done what you need to get done. I'd say an hour or so. I'm not sure that there is a lot of literature on this but the safe BMP is to clean the oils and do what ever you need to do immediately afterward.

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I'm just going to toss this out there as it's a bit unusual!  I did a towel rack for our bathroom in teak a couple years ago and struggled with what finish to use.  Since it was in a bathroom and not seen a whole bunch, I decided to run an experiment and I used GF Salad Bowl Finish.  Weird, I know..  I was very happy with the appearance and now, 2 years or so later, dragging towels off it every day, I'm super happy with how it's held up..  

I did wipe it with acetone just before applying the finish.

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I went ahead with it this morning.  I wiped the surface with mineral spirits, the let it sit 20 or 30 minutes till it was dry enough to write on.  Labeled the bottom and applied the varnish.  Seems to have worked.  

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