Revitalizing weathered teak trim


LOVES Wooden Canoes
I'm buying a small sailboat that has some very neglected teak trim. It's weathered gray but seems sound.

I'm a real novice with teak. Can I just use a product like Deckswood containing oxalic acid to restore a fresh color? When dry, I plan to then sand it lightly with 120-150-220 before re-oiling the wood with teak oil. Is this a reasonable plan or am I missing something?

Hi Gary,

The 2-part teak cleaner/bleach solutions work very well. I've used them on lots of woods including teak (imagine that- actually using teak cleaner on teak!), and they work very well. Best bet is to get a good brand like Te-Ka or Snappy Teak-Nu, rather than a bargain brand from the home store or the marine store brand. These high-quality brands are available from places like Jamestown Distributors and some chain marine stores.

One of the great virtues of teak, though, is that it weathers to a nice silver-gray which many people really like. But if you'd rather see the rich brown tones, the teak cleaners work wonders.

Finally, you may hear that teak is difficult to finish. Not necessarily true, especially when considering old teak that has weathered and lost some of its oil. For a good review of finishing techniques in the boating world, see the book Brightwork by Rebecca Whitman. I'm not sure- she might have a 2nd edition out now, but the origial has lots of great finishing suggestions, plus beautiful photography. I do remember that she specifically discusses the various methods of finishing (or not finishing) teak.

Hi Michael,
Thanks! Your suggested Te-Ka product worked very well to remove the gray weathering, but it revealed that the trim pieces were really mahogany. :mad: So rather than a simple oiling, I'll be wet-sanding multiple spar varnish coats.