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Thread: Working with Teak

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Shubenacadie NS
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    Question Working with Teak

    So my 1973 C&C30 mk1 is blinged out in teak. Trim around her portholes both topside and below decks, grab rails on the cabin top in and out, below decks her entire fit out... She even has a wood spoked helm with a wooden destroyer rim (leather wrapped). Teak everywhere. (Don't get too excited, it's been a while since any of this trim has seen any love) Back in the early 1980s, someone was very kind to her. She got top of the line instrumentation. New everything. She had SSB, DF (who has DF in a 30 foot yacht anyway?). So most of that stuff is useless today. Nothing talks to anything else because 1980 technology, and it doesn't work anyway. So I decided to get new gear for her. Took advantage of the "virtual boat show sale" online at The Binnacle (Chain of chandlers in this part of the world) to pick up a bunch of stuff on sale. Got a decent discount too. She needs a chartplotter, VHF, masthead wind, depth, speed. Anyway, I decided to put the plotter on the helm console in a pod, and that I would skip the plastic pod and build a wooden one to contain my plotter and a remote VHF mic. (who puts a VHF below in the fwd part of the cabin out of sight and hearing of the helmsman anyway?) Naturally, I chose black locust since it's my favourite wood. Then I realized EVERYTHING on Santiago that wasn't fiberglass, dacron or extruded aluminum, was teak (or bronze) and I will be pretty much required to use teak so it wouldn't stand out visually. So teak it is as I just dropped nearly $300 on a few measly bf last week to do the job. That crap's expensive man. And crap is what I mean. For all it's virtues in the boatbuilding world (and I don't really agree with many of them) this stuff is decidedly NOT pleasant to work. Shavings come off and crumble in my hands and even planing the boards (handplane) is dusty work. It doesn't really smell very pleasant either. It's gritty due to all the silica in it and destroys my iron quite quickly (as I expected it to). In short, I don't like working with it.

    So, to the point of my post.... Has anyone had any experience working with teak using hand tools? Have you any advice on how to make it easier to work? Is this normal for teak? Am I doing something wrong? Do I have crappy teak? I suspect machining deck planking from it would be fine. Mask up, earbuds with good tunes and you'll mindlessly push stock through your TS for a while, but working it by hand isn't pleasant in the least.

    Thanks for any help you can give guys.
    Cheers,
    Daniel
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Default Re: Working with Teak

    Cockpit.jpg

    Here's some of her trim and helm. Someone even removed her hull number plaque to put that piece of trim on the inner face of her transom so I don't even know what hull number she is.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    N.E. Connecticut.
    Posts
    7,053

    Default Re: Working with Teak

    I have found it to be what you describe, and tough on edge tools. I have a bit of it myself. Most of it has been removed and put back.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: Working with Teak

    I was taught but never worked with it, (that crap is expensive) put the best edge on the cheapest tools you have and clean the oils off of them constantly.
    My instructors would just say what makes it so good for boats, makes it hard on tools and boat builders.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norwich,United Kingdom
    Posts
    8,361

    Default Re: Working with Teak

    I find it easier to work than oak or any number of other hardwoods.If you are unlucky the available stock will be plantation grown stock with four growth rings per inch.A sharp smoothing plane and block plane should easily cope with it unless you are unfortunate enough to pick up some with a ripply grain.In which case a sharp flat scraper and some sandpaper will deal with the tears.If in doubt stop and sharpen your tools.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2002
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    Default Re: Working with Teak

    The Grain I have looks to be quite ribbony. Yeah, like wind farm building, the place that makes it good for a wind farm makes it hard to use a crane to install them. It's not 4 rings per inch. but I could wish it a bit tighter of course. ;D

    Teak endgrain.jpg

    Ribbony teak.jpg
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  7. #7
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    Feb 2002
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    Default Re: Working with Teak





    Goldilocks anyone? Too small, too big..... Anyway, that's a few bits of it. End grain and ribbony stuff.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Shubenacadie NS
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    Default Re: Working with Teak

    Sorry the second one is upside down. not sure what happened there but you can see some of the ribbony stuff in that one.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

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