Teak oil finish - How many coats?

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Forum topic by Keen1 posted 08-13-2010 04:04 PM 36918 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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103 posts in 3840 days

08-13-2010 04:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: teak oil

I am finishing a swing seat of goncola alves for a friend. I initially thought the swing was going to be outside so I choose to finish in teak oil and starting applying a few coats only to find out it’s going to be inside. I doubt I would have choosen teak oil if I knew it was going inside but I do like the finish I’m starting to see. Question I have is how many coats do I need to apply. About 70-80% of the board has a nice finish, there are a couple of spots that look to me (and I’m a novice so please keep that in mind) like they are soaking up more oil and need more applied. Since they swing may get a fair amount of use from children I was going to top coat with a few coats of wipe on poly. I’ve got 5 coats of teak oil on now and cured for over a week. Should I go ahead with the wipe on poly or should I apply more teak oil. I ask because I’ve read that you should keep applying the oil until the board simply won’t take any more. But is that only the case if you plan on using the oil alone as the finish (which I must admit I’m considering because I like the look so much – any advice on the poly topcoat would be appreciated as well). I’ve also read to apply 3-4 coats and then apply wipe on poly (or other topcoat) so I’m confused. Okay back to the spots that don’t look quite finished, they are mostly around the larger darker grains on the most figured portion of the board so maybe it has some to do with the way the light is hitting those grains as well. But it really doesn’t look quite finished from any angle.

For what it’s worth, I’ve also been finishing a scrap piece from this same board along side the seat so I can test the finish before applying to the seat. The poly did seem to bring out the grain a little more but it’s so small it’s hard to tell. (I was mainly using the test piece to keep an eye on the color. I used some brown transtint dye because my friend was clear she wanted it to be dark brown)

Sorry to ramble, just seem to be so many variables to consider and need to figure out if I’ll spend my spare time this weekend wiping oil or poly.


-- Dad to 5, Son of The One

9 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3816 days

#1 posted 08-13-2010 06:31 PM

If I were putting a finish on the swing I would start applying the wipe on poly or, if you think that it may get exposure to weather, spar urethane. Teak oil basically consists of linseed oil which imparts little, if any, surface protection to the wood. With children playing on the swing I would rather put some surface protection on, which the poly or urethane will do.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Keen1's profile


103 posts in 3840 days

#2 posted 08-13-2010 06:42 PM

I’ve already got 5 coats of the teak oil on the wood and it appears it could take some more. I guess the question boils down to: Should I continue to apply more teak oil before applying the poly or should I just proceed to the poly?

-- Dad to 5, Son of The One

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4121 days

#3 posted 08-13-2010 07:37 PM

The term “Teak Oil” is generic and different brands can vary greatly in their composition. Depending on the brand, it can contain any combination of drying oils, varnish, colorants and a lot of solvent. Teak oil looks good but isn’t designed to build a durable finish.

The term “spar urethane” is also a generic term for any exterior polyurethane varnish. Generally, it is a very cheap alternative to a good spar varnish or a high performance exterior polyurethane.

An inexpensive, but highly rated spar varnish is available from Ace Hardware stores as a house brand.

An excellent exterior polyurethane varnish is made by Zar. Note: Zar products are generally NOT available at big box home centers. The Zar product line is available at most Ace, TrueValue or Sherwin-Williams stores.

Next up in quality and expense are the premium outdoor finishes, like Sikkens Cetol.

-- 温故知新

View Keen1's profile


103 posts in 3840 days

#4 posted 08-13-2010 08:33 PM

Guess I should have stated that I used Watco Teak Oil. I have no idea what the mixture contains but I’m sure someone here. Also, this seat is going INDOORS not out, so no need for the spar products. Really just need to know if I need to keep applying more oil or simply proceed to the poly.

-- Dad to 5, Son of The One

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4121 days

#5 posted 08-14-2010 12:15 AM

Watco Teak Oil Finish is a blend of raw linseed oil and resin, diluted with about 60% petroleum solvents, including VM&P Naphtha. It makes an excellent first coat on raw wood when you want to accentuate the grain. Additional coats will cure slowly and won’t build much.

I’d use one application of Watco Teak Oil then any decent brand of a good polyurethane wiping varnish.
Apply a minimum of a bout three to five light coats of the wiping varnish. Follow instructions.

-- 温故知新

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3886 days

#6 posted 08-14-2010 03:32 AM

You will probably need to let it dry for about a week before you top coat it. It takes a while for the teak oil to dry. I just refinished my outdoor teak furniture using two coats of Watco teak oil and it took a couple of days of sitting outside in 90 degrees for it to dry.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Keen1's profile


103 posts in 3840 days

#7 posted 08-14-2010 04:52 AM

hobomonk you seem to know your oils. Just out of curiosity, what makes teak oil different than say danish oil or tung oil that is supposed to make it better for outdoor use? AND more specificially what is difference between Watco Danish oil and Watco Teak Oil?

Thanks to all for the advice and just as an FYI…the 5 coats of teak oil have cured for 9 days now here in Alabama where the highs have been over 100 for way too long.

-- Dad to 5, Son of The One

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3012 days

#8 posted 08-14-2010 06:41 AM

I would wait a few more days and feel the piece and if it still feels damp, wait longer. I put some teak oil on one of my bowls and put wipe on poly too soon and it is taking forever to dry and makes me wish I had waited longer. However the bowl looks very nice, just slow to dry.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3035 days

#9 posted 08-14-2010 06:56 AM

This is a good video on Oils it is long though. Here

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