Oxidation Of Teak

Oxidation Of Teak

"Exposure to the elements generally causes teak to "silver" as Ian suggests. I expect that's a combination of sun, salt and sea and oxygen in action. It is hard to separate out the effects of the elements, but in my experience, raw exposed teak goes gray, not dark. Under good UV protective varnish teak will keep it's color a long, long time, but it tends to lighten under varnish, not darken, with exposure to the sun.

The best way to finish teak if you want to lock in the color is to either start the finishing process immediately when you are done tooling and the raw wood still has it's brownish/reddish natural color, or, if you don't finish it immediately, to bleach with a mild oxalic acid solution if the wood has started to lose it's color. Teak left in the weather will go silver as Ian says. Varnishing silver teak without first treating it to bleach is a very bad idea, as the wood will then go black. Unvarnished and left to silver is usually preferred for decks, but can be less attractive for house and furnishings. Left to itself over a very long time, Teak will get rough to the touch just as any other weathered wood does, so it's your choice how you wish to deal with it long term. I prefer to varnish my teak, as many do but I don't have laid teak decks, which I would leave bare should I ever have them.

A good spar varnish with a proper load of UV inhibitors will allow teak to retain a beautiful honeyed color for a long time. Teak holds varnish well despite the occasional words to the contrary you may hear."

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