Magic Dragon has a considerable amount of teak on the exterior.  Anyone who has owned a boat with teak brightwork knows that maintaining the appearance of the wood can be quite a chore.

Most of the exterior teak was the silver gray that teak turns to when exposed to the sun.  The silver appearance was marred by the green and black residue that collected on the wood during the three years in a boatyard.  

Two part chemical treatments are available that will bring old dirty teak back to looking like new in very short order and with little effort.  However the chemicals are harsh and damage the wood.  Teak has both hard and soft wood.  Using harsh chemicals and a stiff bristle brush will clean and brighten the teak in no will also remove the softer wood and leave the harder wood in high ridges. I am reluctant to use two part chemical cleaners and do so in limited circumstances.  This is one of those circumstances.


The process I chose is to bring the teak as close to new looking as possible with a two part treatment, taking care to cause as little damage as possible.  Once the teak is renewed, I apply a stain, in this case a Semco product.




Semco Teak Cleaner

There are other brands of two part teak cleaners.  I used Semco because I will be using a Semco teak stain and it seemed best to stay with the same family of products.  I bought mine from Jamestown Distributors. The quart size containers are part number 20724 and cost under $30.

Semco Teak Cleaner

Old dirty teak

This teak piece from the cockpit floor illustrates how badly the teak needed attention.


The first step is to use part 1 of the two part system to clean the teak.  Wet the teak first then, using a scotch bright pad, scour the teak.  I scrub the teak in circles or against the grain in order to minimize the damage to the wood.  The residue removed was black.

I used household rubber gloves.

Cleaned Teak

Flush the harsh chemicals away with lots of water before proceeding to the next step.  While the teak is still wet, apply part 2 using the sponge and let it set for a few minutes before flushing it away with water. 

The teak looks beautiful.  Too bad that it will not stay that way.

cleaned teak




When the cleaned teak dried, this is what it looked like.  It looked better wet.

It is now ready for staining and sealing.

Cleaned teak dried

Broken Teak

Some of the teak grating that goes in the cockpit floor was broken. I found teak strips and had them milled to almost the proper size at Anderson Lumber, 606 S 49th St. in St Petersburg. They have a wide range of woods for sale.

Broken teak grating


The grate on the left has no sealer, the two on the right have had their first coat of Semco Honeytone teak sealer.


To Be Continued

Dealing with Varnish

Nothing makes the brightwork on a boat look better than varnish......until it doesn't.  Only someone who can pay a person to maintain varnish or has lots of spare time, should even consider using varnish on brightwork.

Once varnish begins to fail, it becomes a nightmare to repair or remove.  The varnish on Magic Dragon is proof of this.