What finish for bleached teak?


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13 Sep 2020
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The Woods
I'm going to bleach a solid teak desk for a contemporary study and am looking for product suggestions please.

Planning on using Fiddes A + B bleach becuase it's the same price for double the volume of Rustins. Anyone had good or bad experience of the Fiddes product?

As for finishes, I've been happy with Osmo in the past, but am unsure which to use in this case.

The Osmo website recommends Wood Wax Finish Extra Thin 1101 for teak because it's oil rich. But does this still apply to bleached teak?
Another option is Poly-X Oil Raw 3044 which has just enough white to exactly counter the yellowing effect of oil.
Or Wood Wax Finish 3111 white.

The internet has varying approches - with some suggesting that if wood wax extra thin is used, then poly-x should be used as a top coat. But I haven't seen that recommended on the Osmo site.

Any advice much appreciated.

*Update - I've just read this post where @custard warns not to neutralise with vinegar if using water-based acrylic or poly finishes. Do the Osmo products above fall into this category? And if not, should I be looking at a different type of product?
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Just something to think about, but I was looking into finishes for my ipe deck and honestly never got a good answer... every person I spoke with had some different approach. What they all did have in common though was saying that for any finish to really stick to ipe, teak, etc was to be sure to wipe the wood down with acetone right before applying the finish to remove any excess surface oils and to help it actually penetrate (to whatever degree it can)...

Interested to see the feedback on this as well....
OK. I've got some input from very helpful Osmo support too:

In short (for oil rich woods such as teak):
  • 1 coat of Wood wax extra thin + 1 coat of polyx original can produce a really durable finish BUT it's experimental. YMMV.
  • Pigmented oil like RAW 3044 or 3111 cannot be used in combination with extra thin.
  • These finishes are all oil based, so bleach should be neutralised with acetic acid first.
From Osmo
For hardwoods like Teak we would recommend the 1101 Wood Wax Finish Extra Thin. Wood Wax Finish Extra Thin - Osmo UK This is a clear satin product and is designed to enhance the grain and fire up the natural colours that darker hardwoods offer.

We would recommend a finishing to a 100 - 120 Grit. A wipe down with methylated spirit is always beneficial to really open up the pores of the surface and remove any dirt or grease.

With the 1101 Extra thin, it is applied in a slightly different way to our Polyx Oils

For Wood Wax Finish 1101, it’s applied with 2 x separate brush coats however, with each coat, you keep the wood wetted with the product for 30 minutes to feed the surface then wipe excess away with a lint free cloth. The surface should not appear saturated or very wet after wiping. Always work in small controllable areas at a time and provide plenty of ventilation for drying.

Once the second coat is fully dry, try putting a few droplets of water on the surface - it should bead and repel this. If not the surface may need topping up a little more using the same technique.

Sometimes, If you can get the right balance of Extra Thin and Polyx-Oil then this will give a great hardwearing finish to a hardwood finish. There are risks involved with this in having too much of the Polyx-Oil on the surface or oil not being able to penetrate if the Extra Thin has not completely filled the grain.

The tell-tale signs are delayed drying times or a surface that can be scratched easily. If you have not got any of these problems then the finish is sitting correctly and should be ok. We would do a water test on the surface and flick a couple of drops on to the surface, if the drops give a lovely bead then there should be enough protection on the surface, if not and the water pools we would recommend apply a thin coat of the Poly-Oil applied with a lint free cloth.

And osmo's answers to some follow up questions:
1)Just to check : 1 coat wood wax then 1 coat Polyx with brush, water test, then possibly 1 extra Polyx applied with cloth?

Generally it is 2 coats of the Wood Wax Finish Extra Thin to be applied to dense timbers like teak. Using the Polyx-Oil is more experimental and may sometimes work to give more protection. If this method is used and is successful then this would be one coat of Wood Wax Finish and one coat of the Polyx-Oil Original Polyx-Oil Original - Osmo UK

2) does the wood wax extra thin recommendation still apply to teak that is bleached?

The oils can still be applied to bleached wood, but as the Wood Wax Finish Extra Thin is a clear product this will give a wetted look to the wood possibly colour intensifying the surface.

3) As the teak will be bleached, I want to avoid putting a yellow tinge back in with the oils. In that case would you recommend 3044 (raw) for the Polyx layer?

The RAW product contains a white pigment that relies on absorption into the grain and this could struggle with the tight grain of the Teak, so carrying out a trial would be highly recommended. You would not use the Wood Wax Finish Extra Thin in conjunction with any of the coloured or pigmented products.

4) is wood wax finish 3111 applicable here?

Again, this is another pigmented product (this time higher level of pigment) so a trial would have to be carried out. Aldo not to be used with the Wood Wax Finish Extra Thin.
Just something to think about, but I was looking into finishes for my ipe deck and honestly never got a good answer... every person I spoke with had some different approach.
Did anybody say just leave the damn thing alone and let it weather and look after itself?
Did anybody say just leave the damn thing alone and let it weather and look after itself?
Umm, yea. That's what I ended up doing in the absence of a good answer and now have a deck with about 40% cupped or checked boards. We have this thing called the sun here in California and the deck hadn't been properly maintained before I purchased the property. Ipe, teak and similar woods do need to be mainatined. Just ask a boat owner.

I was looking for something to protect it, not turn it purple or something.

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