Wood Sink Finish

A finisher seeks ways to protect a Teak sink. December 14, 2009

I am working on an interesting project - a solid teak farm sink. What would you recommend as a suitable finish? Although this sink is to be installed in a rarely used secondary kitchen, the client understands that she will be making a commitment to a maintenance schedule. Keeping in mind that the finish needs to be somewhat homeowner friendly (I don't see her breaking out her compressor and catalyzing some 2K), what do you think could provide a viable solution? I am leaning towards some sort of diluted epoxy for the initial coating, with possibly a teak oil for maintenance?

There is a company called William Garvey in the UK that builds teak sinks, so I have to believe this is doable. All ideas welcome.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
William Garvey may produce these sinks, but are they really keeping the finish schedule "customer friendly"? I doubt it. And will a diluted epoxy finish, whatever that is, allow a teak oil to penetrate and cure properly? Hmm. Why not contact the company and ask? This would be my first step.

From contributor G:
Here is a quote from the Garvey website. It sounds as though they are using a product like Kwik Poly.

"All our bathroom products are made of Teak and polished with Timbertect plus. This is a resin which sinks into the timber and fuses with it, forming an exceptionally tough layer which will not absorb stains and which is straightforward to clean with standard non abrasive bathroom and kitchen cleaners such as Mr Muscle.

Note that this polish is nothing like a standard varnish which sits on the surface of the timber in a glass hard layer, vulnerable to cracking, peeling & discolouration. The appearance of teak polished with Timbertect plus is that of oiled timber - a light eggshell gloss with nothing sitting on the surface of the timber, but infinitely more robust.

We have tested this finish with everything that the modern bathroom and kitchen can throw at it. Its toughness and resilience is astonishing. And, a note for people living in areas with hard water, we have been told that lime scale cleans more easily off teak polished in this way than it does off ceramic."

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the lead. It does appear that the Kwik Poly has similar properties to those described on the Garvey website. The Timbertect Plus that they reference is made by a company called Conservation Chemicals in the UK. Web searches for them turned up empty. I just left a voicemail with Kwik Poly, and will discuss my options with them.

From the original questioner:
I got a return call from the guy at Kwik Poly. He does not think his product will work. He says the oils in the teak typically cause a release of the coating. Back to the drawing board. I will try to contact a chemist at West Systems in the morning, and see if they have a recommendation.

My initial assumption was that whatever finish I could devise would need to be periodically reapplied/maintained. Obviously, the less maintenance, the better. I would think that any type of film coating would become problematic in the future if/when the film is compromised.

That was my thought with finding an oil type product that could absorb into the wood. I've never been the "that can't be done" type - so I'll keep up the search. If you can build a boat out of wood, why the heck can't you build a sink out of wood?

From contributor G:
Don't give up on the Kwik Poly. It's possible the person who answered your query doesn't know everything. This is from a very experienced person who used to post here:

"Around the 1920's, chemists found that if they treated the oily woods such as Brazilian rosewood, teak, ipe, and others with a weak solution of phosphoric acid, it would coagulate this matter immediately on the uppermost surface of the wood. The methanol, wood alcohol would immediately reduce it to an insoluble state, not being able to interfere with coatings applied over it."

Finishing Ipe Locker Room Benches

From contributor S:
You can also look into the possibility of an impregnation treatment with PEG (Polyethylene Glycol).

All my files of past treatments are on a hard drive in storage at the moment so I can't give you all the specifics, but we use it in conservation of degraded wood to consolidate, especially when the cell walls are friable from insect infestation. It is most often the material of choice for treatment of salvaged ships. It is used to impregnate/fill the cell walls and is most effective when beginning the treatment to use one of the lower molecular weights (400-600 mw) at a low percentage ratio polymer to solvent of choice and then after deep saturation switching to one of the higher mw (1500-4000mw) and increasing the percent ratio also.

I have not used it to treat new wood but others have and there is some literature on it out there. It can take a long time to treat friable artifacts, but with new wood it should be able to impregnate fairly quickly. I also wonder if it could be placed under vacuum to speed it up since you don't have to worry about cell wall collapse in new wood.

From contributor S:
I sent an email this morning to Conservation Chemicals, UK, asking for product and purchase info on Timbertect Interior (new name) and received a reply.

My limited research into this product reveals that it is an epoxy resin sealant, and it appears to have great reviews for the purpose of wood (teak) sinks, etc. They offered a small sample.