Re: oil vs varnish vs epoxy
I like varnish :-).
We use more durable 2 stage stuff on the interior of some boats, but on my sailboat I keep it simple.
One type of varnish(on everything). Saves creating the usual mess of tins that boats seem to accrue.
I use a Gloss Spar-Varnish by Cloverdale paint. It might not be the most premium brand of varnish, but it's available immediately all over the place in Canada, and is still of good quality. This way if I run out, I can be assured of getting the same product again. I thin with a tiny bit of naptha, and some mineral spirits usually. Naptha(also sold as Clova Thinner #7) and mineral spirits are commonly available.
For something outside in the weather that will eventually likely fail, something that lasts well, is durable, easy to keep up and relatively easy to replace strikes the best balance. For me that's good varnish.
EDIT: Since you're in Canada, try a Cloverdale paint, make sure you tell them it is for a boat, and you need spar varnish! These days due to VOC regulations they are almost selling it like behind the counter drugs at the pharmacy. It doesn't meet VOC regs for household use.
Last edited by Jgbrown; 09-01-2013 at 09:04 PM.