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Old 09-01-2013
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oil vs varnish vs epoxy

ok everyone, time to weigh in, which is your favorite method to finish teak products and why?
I've just finished cleaning and sanding my tiler, next up will be ??? oil, varnish or epoxy???
I know that with oil, I'll have to redo it often, with varnish it should last a good season maybe more, anyone use epoxy? what are the results???
which will give me a nice finish???
thanks
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Old 09-01-2013
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Re: oil vs varnish vs epoxy

I too would like to hear if anyone has used epoxy only or epoxy then varnish.
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Old 09-01-2013
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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.
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Re: oil vs varnish vs epoxy

Epoxy cannot be used as a finish because of it's lack of UV protection. As I understand it the primary reason for using epoxy is to fill the grain and prevent moisture from pushing the varnish off from the inside.
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Old 09-01-2013
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Re: oil vs varnish vs epoxy

For exterior wood, in addition to the brittleness caused by UV exposure, epoxy will also yellow. You could put on a top-coat of a varnish with UV inhibitor, or make covers that are on most of the time when you're away, but you're still setting yourself up for issues.
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Old 09-02-2013
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Re: oil vs varnish vs epoxy

the best is an thin coat of epoxy (solvent thinned) as a primer and sealer - providing a stable surface for a few coats of traditional spar varnish. Win-Win the epoxy stabilizes the surface, the varnish provides color gloss and uv protection.

A two part lpu with uv blockers (there are a few of these around) can optionally go over the varnish - protecting the organic varnish


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Old 09-03-2013
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Re: oil vs varnish vs epoxy

I have seen clear Awlgrip go on wood before.. Our boatyard painter has done this a couple of times. Looks great, but he mostly does varnish.
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Old 09-03-2013
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Re: oil vs varnish vs epoxy

Whatever you do, DO NOT USE "OIL", probably the worst thing you can do for exterior teak... Don't take my word for it, take Rebecca Wittmann's, varnish is the way to go for trim...

"Taking care of teak and other marine links."

I've used West epoxy to build up a level finish for the minimal bits of brightwork I have - tiller, handrails, and dorades... If you don't use a sanding sealer first, epoxy can really darken the hue of teak... Several coats of epoxy to build up to a smooth surface, then several coats of varnish with a UV inhibitor ( I've used Epifanes, with good results) The epoxy undercoat really helps prevent lifting of the varnish, seems to me, and I've yet to have any real "issues" using this method...





Of course, it also helps that all of my brightwork lives under covers about 99% of the time :-)


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Old 09-03-2013
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Re: oil vs varnish vs epoxy

Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer

I've used, and really like, smith's penetrating epoxy, coat till it won't absorb any more, then lay 5-7 coats of a good exterior varnish.
The smiths is a two part, looks like water, really soaks the wood well. Last time i used it, I could only get in in gallon drums, but ibelieve you can buy small batches now. I liked to mix up a batch in a glass mason jar. When you are coating a small area, you can save unused epoxy. I put unused portion ( tightly covered) in freezer as soon as I'm done coating. I let the wood cure overnight. In the morning, allow cold epoxy to come up to temp with lid off before using again. I'm in Texas, so I think it was about 20 minutes. I never used same epoxy for more than one overnight, so don't know how long you can get away with that technique.

Nice thing about the penetrating epoxy is that it will strengthen your tiller, I don't think I'd bother with epoxy unless it was a piece that needed to be durable, or it was showing signs of rot. In other words, I wouldn't bother epoxying healthy eyebrows.

Hope that helps.
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Re: oil vs varnish vs epoxy

Is Cetol considered a varnish? This is my choice. Easy on, easy to maintain, had that in in tropics (real tropics) for many years and I would not use anything else.
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