Best choice for sailboat interior wood finish - SailNet Community

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Old 02-14-2010
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Best choice for sailboat interior wood finish

I have a 1981 Bristol 29.9 with a mahogany interior. After 30 years it could use a little work. Does anyone know what was used on the wood originally. I was planning to give it a light sanding and varnish. I would like to keep it light. Is there a light stain that would bring out the grain some. What other choices do I have besides varnish. The wood is in good shape but the finish is off in some spots. If varnish is the best choice witch type of varnish would be best?
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Old 02-14-2010
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I've had good luck on interior mahogany with Minwax Helmsman spar urethane. It's cheap, and you can get it at the hardware store. Easy to use, and looks great on areas that don't get exposed to much weather. My interior looks perfect after 5 years.
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Old 02-14-2010
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... watching this thread as well ... as my '67 Cal 28 has mahogany throughout ... and I've even stripped paint off of the wood in certain places ... although this is an entire inside job ... and way down on my priority list ...
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Old 02-14-2010
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If you varnish over the wood, ANY spar varnish should work. I did this to my teak interior a few yrs back. I used "Top Secret" which is a lighter varnish. Some have some yellow in them, and do not do some woods justice IMHO. Some of them that are a bit yellow, do do other woods fine. I did a quick sand down with a foam back 200-300 grit on wood that was permanent to the hull, the rest that I could remove, I brought home and sanded a bit more with a disk sander, then applied varnish in the garage, took back and installed.

I used a cloth, and did 3-5 coats. This looked better IMHO for my application than a foam or typical brush finish.

I' recalling a few Good Old boat articles from the past that bestowed good things about all varieties of varnish tho. Same with some other rags. Woodenboat does a pretty good varnish finsh article upon occasion too.

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Old 02-14-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okawbow View Post
I've had good luck on interior mahogany with Minwax Helmsman spar urethane. It's cheap, and you can get it at the hardware store. Easy to use, and looks great on areas that don't get exposed to much weather. My interior looks perfect after 5 years.
This is good stuff, holds up very well and is not picky about application. For interiors it is great though I did my hatch boards in it three years ago and they still look new.. If you want a satin finish do the first three or four coats in gloss then the last one in satin. This will give a beautiful finish that is not cloudy from too many coats of satin..

I also like Varathane oil based polyurethane, very, very durable and a great interior finish. Most builders these days are using water based polyurethanes. For brushing though, the water based stuff tends to kick off too quickly to self level well, at least in my experience..

If it was an oiled finish then some Weiman's Lemon Oil (LINK)will do wonders. This is fast and easy if you had an oiled finish. All Lemon oils are not equal some have silicone. Weiman's does not have any silicone..
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Old 02-15-2010
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I'm 80% done with revarnishing our interior. I'm using Epifanes Rubbed Effect which was recommended on a number of threads, cut with Epifanes thinner to about 80%, applied with a foam brush.

I don't have any experience with other varnishes but this looks great.
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We used the Minwax Satin finish which proved very pleasing.

FWIW...
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Old 02-18-2010
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Thanks for the replies. I think I will try the Minwax Helmsman spar urethane. Has anyone else tried using a coat of satin on top of 3 coats of gloss?
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Old 02-18-2010
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Not on a boat, but that is the old-fashioned recommended process for satin varnishes... gloss underneath, satin on top. Reason being that traditional satins were achieved with the addition of flatting agent, which weakened the film slightly. Gloss underneath provided a stronger coating.
I'm not certain that's really required for "modern" urethane varnishes, but it can't hurt.
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Old 06-28-2010
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I have started my interior (Cal 27 - lots of wood)and have been using exterior Petite varnish .. very high gloss. I'm worrying that this will look a little to slick? How do you feel about high gloss interiors? Glad to know that I can coat all with satin if it's awful..
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