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  #1  
Old 11-05-2011
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Best long-lasting varnish look alike for tropics

We're getting ready to finish the teak on our new-to-us 2001 Beneteau 411. Our experience is that varnish will require a light sanding and re-coating at least twice/year in the tropics whereas Cetol may last one full year under the same conditions. My question is are there other products out there that we should consider besides Cetol. We would like to get at least one year between re-coatings. As a second criteria, we wish to preserve the natural look of teak as best we can. Thanks.
Pete
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Old 11-05-2011
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Consider *Honey Teak* by Signature Finish and Honey Teak Products - Home
This is a 2part base + 2part clear system.

If done properly and if properly 'maintained' .... a yearly or every two year 'slop coat' of clear can last for over 10 years. HT is an acrylic-urethane copolymer system --- can be 'power buffed' to extreme brilliance - can make a prime varnish job 'blush with envy' if you want to spend the extra time 'hand-finishing' the finish as is done with 'prime' varnish jobs.

The secret for HT is to apply the base coat THICK, much thicker than what Signature Finish Co. recommends so that you get 'extra' UV protection of the surface wood cells; put on 3-4 full coats of base!!!!!!! All UV protective coatings will easily/rapidly fail if there isnt 'thick enough' base coating.
Since this is a catalyzed system you can put it on 'wet on wet' (just wait until the previous coat begins to 'kick'). Weather conditions needed will be the same as varnish, although the colder the weather the better the 'flow-out' --- do NOT apply if the dewpoint is dropping (relative humidity increasing and the temperature decreasing).
When ordering tell them how much surface area you will be covering ... and they will 'split' the containers and just send you what you NEED.

Sanding/prep is done with 100 grit, maintenance 'sanding' is by using a Scotch "purple" Pad which is used to 'scuff' the clear surface. I put on 3 clear coats every 3 years and lightly 'power buff' in the intervening years.
A fresh/new 'base' coating will look like 'diluted butterscotch' for a few weeks/months then will rapidly fade to look like an oil-based amber varnish job. Easily 'repairable'.

If you want 'mega-yacht' or private aircraft ultra-quality finish ... you can 'flat sand' and 'handrub' for a 'glass-like' finish (will extend the service life of the coating with less maintenance coats). Dont use on 'exotic woods', just teak. Handrubbing - wet bare hand loaded with a small amount of "Perfect-it" will generate the HEAT that will make the surface wood cells become 'glowingly and dazzling iridescent' --- a LOT of 'work'. This is what the word 'finishing' is all about; sloping on paint or varnish isnt 'finishing'.

EXPENSIVE and has a 'high learning curve' ... but when you amortize the cost over the 8-10+ years it comes out to be the most economical and least amount of 'work'.
I own a 'teakey' that is 'slathered' in brightwork. Am a reformed 'varnish-aholic'. I Have used Cetol, Bristol, ... nothing comes close to HT for 'long lasting' and looking like 'varnish'.

9 yr. old HT job with 'maintenance coat' every 2 yrs.


flat sanded with 600-1000 grit, then power-buffed with 3M knobby foam pad and 3M "Perfect-It"

Last edited by RichH; 11-05-2011 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 11-06-2011
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Old 11-07-2011
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Use any varnish you like - whatever stain if required, then;

Put 2 top coats of Wattyl Poly U 400 => 2 pack poly urethane base which is clear , rock hard, self leveling and cannot be beat.
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Old 11-07-2011
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This is the holy grail of boat maintenance. As I am getting ready to up on the hard this year, I'm looking at the wear and tear on my toe rail varnish. I'm seriously considering just stripping it all and letting it go grey. I will definitely keep Bristol finish on the cockpit table and probably the coaming. The rest, I'm starting to weaken.

Other than the effort or money required to keep it nice, the downtime is always a hassle.

What really got me thinking about this were all my neighbors that are or have already head south to the Caribbean for the winter. Most of them 40 to 55 ft Swans, Hylas, Halbergs, etc all had stripped to natural, other than a few small accent pieces.
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Old 11-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
Consider *Honey Teak* by Signature Finish and Honey Teak Products - Home
This is a 2part base + 2part clear system.
Thanks. I read the Practical Sailor report referenced on their site. Certainly seems to stand up well. The big negative, of course, is the (initial) cost.
Pete
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