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  #11  
Old 01-01-2012
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Ten coats minimum. Varnish holds up to UV only if thick enough. Well applied varnish erodes from the surface down. Poorly applied or too thin varnish has it's grip broken from the wood by UV and fails.
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Old 01-01-2012
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Funny you should mention (Cetol) I just get some kid from the the youth hostel in the bosun's chair to give a couple of coats each year. Good enough for the girls I go with!
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Cool- I will thin and sand then. Do you thin it with mineral spirits or something else?
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Old 01-01-2012
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He's talking about a flimsy-bendy spar here, not 'brightwork'.

The thicker the coating schedule the more vulnerability of the varnish to cracking.
You must be sure that it is SPAR varnish and not a mix containing HARD varnish ... or it will surely crack. "Real" spar varnish is 'flexible'; an oil based SPAR varnish, not 'urethane' based (hard) varnish will have the greatest 'flexibility' to avoid 'cracking'.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hookturn View Post
Cool- I will thin and sand then. Do you thin it with mineral spirits or something else?
Normally the thinner is solvent based and there's one for each varnish. I don't know how interchangeable they are. For example, for Pettit 1015, they recommend 120 thinner.

Pettit Marine Paints - Browse Catalog

That's the quality of varnish you should be using. Not worth saving money here, btw.

I would add a couple of tips : Filter the varnish before each use. For the last coat use a brand new brush.

If this mast is for a dinghy, where will it be stored? If you can store it out of the sun or cover it, that will enormously extend the lifetime of the varnish.
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Rich- I did buy a marine spar varnish that is oil based. And as you recognized my biggest concern is using to much and having it crack. Mark- it will be stored inside. I am hopeful that I can make this varnish job last as long as possible. Thanks for all your input and Happy New Year!
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Old 01-02-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
Don't even get me started on the blasphemy of cetol.
I, for one would like to know of the blasphemy of cetol!!!!!!!!
I am about to remove the wee bit of brightwork from the boat and work on it. Lucky for me, its not spar work, but it is exterior.

So PLEASE, do tell! Enquiringing minds want to know!
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Cetol is essentially a clear, moderately pigmented (ferrous oxide) enamel that eventually cracks upon 'build up'. .... its a royal ass-pain to remove.
Many of the 'modern' coatings (Bristol, Honey Teak, Smith & Co. etc. etc. use varying % of ferrous oxide as their UV blockers but the higher the % of ferrous oxide the less transparency of the coating which 'hides' the beauty of the wood grain ... and are typically co-polymers of urethane and acrylic or an 'epoxide' hence the 'mega-gloss'. Original Cetol is similar to a 'weak' brown enamel 'paint'.

Its the UV blocking that protects against the destruction of the surface wood cells that makes the 'modern' coatings so long lasting. I use Honey Teak (very expensive) applied 'thick' and the base coat lasts upwards of 10-12 years, a quick yearly or every two year maintenance clear coat is needed .... looks 'almost' like a prime varnish job and can be 'power-buffed' (to develop the glowing iridescent 'patina' of the wood cells) and doesnt look like 'paint'.
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Old 01-02-2012
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Say Rich,

Are you sure modern Cetol is enamel-like? I would not have described it as such. My coatings have remained slightly soft over many years, and have not cracked yet (touch Teak!). And it can be removed by carefully using a heat gun, pretty well like old varnish.

You made some great points - I agree about your comments on ferrous oxide. Even though I know I am running the risk of flame wars, I think another way to put it is:

Old Cetol formulations:
Horrid nasty orange stuff which looked plain wrong and has put some people off it for life. 'nuff said.

Modern Cetol:
Pro - quick and easy to apply (e.g, bubbles not an issue, no sanding between layers). Fewer layers required. Quick and easy recoat.
Con: Does not achieve super-smooth high gloss; "Natural Teak" color acceptable, but still slightly opaque (due to ferrous oxide?)- full beauty of wood less visible.

Varnish
Pro - "warm", clear often smooth and high-gloss finish which is unmatched in showing off the true beauty of the wood ("the glowing iridescent 'patina' of the wood cells").
Con: Time-consuming and difficult to apply; many layers required, with sanding between layers; constant maintenance (touch-up) to maintain finish; frequent re-coats to maintain finish.

So in summary, well-laid varnish is simply gorgeous, but it does take work and experience. Cetol is a quick and dirty way of making your wood look shiny and protect it from UV.

Personally, I use both. The wood that gets a lot of use (and abuse) I coat with Cetol. The wood I want to look beautiful - some topside and everything below - I varnish.
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I too would rate a prime varnish job as the ultimate, especially when its 'finished' to perfection (top sprayed, hand rubbed, and then polished etc.) .... too bad that life is too short to be a slave to varnish. Unless the wood is totally sealed vs. moisture ultimately the combo of moisture migration through the wood and UV is going to kill varnish.

Ive posted this before .... a 10+ year old Honey Teak job ... Id rather be sailing.
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