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e-27 sailor 02-06-2004 05:09 PM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
Let''s face it. There''s nothing more beautiful on a boat than yards of glistening bright work, (as long as it''s on someone else''s boat!) The old J Boats are something to behold, but require a full-time paid crew to maintain.

So I want to get this right, the first time. After 20+ years on no maintenance, the exterior teak on my Express 27 is all coming off, and being replaced with new teak.

I''m willing is spend as much time as required, but after I bolted it all back on, I don''t want to have to think about it, except for annual (once-a-year) maintenance. I''m looking for that high gloss, ''8 coats of varnish'' look, but something a lot more durable.

I''ve heard good reviews on both CETOL and HONEY TEAK, and in another posting, someone even recommended a couple coats of varnish over these products.

Any thoughts?

Bill Park/
San Diego

joub 02-06-2004 07:06 PM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
Another option that will give you that "8 coats of varnish" look and only require annual refinishing IS varnish. I keep all my brightwork covered with sunbrella except when using the boat. My regular Schooner varnish looks great and needs only a touch-up coat (or two) once a year in our Southern California sun.
The boat is used once a week about 9 months a year.


e-27 sailor 02-06-2004 09:17 PM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
Thanks Jim. I have a can of EPIFANES Hi Gloss sitting on my work bench ready to go. Just want to make sure these other two products arn''t better/more durable.

camaraderie 02-09-2004 08:39 AM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
Well Cetol has it''s own look and feel but is clearly distinguishable from varnish so even though I love it (2 coats of regular and 1 coat of gloss) you probably won''t like it. The one product which you should consider other than real varnish is the 2 part Bristol Finish system which is much more durable and looks just as good but is more hassle to apply the first time.
Have fun!

newuser 02-10-2004 03:17 AM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
I Have heard of using thinned epoxy painted on and then polyurathane for depth will it work?

AJS 02-10-2004 05:51 AM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
Varnish over Epoxy in the ONLY way to go if you want to keep maintenance to a minimum. Varnish looks great but water will eventually get underneath and begin to stain the wood and lift the varnish. I''m sure most of us have seen examples of boats with mostly beautiful shiny wood that is marred by water stains under the finish.
Epoxy looks great too and it seals out moisture very well, but it won''t stand up to the sun.
The solution is to apply 2 or 3 coats of epoxy (not thinned - there is no need) and then apply varnish over that. The result is a deep rich look that looks like many coats of varnish. When the varnish begins to degrade you do a light sanding and another coat of varnish. As long as the waterproof seal is maintained this system will both look great and require the least maintenance. If you don''t want the full shine you can use satin varnish.
I''ve been very pleased with West System and Epiphanes. After having tried other approaches that didn''t last this has been very satisfying for me.
There is much more information on varnish over epoxy at
If you are going through all the trouble to replace you brightwork you''d be crazy not to use this method.
I believe Hinckley Yachts uses this method as well.
Good Luck

genethompson 02-10-2004 06:41 AM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
The search for the holy grail of wood finishes seems to never stop. I used to swear by a product called SunShield when I owned a wooden boat, they don''t make it any more. It had it''s own problems but worked great for me. I''ve used cetol, epoxy, poly and a few others that I can''t remember now. Epoxy works great until it fails. It will fail at the edges and where it gets chipped. Then it''s a pain. Cetol looks crapy until it fails. It''s an option for a wooden boat however.

There are some of the new-age finishes are very fussy. Don''t apply in certain humidity or it will blister. Don''t apply in the direct sunshine. How does that work??????? Nothing is worse than having to strip a complete finish job and redo it.

I find it boils down to one thing. How easy and forgiving is it to apply. I now use captains varnish. Two coats once a year. As an example of the forgiving nature of varnish, I had just completed the finish coat and it started to rain. I left the boat thinking I would have to sand it all off the next day and redo it. What a supprise to find it looked perfect the next day.

I have never found anything that you can ignore. If you use the boat you will nick the woodwork or wear it off from a line rubbing against it. Then it need refinishing.

Have fun.

RichH 02-10-2004 07:05 AM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
mmmm... I believe that "Smith & Co. 5 year clear" base coat is an epoxy. PS did a comparison a few years ago and rated "5 yr. clear" just below Honey Teak.

Honey Teak is for TEAK only. Dont apply to Iroko or other exotics.

My Honey teak job is now about 5yrs old and with minor repars will probably make it through this seasonl. Looks almost like varnish, can be buffed, repaired, etc. ... is damn expensive but when you amortize it over the lifetime comes out quite inexpensive ... and labor saving in comnparison to all the other coating that Ive tried.
--- I ''used to be'' a varnish fanatic.

Epoxy undercoats exposed to sun: unless you add a heavy UV protectant coat (of something or other), the wood surface cells beneath the epoxy WILL degrade/oxidize and promote lifting, expecially if the wood isnt totally encapsulated to prevent moisture/ water vapor saturation.

gwp 02-11-2004 07:51 AM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
While we''re on the subject.....I just used Cetol for the first time, and what I want to know is exactly what happens when it does fail? I''ve been told that it won''t blister and peel, as traditional varnish will eventually. So.....does it start "chalking" off? Discolor? I am not looking for the "8 coat" look, just a decent shine (and seal) will do. I hope to apply a coat once per year. Thanks....Gary

genethompson 02-11-2004 08:12 AM

Cetol Vs Honey Teak
The problem with any coating is that it needs one or two coats when it still looks good to prevent a lot of extra work. This is a strange disipline. This generally involves lightly sanding off the outer layers and then adding 2 or 3 coats. One is never enough because of damage that need repair. You can spot fix the repair areas and then overcoat the entire area, but 2 coats are minimum to cover the sanding marks.

When my Cetol failed it was dramatic and required complete removal. Weather prevented me from doing it just in time to prevent failure. It flaked off and the wood turned black under it. Not just in spots, but everywhere.


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