Varnish. AAAGH! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 30 Old 08-29-2012 Thread Starter
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Varnish. AAAGH!

Before we found this boat we had a big list of likes and dislikes. I absolutely said NO PILOTHOUSE and NOTHING WITH LOTS OF WOOD. Well, we found this boat at about 1/3rd to 1/5th of market value and guess what? It's a pilothouse with 2 1/2 acres of wood to care for.
Varnish, sanded & oiled, Cetol, or bare wood?
Dock Lord swears that Cetol is absolutely the only way to go and he will fight to the death to defend it. He's the Holy Roller of the marina.
The Marina Expert will go on and on about how "REAL CRUISERS" only sand their teak and leave it bare. He should lead a teak care Sunday School to indoctrinate them when they're young.
Greybeard Dock Emperor #3 insists that if you leave it bare or even just oiled your teak will split and crack and probably spontaneously fly right off of the boat without any warning. Fire and Brimstone Preacherman.
Bellyman is a devout clear shiny varnisharian. Any deviation will land you in purgatory or hell, no exceptions. A kind and reasonable pastoral Varnish Prophet.
The Snake Charmer. A Loving wooden boat owner who has won boat shows swears by Epifanes Clear Wood Gloss. She prosletyzes daily in a Bay Area Chandlery for your convenience.
I have meditated long and hard. I fasted. I crawled on my knees for several miles to the chandlery seeking enlightenment. I prostrated myself before the exotic wood lumberyard.
I've determined that pride in the face of Teak is my path. I will varnish. VARNISH with the shiniest, clearest, most luminescent product that I can find.


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post #2 of 30 Old 08-29-2012
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Re: Varnish. AAAGH!

Oh half way enlighten one, you have started your journey to teak Nirvana by admitting your desired to varnish. But you must first lay down a firm foundation of penetrating epoxy, two coats, no more and no less followed by 6 coats, not 5, not 4, but 6 full coats of Epifanes varnish. Only then will the path to varnish Nirvana be revealed. And gawkers and admirers shall flock to your dock to ohh and ahh over your shine. And woo be to any of them that drools on your bright work.
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post #3 of 30 Old 08-29-2012
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Re: Varnish. AAAGH!

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Originally Posted by Captainmeme View Post
Oh half way enlighten one, you have started your journey to teak Nirvana by admitting your desired to varnish. But you must first lay down a firm foundation of penetrating epoxy, two coats, no more and no less followed by 6 coats, not 5, not 4, but 6 full coats of Epifanes varnish. Only then will the path to varnish Nirvana be revealed. And gawkers and admirers shall flock to your dock to ohh and ahh over your shine. And woo be to any of them that drools on your bright work.
And when that's done, your sphinter will pucker each and every time ANYTHING sharp/pointy/abrasive gets anywhere near that beautiful teak cap rail...
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post #4 of 30 Old 08-29-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Varnish. AAAGH!

Good thing I have a strong, durable, manly sphincter!


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post #5 of 30 Old 08-29-2012
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Re: Varnish. AAAGH!

I have little teak to deal with on Catalyst but I go with Epifanes Varnish on the tiller (6-7 coats), and Cetol light on the other (limited) woodwork.
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post #6 of 30 Old 08-29-2012
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Re: Varnish. AAAGH!

two words:
foam brushes.
two more words:
foam rollers.

You can roll and tip varnish like paint, and the key to a durable brightwork finish is to apply at least 8 coats with the first few coats thnned in decreasing ratios and the thinned coats sanded with 220 grit to break the shine between coats, then you can hot coat the last few coats. call it a week, with a day to prep, with a coat a day for coats 1-4 and two coats a day for coats 4-8. I have tried epifanes, bristol finish, le tonk, and all varieties of cetol (the naugahyde of brightwork finishes) and i have had the best results with a cheap locally produced spar varnish sold through a chain of hardware stores up here.

It's 5 o'clock somewhere:


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post #7 of 30 Old 08-29-2012
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Re: Varnish. AAAGH!

Once upon a time I too had a varnish fetish. All those wasted beautiful clear PNW days wasted varnishing my life away. An old timer once stopped by one day and remarked, "you'll get over that BS once you hit the tropics". A few years later sitting in the Galapagos I watched the varnish peel off before my very eyes. After the 3000 miles to the Marquesas more and more varnish disappeared......Once In New Zealand I heat gunned off that crap with extreme prejudice. Now a local mfg outdoor house stain works wonders. I love varnish, especially if it's on somebody else's boat.

SWW914 sorry I'm not there to buy you a taco and beer and maybe hit you upside the head with that varnish brush, don't do it man! Set sail soon or you'll be a varnish slave!


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post #8 of 30 Old 08-29-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Varnish. AAAGH!

I'm using the shiny Epifanes that's designed for teak with foam brushes. I did first coat on the drop boards today as recommended by Epifanes just to see how things will look and they're beautiful.
I have a LOT of experience painting cars and this stuff is really easy compared to, say, a $20,000.00 paint job on a valuable old Porsche, for instance.


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post #9 of 30 Old 08-29-2012
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Re: Varnish. AAAGH!

A neighbor of mine, very cool older lady (in her 80's now), grew up on the Chesapeake bay, learned to sail & chew tobacco from an old waterman when she was in her teens, put it best I think, when she said "Leave it grey like God intended"
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post #10 of 30 Old 08-29-2012
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Re: Varnish. AAAGH!

You have not only drank the KoolAid, you made some more.

Do you realize that varnish was invented by the God of Torture - Hinckley? And that Epifanes was his sorcerer? You will descend into varnish hell and will be blinded by its (reflected) light.


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