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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > varnish alternatives
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-27-2008 05:13 PM
Tahani I used to build wood/epoxy boats for a living, and I've used epoxies for building and repairs now since 1976. Epoxy is wonderful stuff and will seal wood really well. Makes a great base for varnishes and the clear coat for cars is really tough stuff. It's a two part and isn't cheap by the way.

BUT-

You MUST be certain you can maintain the finish. IF you let it get bad, and let the sun get to the epoxy so IT has to come off, you are letting yourself in for a major job. And that's the real beauty of spar varnishes- they can be touched up. The clear coats ( and polyurethanes) don't lend themselves as well to touch ups.

SO yeah- great idea provided you stay on top of the topcoats and don't let them go. Means touching up nicks and dings as soon as you see them, which of course you should do anyway so sun and moisture doesn't get under them. If you can't see yourself doing that, then don't put the epoxy on there.
10-27-2008 02:59 PM
westerly33 What about a method shown on MAS Epoxy web site?
I tried it this spring and it looks promising. They use two coats of MAS epoxy and UV protection on top of it. They use automotive clear coat for big jobs. It is simple and result is beautiful. Well, southern Ontario is not southern Texas.
10-27-2008 11:21 AM
Tahani I just register and saw this post. Boat name, thus user name is not correct and is being fixed. But-

I'm a retired wooden boat builder and we still do boat work, including varnishing etc on boats for customers.

We used Bristol finish on our mast also. We are in south Texas and our sun is brutal. We had been using Z-spar 2015 and it held up better than anything else we tried, but not on the mast.

The Bristol has been on the mast now for just over a year and is still flawless. My wife was working in a bosun's chair up the mast last week and looked it over- looks as good as when we put it on. We are hopeful now that we can get two years from it before having to add a coat.

On the toe rails, we tried varnish, etc, but as was said by someone else, unless you do the bottom also, water WILL get under there and lift the edges- Doesn't matter what you use- that's a weakness.

My wife (Laura) does our brightwork and she finally gave up on the toe rails, wooded them and keeps them oiled. She's switching every thing else to Bristol now.
10-27-2008 10:52 AM
BillBrush With regards to installing rails and getting a good seal, I thought I would throw out a tip that I got from a yacht restorer who also does design.

Quote:
We call this "bedding". The way I do it to make a really neat job of it, is to lightly trace the outline of the part where it's going to live on the boat. Remove the part then tape around the line, leaving about a 1/16" gap outside of this line. Use some denatured alcohol to remove the pencil line then apply a bead of your goo of choice. Place the part and lightly tighten it down (just enough to make the goo ooze out around the edges of the part, no more). Wipe up the ooze out and leave it alone for a few days, until the goo cures. Now remove the tape (if you haven't already) and tighten down the part good. This smashes the part into the cured "gasket" of now cured goo and makes a very good seal. The tape around the part thing, leaves a very neat and professional looking edge. This line can be used to paint against too. If you tighten down the part, before the goo cures, it can easily get squeezed out of the joint and leave you with a paper thin smear of goo, which doesn't realy seal much.
The above quote brought to you by Paul Riccelli - Riccelli Restorations - Eustis FL (I am not in any way affiliated with Paul, other than he has very patiently explained a lot of boat building technique to this newbie)

Bill
10-27-2008 10:18 AM
tabakor0ad Consider "Honey Teak" by Signature (only available on-line). I've used it on my teak for years and when applied correctly, it wears like iron and looks terrific. Tremendous UV protection. The inventor (Tom Fabula) is available by phone to help you as you go about the refinishing process. Follow the directions provided CAREFULLY and you'll be pleased with the result.
10-27-2008 02:50 AM
mygoggie Just my 2 pence from this side of the planet. We do not have the products found in the US, so I cannot really comment, but this is the way we do it:
1. Sand the wood down to real smooth finish
2. Apply 7 coats of penetrating marine varnish (thinned for the first 3 coats)
3. Apply 2 coats clear polyester resin (epoxy) by SPRAYING this on.
4. Apply 3 coats of two pack automotive clear coat by spraying it on.

The clear coat protects the resin from UV and the resin gives shock stress protection from bumps etc to the varnish.

We have no ozone layer here so the UV zaps the wood quite badly and this system works!
10-21-2008 05:42 AM
KeelHaulin Jay-

I have seen boats that have used polyurethane over the teak and the results are not very good in the long term. The polyurethanes tend to become cloudy over a long period of sun exposure; and re-coating with topcoats also results in heavy build up of finish that is cloudy because polyurethanes are not as clear as varnishes to begin with.

I have seen excellent results with Epifanes; but it is high maintenance as a low uv-resistant finish. The new Epifanes with UV blocking may be a better choice; but I have not used it and therefore can't compare it to a product like Cetol. All standard varnishes are higher maintenance than Cetol; you will only get appx 6-12 months of protection out of them before you need to scuff sand and re-coat to prevent UV degradation. If you don't re-coat on this schedule the sun will damage the finish and everything will need to be stripped off and re-finished.

I would not use Awlgrip over an existing varnish. Awlgrip and DuPont Imron (and possibly others) contains a cyanide based catalyst which is extremely harmful if inhaled. If inhaled while being sprayed it can be deadly. If you hand paint it on I would use a respirator that can trap cyanide vapors. In industrial application the people who spray this type of paint use a positive pressure type respirator to prevent any inhalation of the paint fumes.

Varnishes are safe to use; if you don't like the smell of the paint fumes you can use a respirator. If you are applying it to the interior you probably will want a respirator so you are not breathing too much of it. For exterior finish it's probably OK not to use one.

If you go with a varnish you might want to consider making sunbrella covers (or having them made by a canvas shop).
10-19-2008 10:28 AM
jaydooreck
What Varnish or Urethane to use

I live i Santa Barbara and have some questions on varnishing
1-Is Awlgrip 2 part Urenthane good to use over varnish?
2-What Varnishes are best Epifane,Zspar 2015 or Bristol
3- Are there dangers ininhailing varnishes or urethanes especially.
4-Should you wear a respiratory mask as 3M in doing varnishing or urethane??

Jay Dooreck
jdooreck@aol.com
10-19-2008 10:22 AM
jaydooreck
Quote:
Originally Posted by NALANI13 View Post
john,
we have the same issues here in Florida. We have tried the Epiphanes and since it deteriorated so quickly i think i am going to try the bristol finish. boy has it been hot lately hasn't it?

that is a great idea! we can get part way under our toe rail to varnish but that would be a great way to finish it.

thanks,

wendy
How did the Bristol work out.
I was thinking of using epifane?????
10-19-2008 10:19 AM
jaydooreck
Quote:
Originally Posted by NALANI13 View Post
has anyone ever used a product called 'Bristal Finish'? it is billed as an alternative to varnish and that it has better UV protection than varnish. We are refinishing our teak cap rail and i am looking at the various options. A friend of ours had theirs refinished using Epiphanes using 7 coats here in Florida. After a 3 month trip to the Bahamas he came back with the finish deteriorated in a number of places. I know that typically varnish has to be reapplied every 6 months or so here in the tropics - but three months seems ridiculous.
I WONDER IF YOU GIVE ME SOME ADVICE. I want to varnish or use algrip urethane 2 part system on my teak. Which is better.
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