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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After mucho sanding and cleaning, I spent the weekend applying first three coats of varnish on the cockpit teak. See below the before, during, and after pics. First two coats thinned 1:1 and third coat full strength. Here is the unorthodox part. I use a Minwax product call spar varnish. I love the way it did my interior teak and after a fair amount of research decided to try exterior. I went for the glossy which even after just three coats has a very deep clean look. We shall see about durability. Anyway thought I would share...
 

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Ahhh... nothing like freshly varnished teak on deck!


Until you have to do it over.... and over...... and once again, and again, again.... :p ;)

Looks nice!
 

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Spar urethane is very durable and can be built up very fast due to quick drying. For the last coat or two you may want to use a traditional varnish with better UV inhibitors or the urethane can turn very dark.

The work looks good so far.
 

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just put on a coat or 2 every season or when your bored and its fine...

its when you get lazy and complacent and leave the varnish get too thin that you have to do it all over again...

I do remeber those days though on my old h28 when all I need to maintain was a galon of varnish...a scraper...and some sand paper...could do 90 percent of the boat cosmetics this way...

no gelcoat, glass, thickeners, even paint the only paint I had was a little on the coachroof...jajajaja
 

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just a note on varnishes...I have had very very very good results in many places simply using what hardware stores call outdoor or furniture varnish...

down here its used for beach houses made of palm trees and the like and its thick, cheap and lasts very very well
 
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just a note on varnishes...I have had very very very good results in many places simply using what hardware stores call outdoor or furniture varnish...

down here its used for beach houses made of palm trees and the like and its thick, cheap and lasts very very well
That's good to know. If you're still an El Salvador, I can imagine that the sun is no joke down there through much of the year. If something lasts there, it should be pretty good everywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Going with the Minwax SV, straight off a HD shelf, I thought I was using something more designed for outdoor furniture and such. My research did not identify vry many using it for marine purposes. But some test results I read indicated it may be more durable. Time will tell. I am hoping for something that once a year I can go around with 1000 grit, acetone wipe and recoat. I would be happy to invest that much time and effort yearly to keep it nice. However the comment about urethanes darkening does leave me with concerns... hmmmm...
 

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Daniel - Norsea 27
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Preparation really is a key part of it. I used Epifanes on my handrails this past year. One still looks great and the other looks like it did before I did anything with it. The only difference in prep work was using teak cleaner / brightener on the one that's still nice looking.
 

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If you want the job to last more than one season, you need at least 3 more coats. 8 coats is ideal for multi-year protection that only needs to be touched up with a maintenace coat or two every 2-3 years.


The reason why a lot of sailors think varnnish is not durable and requires constant maintenance is they stop varnishing the bare wood when they are happy with the gloss..usually the third coat. :)

Varnish is like antibiotics- if you stop taking them when you start to feel better, instead of following the instructions, you likely end up having to take 'em again.
 

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That's good to know. If you're still an El Salvador, I can imagine that the sun is no joke down there through much of the year. If something lasts there, it should be pretty good everywhere.
yup

and a trick hey use down here to seal the wood is dirty oil, actually the more burnt the better

it a tarry mess that prevents insects and the like from eating the wood, and works wonders against termites

when brushed on the wood it smells for like a month then becomes like a golden brown black stain...you then just varnish over this or leave it as is and it will last a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT longer than leaving the wood bare

and regardig varnish...I usually go by color, thickness and ease of brushability to determine if it will last or not...

having said that I also have used some of the newer furniture type varnishes labeled as outdoor or marine use and it a very clear almmost blue type varnish that goes on very thin no nead to dilute actually.

anywhoo

trial and error when cruisng around the globe jejeje:D
 

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If you want the job to last more than one season, you need at least 3 more coats. 8 coats is ideal for multi-year protection that only needs to be touched up with a maintenace coat or two every 2-3 years.

The reason why a lot of sailors think varnnish is not durable and requires constant maintenance is they stop varnishing the bare wood when they are happy with the gloss..usually the third coat. :)

Varnish is like antibiotics- if you stop taking them when you start to feel better, instead of following the instructions, you likely end up having to take 'em again.
8 was the magic number I was told by some old wood shipwrights...

on the spars i did 3 epoxy and 5 or 6 coats varnish but they lasted untouched till the day I sold that boat 4 years or so after I did the masts...

coamings, deck fittings, and such I did once a year...and like you say I had it coming as I ran out of time before setting out doing only 3 coats on the coamings and sure enough in el salvador I had to redo them...and recoat in panama just for kicks....

peace
 

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I am hoping for something that once a year I can go around with 1000 grit, acetone wipe and recoat.
Do not use acetone. You only need to sand with 320 between coats, tack, and then apply another coat. Acetone is only for the first coat until the wood is sealed.

This is what Minwax Spar Urethane and Minwax Wipe on Poly gets you.



 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have had good luck with ssyarbeofht cleaner ahead of varnish after again mucho sanding to get below weathering...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That interior shot of the minwax is how mine came out too but no pics till new cushion covers are done. :) that might just coincide with varnish coat number 8 depending on weather and work schedule...
 

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uh is that mold not removable?

that will happen with many types of surfaces...paint, varnish, wax whatver after intense humidity...

im not understanding why thats minwaxes fauklt UNLESS it wont go away and its below the surface

ps a fan does wonders to circulate air, its helps mitigate these spores if you will from getting too intense

here in the tropics if you leae your boat unattended for a weel or so in the wet season you get this and worse...
 

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Ah! Varnish! One of my favorite topics! I do love a beautiful varnish job. I used to teach varnishing at Woodenboat magazine's school and for the State of Maine's Wooden Boat Building School. I learned a few things along the way.

First thing I learned is to leave the teak trim on my Islander un finished. Ha! I have a Marshall catboat I keep varnished. That satisfies both my love for varnished wood and my aversion to all the work varnishing requires.

When you prepare a wood surface for varnish it is important to make that surface as smooth / flat as possible before you start. You can use a neutral filler. I like to prep the wood with a scraper. It requires some technique to keep a good scraper sharp but it slices a thin (transparent) layer of wood from the surface and if done properly leaves it much smoother that bulldozing the grain with an abrasive.

First coat gets thinned 50% with xylene so it has an opportunity to penetrate the wood a little and provide a good bond. That doesn't build up much varnish so prior to the second coat it is important you don't sand it off entirely.

Sanding is as important as applying the varnish. If you sand off 50% o the couple of mils you applied during the last application you are taking 2 steps forward and 1? step back. Another consideration when sanding is the shape of the surface you are sanding. Outside corners, round molding, etc. gets sanded much more than flats just because of the shape. Pressure of sanding is distributed over a much smaller section of the surface.

How many coats? Applying varnish should be done 1 linear inch at a time (mentally). My head gets so close to the surface when I am varnishing that I make sure I am wearing a hat to keep my hair out of it. If you can imagine the wood's surface under a microscope its grain structure is a series of hills and valleys. The varnish fills the valleys. When you sand between coats you knock the varnish off the tops of the hills (high points of the grain). As you build up coats, the valleys get filled to the point where they are level with the tops of the hills. If you look at the surface after you have sanded between coats you will see "glossies". These are glossy patches, think microscope again, that are the un filled valleys. Keep applying coats and lightly sanding between coats, until you have eliminated all the "glossies". Now you can start counting the coats. You can see why it is important to start with a surface that is as flat as possible. A cut surface.

Once you have eliminated all the glossies 5 good coats of varnish will give you a beautiful finish.

Like any "paint job" as soon as it is done it starts to deteriorate. Varnish, being pigment free, is vulnerable to UV. The UV cures the varnish to the point where the cohesive forces in the molecular bonds of the varnish film start to tear the film apart. The way mud cracks when it dries. This begins at the surface and will go all the way to the substrate if it isn't "healed". If it makes it to the underlying wood, moisture penetrates these micro cracks and your varnish "dies". If you live in a southern climate with high UV it might require a light top coat mid season to fill these cracks. A properly maintained varnish surface will last for years. You need a paid crew to keep it looking Bristol. Horizontal surfaces are more vulnerable than vertical ones. Paint your horizontal wood surfaces and only varnish the vertical ones. You still have beautiful varnish.

Counting the number of coats you apply doesn't mean anything if that is all you are paying attention to.

This year I am removing and redoing the varnish on my catboat. A heat gun and a scraper. The boats trim is oak not teak. When I replaced the rub rails 20 years ago, I neglected to seal the back of the wood properly. I will take off the rails. I did cove them on their back side when I built them. I will fill the cove with Dolphinite and re attach them. This lazy oversight has created a situation that allows moisture to enter the back of this wood and "kill the varnish". 5 coats done this way will be "plastic smooth". I use Captains 1015.

My teak will get cleaned and left to weather.

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