SailNet Community banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
325 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I Have recently purchased a boat and have been asking a lot of questions lately, so I've got another one. I tried searching the threads using key words like teak, varnish and etc. There's a lot of valuable in depth info out there but lets get back to the basics. I used teak oil on my old boat and that never seemed to last. The wood on my new boat is varnished and I will probably go that route again. I'm just looking for the basic tips and tricks to get a good varnish job and have it last for more than a season. I'm also open to other products and ideas. Also can I just purchase the varnish at the local hardware store or is there a special uv/ marine grade varnish I need to get? I'm not a wood worker and just want to do it right the first time. Thanks
 

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
is the varnish still good? if so you can top coat with many products...

if there are dry spots or wood exposed and flaking varnish you have a few options...spot touch up and try to match color or take it all down to bare wood, seal, epoxy if you want and varnish after

now for coamings and the like I just used vanish, yes even hardware store stuff...usually outdoor furniture or exterior varnish was up to the task...down here they sell some marine varnish thats equal to the very extensive stuff up north, but at hardware prices

anyways for my old masts and hand rails on the coachroof I went epoxy...a few coats of that followed by 6 or so of varnish

again its the coats that matters more than the actual "quality" of the varnish

having said that there are very very very good varnishes out there...

epifanes is one of those
 

·
Bombay Explorer 44
Joined
·
3,619 Posts
Epifanes is good and worth the premium you pay.

BTW I am Scottish so careful with the bawbees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,184 Posts
Epifanes and Pettit are the two best-regarded brands, and their lifetime was about the same in a recent test by Practical Sailor.

I usually use the Pettit 2015, just personal preference.

Don't put epoxy on, when that stuff ages you'll have a nightmare on your hands.

The best way to keep the workload down is not to let the varnish get into a bad state in the first place.

What I do is a maintenance coat or two, every year. Sand lightly and then apply two coats, either a day apart or one in the morning, one in the afternoon.

Of course covers really help in extending the lifetime.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,067 Posts
Since you already use oil, have you considered a 'resinated oil' finish? These are oils with approx. 25-30% oil based varnish added ... applied thickly with many coats and NOT wiped off. After fully cured/dried they can be flat-sanded and hand rubbed (with 'rotten stone' or very fine grit polishing compounds) to produce a gloss that can exceed prime varnish.
Their downside as with all oil finishes is they darken quickly.
The upside as with all oil finishes is that they can easily be stripped off with a 'strong' solution of triSodiumPhosphate - TSP.
A good 'resinated' oil is "NuTeak by MaryKate" ... or you can 'make' your own mix.

At the extreme other end of the boat finish spectrum are the extremely long lasting and quite costly 2-part base coatings (with nano-particle UV protection, suitable for even 'the tropics') + 2 part 'clear' top coats which if maintained (fixing dings, an occasional reapplication of clear top coat, etc.) can last upwards of 12 years or more. These are 2-part urethane-acrylic co-polymer coatings such as used on mega-expensive automobiles. Such base coatings have to be applied 'thick' and do have a 'high learning' curve.
An example: "honey teak" by Signature Finish and Honey Teak Products - Home
 

·
Senior Moment Member
Joined
·
13,288 Posts
Good varnish, properly applied with a good brush to about 10 - 12 coats and then at least one coat a year forever after.

Do that and you'll always have a "yacht".

Too much work for most people which is why most boats with teak look scruffy and new boats don't have any on deck.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MarkSF

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,457 Posts
A few tips.

Varnish is beautiful but a bear to keep up with. We removed most of ours and let the teak grey. We have a few accent pieces that are real varnish (Epifanes) in the cockpit: the table, coaming and some small trim pieces. That's enough for both looks and effort for me.

Nothing nicer than real varnish, but it's very time consuming to apply. Each coat requires 24 hrs to dry and you need up to 10 coats. The next best product, IMO, is Bristol Finish, which is a two part product that dries in one hour and only requires 4 - 6 coats.

Many of these are not cross compatible, so if you're not stripping down to bear wood and starting over, you'll have to know what is on their now. A rule of thumb is, you can apply one part products on top of two part, but not the other way around. The curing solvents in two part products will lift the one part. Truth is, none of them like to mix well.

All these products need a bit of maintenance to stay on top of. Let a blister get under any and it isn't fun. Water and UV are real enemies and it turns out boats get a lot of both. That's partly why we keep varnish contained to items under the bimini now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,111 Posts
Rebecca Wittmann's book BRIGHTWORK will tell you everything you need to know, it's a good investment, or certainly at least worth browsing...

Best thing you can do with teak in my opinion, is to let it go silver... And if you do varnish anything, make covers for it, it will save you a lot of work in the end...

And, please don't varnish anything that anyone might ever step on or put their foot on, one of the dumbest things you can do to a boat...:)

This, and my tiller, is pretty much the extent of the brightwork on my boat... And, yes, it lives under cover about 99.9% of the time... :)





Exterior brightwork should be reserved for those who can afford to pay others to maintain it, it's got to be right at the top of the list of time wasted on boats that could otherwise be spent sailing...


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,184 Posts
A couple of thoughts :

It's true that teak lasts a long time without varnishing. Decades even.... about 3 to be precise. There are a couple of boats near to me, of the same vintage as mine, with silver brightwork. The wood is just about done - cracking, splitting, shrunken so that things like the hatch boards have huge gaps between them.

Mine, which has always been varnished, looks like new.

I have never had to choose between sailing and varnishing. It takes about 3-4 days a year to put a maintenance coat on the boat, and I take a week off work every spring to do that and any other jobs that need doing.

This is an investment now for a return in the future.
 

·
Senior Moment Member
Joined
·
13,288 Posts
A couple of thoughts :

It's true that teak lasts a long time without varnishing. Decades even.... about 3 to be precise. There are a couple of boats near to me, of the same vintage as mine, with silver brightwork. The wood is just about done - cracking, splitting, shrunken so that things like the hatch boards have huge gaps between them.

Mine, which has always been varnished, looks like new.

I have never had to choose between sailing and varnishing. It takes about 3-4 days a year to put a maintenance coat on the boat, and I take a week off work every spring to do that and any other jobs that need doing.

This is an investment now for a return in the future.
Pics or it didn't happen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,457 Posts
....Exterior brightwork should be reserved for those who can afford to pay others to maintain it, it's got to be right at the top of the list of time wasted on boats that could otherwise be spent sailing...
About 2 years ago, I had my toe rail and rub rail stripped along with some other pieces. I only left the cockpit accents described above in brightwork. I wasn't sure I would be happy with the look, but I LOVE IT!! I'm certain I'm overwhelmed by the lack of work and the lack of concern over what is chafing on it, under someone's foot or beginning to crack/blister. The time recovery is very noticeable, let alone the stress reduction.

One does need to wash bare teak, but salt water does the job.
 
  • Like
Reactions: christian.hess

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
ah the pleasures of washing the decks

remember folks you wash AGAINST THE GRAIN or else you will cause cracks especially with hard sun to appears more rapidly

washing the decks on my old teak boat was a pleasure...plus it cooled down the decks a lot as they got HOT in the tropics down here...

as all things to each their own really...

regarding varnish again on stuff that gets line chafe I prefer grey teak naturally maintained(that means sanding everu so often) and a strip of stainless to protect

usually thats up in the bow near the anchor, areas around the stern rails and wherever you step on and off a lot...oh and near the main winch areas...

peace
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
965 Posts
A couple of thoughts :

It's true that teak lasts a long time without varnishing. Decades even.... about 3 to be precise. There are a couple of boats near to me, of the same vintage as mine, with silver brightwork. The wood is just about done - cracking, splitting, shrunken so that things like the hatch boards have huge gaps between them.

Mine, which has always been varnished, looks like new.

I have never had to choose between sailing and varnishing. It takes about 3-4 days a year to put a maintenance coat on the boat, and I take a week off work every spring to do that and any other jobs that need doing.

This is an investment now for a return in the future.
I've never lost any sailing time due to varnishing either. But you need to know how to do it. A good test for that; If varnish makes you angry, you don't know how to use. :)

Any wood that lives outside and isn't coated, is sacrificial. How long it will last depends of the type and the exposure. But it's demise is certain. Not a big deal for some pieces(hatch boards), very expensive for some(coamings).

Putting a coating on wood with a brush is one of life's great pleasures, for some. And you're right on it being an investment. Nearly all of the brightwork on my boat(and it's all bright above deck) is 53 years old, and looks like new.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
965 Posts
I Have recently purchased a boat and have been asking a lot of questions lately, so I've got another one. I tried searching the threads using key words like teak, varnish and etc. There's a lot of valuable in depth info out there but lets get back to the basics. I used teak oil on my old boat and that never seemed to last. The wood on my new boat is varnished and I will probably go that route again. I'm just looking for the basic tips and tricks to get a good varnish job and have it last for more than a season. I'm also open to other products and ideas. Also can I just purchase the varnish at the local hardware store or is there a special uv/ marine grade varnish I need to get? I'm not a wood worker and just want to do it right the first time. Thanks
If the varnish is sound, just lightly sand and add a couple coats. Depending on how well it was originally applied(sufficient coats), you may get a few or several seasons out of the existing coat.

You can use your local hardware store spar varnish(I do). Some more expensive spar varnishes have more UV than others, but the difference isn't huge. It's the number of coats you originally get on, and how well you've kept up a maintenance coating(s). Here in Maine, 1 maintenance coat is enough but in your location, 2 would be a minimum I bet(ask others).

If the coating failing(and all coating do fail, eventually), then after stripping it, you might want to consider some of the less labor intensive coatings, like Cetol. That too will protect the wood.

Good luck.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top