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Rhumb Runner

Varnishes

39 posts in this topic

I don't have a lot of brightwork on my J/29. But some the toe rails could use some attention. I like to keep her looking good but I'm on a tight budget. Before I dig deep and shell out $40 bucks or more for a quart true marine varnish (z spar). Will I get year or so out of the outdoor spar varnishs I can get from Home Depot for less than $20? Anyone have horror stories from using the cheep stuff? I know that even the best stuff won't hold up if the prep is not done right. But is the expensive stuff really that much better? West Marine has a special on the z-spar 1015 captains until tomorrow and although I really don't have the $$$ it's a good deal and the rails need to get done in the next month or so. Bottom line... Spend the extra $$$ now or wait and use the cheep stuff?

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Get some Epiphanes instead.

 

It will last, but the best thing is it's a very forgiving varnish. It smooths out well and looks great. You need multiple coats if you want it to last. 5-7 coats is best for outdoor first application. Then a couple coats every year.

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Get Total Boat Lust. Outstanding product. Easy to apply, you can reapply after one hour with no sanding. So in a day you can nail down six to eight coats.

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Epiphanes is the best I've used to date.

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Home Depot Spar Varnish from Minwax is PolyUrethane, Epiphanes is actual varnish. Poly will flake off over time. Spend the 20 bucks more.

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Epiphanes is the worst varnish I've ever used (And I've used a lot.). Takes forever to dry, sags, coats unevenly, and you have to put on 7-8 coats for a durable finish.

My favorite is Benjamin Moore 440 spar varnish. Builds fast, flows beautifully, and you can be done with 3-4 coats. Thin your first coat 50/50 with turpentine (Not paint thinner), then straight out of the can from there.

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Epiphanes.

 

It takes a bit of skill to apply. It costs a bit more per quart, the results are worth it.

 

Like Mobil One oil, when the builders who are not price conscious use it, why would you choose otherwise ?

 

What is your leisure time worth ?

 

Don't use cheap materials & tools with expensive labor, it's a false economy.

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Epiphanes.

 

It takes a bit of skill to apply. It costs a bit more per quart, the results are worth it.

 

Like Mobil One oil, when the builders who are not price conscious use it, why would you choose otherwise ?

 

What is your leisure time worth ?

 

Don't use cheap materials & tools with expensive labor, it's a false economy.

 

This! Been there, done that. Also, I don't believe one 50/50 thinned coat will seal the grain properly and prevent lifting. You need multiple, maybe three coats of 20% varnish:thinner, then sand and three more coats out of the can, sand and put on a final coat, Then redo every six months if anywhere near latitude 32. 8-12 mos if at higher.

 

I'm going to go with a 2 pack poly on my toerails. It will be my first experience with it but the folks here on SA who seem to know say it makes a big difference in terms of durability. Captains is very forgiving and I've had reasonably good results but I wouldn't expect more than six months out of doors from it. But don't put it on during a sunny day or you'll get lizard skin from the outside drying faster than the inside.

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Epiphanes is the worst varnish I've ever used (And I've used a lot.). Takes forever to dry, sags, coats unevenly, and you have to put on 7-8 coats for a durable finish.

My favorite is Benjamin Moore 440 spar varnish. Builds fast, flows beautifully, and you can be done with 3-4 coats. Thin your first coat 50/50 with turpentine (Not paint thinner), then straight out of the can from there.

 

Every Dog has their day. My projects with Epifanes came out beautiful. I did use it in a controlled environment. The only problem that I encountered was due to User Error, I went back to touch up a holiday and it dragged. Cleaned it up, so that I have to look for the bad spot. I made sure my Prep Work was great, my application was good. Keep exposed parts under a cover, Will last a very long time!

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Home Depot Spar Varnish from Minwax is PolyUrethane, Epiphanes is actual varnish. Poly will flake off over time. Spend the 20 bucks more.

The fact that its poly has little or nothing to do with its absolutely shite performance in an exterior environment. Forget using it on a boat. It fails quickly on an exterior door. Minwax Helmsman has very little UV protection.

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I'm just going to say it...

 

Cetol.

Flakes off in sheets after 5-6 yrs.

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Cetol is doing that on my boat, in a few places, now, but so is the Epiphanes on my buddy's boat

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Regardless of which you choose, preparation is key to good adhesion. There's a reason that the marine varnishes are more expensive, and IMHO most of the big names are of suitable performance, choose the one that has application, performance, and color properties that best suit your needs. I like Epiphanes, with a couple thinned coats first to seal the grain, but I'll caveat my opinion by also saying that I like very minimal bright work work.

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Here is a non-varnish option. Remove all the varnish (which you will probably be doing anyway) and use Semco. You will have to wipe some on twice a year to keep the teak looking good but it takes very little time. Your toe rails will have a matte finish but still be water proof. No varnish skills required. Not to everyone's taste but low maintenance and low effort.

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What's the best varnish to use over epoxy clear coated wood?

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What's the best varnish to use over epoxy clear coated wood?

I used Epifanes. Came out gorgeous on my floorboards and tiller. I do keep the tiller covered when not in use.

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Epiphanes.

 

It takes a bit of skill to apply. It costs a bit more per quart, the results are worth it.

 

Like Mobil One oil, when the builders who are not price conscious use it, why would you choose otherwise ?

 

What is your leisure time worth ?

 

Don't use cheap materials & tools with expensive labor, it's a false economy.

 

This! Been there, done that. Also, I don't believe one 50/50 thinned coat will seal the grain properly and prevent lifting. You need multiple, maybe three coats of 20% varnish:thinner, then sand and three more coats out of the can, sand and put on a final coat, Then redo every six months if anywhere near latitude 32. 8-12 mos if at higher.

 

I'm going to go with a 2 pack poly on my toerails. It will be my first experience with it but the folks here on SA who seem to know say it makes a big difference in terms of durability. Captains is very forgiving and I've had reasonably good results but I wouldn't expect more than six months out of doors from it. But don't put it on during a sunny day or you'll get lizard skin from the outside drying faster than the inside.

 

What 2-pack Poly do you use on wood? I'm familiar with Awl-wood, but that is not a 2-pack.

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So which religion is better?

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As long as we don't drink it, it's all ok!

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Presently doing several small varnish jobs using Total Boat Lust and Total Boat Penetrating Epoxy. Fantastic products. Much easier to apply than Epiphanes with, for me, the same results and durability.

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Presently doing several small varnish jobs using Total Boat Lust and Total Boat Penetrating Epoxy. Fantastic products. Much easier to apply than Epiphanes with, for me, the same results and durability.

 

What make's the application better than Epifanes? Not picking - seriously interested, as I've never used those.

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guy, I used the penetrating epoxy on an interior table. It is a simple 2:1 mix and one to two applications is all that is needed to start off. It has no UV resistance so you need to apply varnish with UV inhibitors. The nice thing about it is that you have a 24 hour window to apply varnish without sanding. The Lust Varnish, if you are going over the epoxy doesn't need to be thinned. It flows nicely and you can apply a new coat after an hour or up to 24 hours with out sanding. You can get several coats on in one day, great time saver.

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Epifanes

 

image004.jpg

Its all good until it gets wet and you slip out of the fuckin thing.

 

One of my buddies did that to a 21ft antique racing boat. After the first race I told him to put down 3m nonskid tape or I wouldn't sail again. The next week we had black nonskid tape. It was a nice contrast with the varnished wood.

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I'm about to strip and refinish teak / holly veneer sole. Prior 2-3 coats of Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane held up well for 10 years.

 

But, shocking, I am in a spring launch rush and pressed for time. Any insight into how the Lust will hold up on a cabin sole?

 

Thanks

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That I do not know, I have used it on railings, hand holds and tables. Give JD a call, their tech support is very good.

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Epifanes

 

image004.jpg

Its all good until it gets wet and you slip out of the fuckin thing.

 

One of my buddies did that to a 21ft antique racing boat. After the first race I told him to put down 3m nonskid tape or I wouldn't sail again. The next week we had black nonskid tape. It was a nice contrast with the varnished wood.

 

The pram's floorboards are unfinished Alaska White Cedar.

There are ways to make varnish nonskid.

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Epiphanies on my tiller and petit captains varnish on my floor boards. The captains is a satin finish and very hard wearing.

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I have a lot of boats, and they almost all require lots of annual varnishing that I do myself. The largest is 46' and it has acres of varnishing to do...I also have a 32' Chris Craft and a 30' Chris Craft which are also shiny things. Over the years I have used almost every marine varnish product, and they are all good products. If you have a lot of varnishing to do though, Awspar M131 Spar Varnish is hands down the best. You can get 3 coats on in a day if the conditions are right and you can recoat without sanding within 36 hours. This makes life infinitely easier if you want to avoid the endless cycle of sanding, cleaning, wiping taping etc etc etc. As a varnish, it retains gloss over a season just as well as Epifanes. I used to used Epifanes exclusively. 10-15 years ago their spar varnish was a different product than it is now. It used to come out of the can without any need for thinning, and now it seems to be thicker than it once was. Also, Epifanes stays wet FOREVER. This makes getting a perfect finish nearly impossible unless you have access to a clean room. My boats are are on the hard at boatyards. Even indoors, people driving in and out of the yard, sanding and moving around always kicks up dust. Having a varnish system that kicks off quickly yet doesn't need to be thinned out of the can in most instances is a godsend. Awlspar M131 is that varnish. Epifanes woodfinish gloss is also a good product for building up coats quickly and has a longer open window of 72 hours before needing to resand. Despite what people claim (they claim this with M131 as well) you can skip putting a final coat of regular slow curing/ sand between coats varnish over this, as the gloss retention and UV protection is actually excellent.

 

I think the thing with varnish is to just not overthink it. It's actually one of the easier finish systems to get right, and some basic prep and housekeeping makes getting a great finish easy. Like I said, all of the major marine varnish products are very good products and they all work as advertised. What you end up going with really should come down to personal preference as far as use is concerned. Basic tricks like rolling and tipping and tipping vertically on vertical surfaces will go a long way towards avoiding common pitfalls that beginners encounter. Never glop on too thick a coat, and always work into the wet edge. Use a filter and never dip your brush into the can.

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You're really that down on Epifanes for shipping their product with more tung oil and less thinner? Really?

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I'm down on their product for not behaving the same as it used to. Does Epifanes have more solids? Hard to know. That's what they claim, but as I said, I have had just as good results durability wise with awlspar... without the insane open time and prep work involved with Epifanes regular. So yeah, I don't like it as much as I used to. I still think it's a great varnish... just as I said basically all marine varnishes are very good, it's just not what I want to use 90% of the time.

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I have to re-varnish my int canoe deck (khaya ply). It has some crazing/crocodiling on the fordeck. Can I just brush some more varnish on to be sure it is sealed until I can do a proper job later?

 

Has Petit Captain's varnish on it now. Just got the boat and have never dealt with proper varnish before.

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No. The crazing had allowed moisture to reach the wood. Sealing that moisture in will cause rot.

 

Once the adhesion between the finish and the wood begins to fail, it's time to go to bare wood.

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Paint manufacturers publish the VOC (Volatile Organic Compound, aka solvent) of their product.

What's not solvent is solids.

More VOC means less solids.

 

On a lightly built boat like an IC, it's easy to sand through plywood. I'd strip it either with chemical remover or with heat gun and scraper.

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I have a lot of boats, and they almost all require lots of annual varnishing that I do myself. //. Over the years I have used almost every marine varnish product, and they are all good products. //

 

I would love if that was the case. I have used Interlux "Original" varnish for years, this year when I took down all varnish on some parts and then started with a new can of the "Original" then the results were not acceptable. Assumed this was just me and my method so ... sand and prepare and on it again. And again. No luck, result is better but not acceptable.

Changed to Interlux "Schooner" (as it is called here, might need some nice translation) - much better. Still not perfect of course,, it is Interlux. But I can live with the results.

 

Conclusion: not all varnish is a good product. Unfortunately.

 

//J

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