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Alternatives to Varnish - Can I keep brightwork "bright" without the joyless chore?


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After being politely and playfully referred to the joys of varnishing thread:

I am reconsidering varnishing the new teak I have milled for the companionway. I really do not look forward to adding more yearly maintenance (I live in MN, so our season is _short_). I was originally considering using totalboat halcyon clear gloss varnish that I picked up for my new tiller handle on the new companionway teak, but am dreading the work involved.

  1. I have read multiple places online that teak oil can stain gelcoat, is that true? If so, is the risk only during application, or does the risk extend to the oil running off in rain, etc?
  2. How "bright" will the teak oil keep the brightwork?
  3. What is the maintenance commitment look like for the oil?
  4. Anybody have a couple links to the oiling process?
  5. I know it wanders into the territory of religion and politics, but what are your opinions about varnish vs oil? (mods, please don't ban me)
  6. Are there any other noteworthy comments or experiences folk what to share on this subject?

I am totally new to dealing with teak, I have only owned my boat for about 3 years and and just finished up a big restoration/reimagining project on the companionway hatch/boards and want to preserve the work as best as possible.

The teak in question:

20210510_195128.jpg

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Oil is even less durable and more trouble than varnish. Turns dirty dark then rubs off on clothing. Never is it "bright".

Varnish overcoated with gloss black paint. That is what I did. Looks great. The teak is under the paint, safe and perfectly preserved for whichever loser wants to start refinishing it twice a year. Black is the best match for stainless and all the generally black or gray fittings.

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2 minutes ago, Borracho said:

Oil is even less durable and more trouble than varnish. Turns dirty dark then rubs off on clothing. Never is it "bright".

Varnish overcoated with gloss black paint. That is what I did. Looks great. The teak is under the paint, safe and perfectly preserved for whichever loser wants to start refinishing it twice a year. Black is the best match for stainless and all the generally black or gray fittings.

How about just letting it weather? I know it will go grey, but does that "hurt" the teak?

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30 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

How about just letting it weather? I know it will go grey, but does that "hurt" the teak?

Depends on the climate you're in. You can go natural but you should still clean and light sand every so often with a light nourishing of oil.

Nice job on the companionway doors btw.

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52 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

How about just letting it weather? I know it will go grey, but does that "hurt" the teak?

The softer parts of the grain weather do weather away. But it is a slow process. Bare is better than failing varnish. Bare does not seem to get the black fungus from trapped moisture.

Looks unkempt. Or less like a yacht, more like a barn.  

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25 minutes ago, Irrational 14 said:

Depends on the climate you're in. You can go natural but you should still clean and light sand every so often with a light nourishing of oil.

Nice job on the companionway doors btw.

Thanks! T'was so much fun :)

I am in Minnesota on an inland lake. I do have machinations to make covers for the companionway and the handrails to slow the weathering. What type of oil do you suggest? Also, how often would I lightly sand it?
 

6 minutes ago, Borracho said:

The softer parts of the grain weather do weather away. But it is a slow process. Bare is better than failing varnish. Bare does not seem to get the black fungus from trapped moisture.

Looks unkempt. Or less like a yacht, more like a barn.  

 Gtk, I know the limits to my own ambition and the frequency of my own laziness. I am concerned I will lapse on the varnish maint schedule. My partner has been pushing me to leave it bare and methinks she has a point. (don't tell her that, she already won an "I told you so" today)

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Sand as needed. 400 grit if the wood is new. The smoother it is, the less grime it will catch. Covers will also help tremendously.

Oil preference is subjective. Too sticky, too dark, too light, too thick. Experiment on some remnants first.

Good info here: https://www.woodworkingtrade.com/linseed-oil-vs-teak-oil/

If you keep it dry with a cover it will look blonde longer.

 

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5 minutes ago, Irrational 14 said:

Sand as needed. 400 grit if the wood is new. The smoother it is, the less grime it will catch. Covers will also help tremendously.

Oil preference is subjective. Too sticky, too dark, too light, too thick. Experiment on some remnants first.

Good info here: https://www.woodworkingtrade.com/linseed-oil-vs-teak-oil/

If you keep it dry with a cover it will look blonde longer.

 

I do have remnants to test on, thanks for the suggestion! I would seek an oil that changes the look of the wood as little as possible. Also, any concerns about the oil staining the gelcoat?

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Depends on the Oil product but mostly not an issue if wiped off early. Rubbing Alcohol should take it off too. Careful on the plexi though - NO ACETONE!

Masking tape is your friend.

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5 minutes ago, Irrational 14 said:

Depends on the Oil product but mostly not an issue if wiped off early. Rubbing Alcohol should take it off too. Careful on the plexi though - NO ACETONE!

Masking tape is your friend.

Good call out on the acetone. It was in my notes, but it never hurts to refresh on the things to avoid.

I read the link you posted above, seems like teak oil is a better option than linseed. It also mentioned teak sealer, thoughts on that?

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I think once you start going down the synthetic road, weird reactions can start to happen with sealers.

Some work great, like the sealer I put on my front yard fence. Some others, not so much. Many look fake and unnatural.

Again, you'd have to experiment with what works for you but a simple teak oil application with a cover is a no brainer.

Easy, safe to remove if not happy with it.

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That's a miniscule amount of teak for a boat - varnish it! Use Awlwood.

In your climate it will last 10 years easily with a refresher coat every year, no more than an hour or two's work - much less work than cleaning those winch handle holders.......

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Don't spill varnish on the plexi either! I found that out the hard way.

If your season is short and you keep the wood covered when you're not using the boat, Perfection or even Cetol could last many years. Even regular varnish could last a few.

Bare wood is fine, but it does get dirty and wear down; and it does get mildew if it can't dry out. The rail on the shady side of my boat has gone black and icky, and may need to be replaced.

So get some covers any way you decide to go.

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6 hours ago, Al Paca said:

When’s the last time you cleaned those winch handle holders? 

 

5 hours ago, Fleetwood said:

That's a miniscule amount of teak for a boat - varnish it! Use Awlwood.

In your climate it will last 10 years easily with a refresher coat every year, no more than an hour or two's work - much less work than cleaning those winch handle holders.......

That'll teach me to not post uncropped images. :P

The winch handle holders _are_ clean. I have tried all sorts of stuff, including a couple different soaps, magic erasers, sos pads, and even a test sanding. The black marks on the interior and near the exterior base are deep and old, the 2 tone on the edges and corners is plastic?/rubber? and breaking down. I guess I have not washed them this year though as I have been too busy on other stuff. Hell, I have not really cleaned much yet, up until this week I was still making a mess. The companionway hatch/boards were just the most recent project to complete since spring started. I have not even waxed the boat yet, ever....yet. I have only owned it since summer 2019, and many many things needed to be done to just sail her. I got her new sails and a new mainsheet traveller/car last year, the year before was a pile of things to just make her capable of sailing, and this year has been all about finally making her look better and sail better.

"Maybe the rain will wash the boat?" Right? I remember seeing that quote in someone's signature around these forums and that is what I am going with until I finish more pressing tasks.

But seriously, yes. The handle holders do not look good, but they function. The old sliding hatch and washboards were causing water to ingress into the cabin. The old stanchions and lifelines were unsafe (more unsafe than usual even!). The old tiller handle was cracked lengthwise (held together by velcro and 50 half-hitches). The winches were old Barients, drums worn smooth, not self-tailing, and my partner and I struggled to operate them. The sail stop on the mast was busted. The anchor light mast wire non-functional. The depth-sounding transducer through-hull leaked. The spreaders lacked flag halyards and the boots were disintegrating. There were multiple unfilled holes in the combing and deck from old hardware that was removed. All of these things have been fixed/dealt with, since March this year... And I am still waiting on the rigger to finish the backstay and forestay - at which point I can assemble the new furler! Then I launch. Whew. probably another 10 days or so. I can always learn to polish and wax the boat once she is in the water when there is no wind.

My boat is on the hard at the marina 1hr from my house. I only have so much time, so I have been prioritizing. 

I think this picture sums up my spring pretty well (the only things really missing are the new tiller handle and the companionway teak):

102216070_springsailboatthings.thumb.jpg.efe2dbf18e5f639d1a212b11e3d1a0fb.jpg


Re: Teak
Would you suggest varnishing the backside of the teak? ie. the side facing the acrylic?

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If you want  low maintenance teak, just leave it as it is. Keep it clean by scrubbing with a 3M white nylon scrubby occasionally (never use a brush), using clean water with a bit of detergent and (occasionally) dilute bleach. The teak will go a nice silver grey. Every couple of years it may need a light sand with 120g paper.

(Get a book on varnishing, by e.g. Rebecca Wittman,  if you want to know more than you ever wanted to, about looking after timber on boats.)

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1 hour ago, Fleetwood said:

If you want  low maintenance teak, just leave it as it is. Keep it clean by scrubbing with a 3M white nylon scrubby occasionally (never use a brush), using clean water with a bit of detergent and (occasionally) dilute bleach. The teak will go a nice silver grey. Every couple of years it may need a light sand with 120g paper.
<SNIP>

And every 20-30 years, the unfinished, unprotected  wood will need complete replacement.
 

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The only way I have found to clean up old vinyl like winch handle pockets, rub rail inserts etc. is MEK - Methyl Ethyl Ketone.

It works great but is nasty so wear chemical resistant gloves and stay upwind. Clean cloth moistened with MEK will wipe off most black streaks, sunburn etc.

It will soften vinyl for a couple of minutes so even scratches will get smoothed and blended a bit.

When it hardens up again, wipe with vinyl conditioner like Armor All.

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I was going to second the awlwood. one coat of primer, then 7 - 8 coats of clear finish. minimal sanding between coats, lasts a long time.

Caveat: If you've ever used teak cleaner with oxalic acid you can forget awlwood. 

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Short answer is no, there is no clearcoat that is durable in direct sunlight. The more frequent and intense the sunlight, the worse varnish will suffer.

The reasons are fairly simple: if you can see thru the coating to the wood beneath, so can the sun. Coatings may selectively reflect or absorb the high-energy (blue) end of the spectrum, but there are practical limits to that. So you can lovingly apply eight coats of an exterior varnish, and the sun will attack the polymeric bonds of all eight, plus the physical bond between film and substrate. Paint is opaque, so the top layer becomes somewhat sacrificial -- chalking and powdering -- while the layers beneath are protected.

Also as a rule, oils are easier to prep, repair, and refinish -- but they offer less protection against water, UV, wood expansion and contraction, and physical impacts; oils require relentless upkeep. For interior furniture, the rule for tung or linseed or walnut oil finishes is: Once a day for a week; once a week for a month; once a month for a year; twice a year forever.;) For exterior brightwork, it's a far worse schedule.

Film coatings require more prep, more time & skill in application, they can go longer between renewal sessions but repair or recoating is a much bigger job. A good varnish, polyester or linear polyurethane application might last 5 years uncovered in a seasonal, cloudy, high-latitude place; maybe 6 months in the tropics or Sea of Cortez.

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4 hours ago, ryley said:

I was going to second the awlwood. one coat of primer, then 7 - 8 coats of clear finish. minimal sanding between coats, lasts a long time.

Caveat: If you've ever used teak cleaner with oxalic acid you can forget awlwood. 

I have not ever cleaned the teak (other than a bit of sanding), but no idea about a previous owner. Any way for me to inspect and make an educated guess? A couple folk here have suggested awlwood.

10 hours ago, Fleetwood said:

If you want  low maintenance teak, just leave it as it is. Keep it clean by scrubbing with a 3M white nylon scrubby occasionally (never use a brush), using clean water with a bit of detergent and (occasionally) dilute bleach. The teak will go a nice silver grey. Every couple of years it may need a light sand with 120g paper.

(Get a book on varnishing, by e.g. Rebecca Wittman,  if you want to know more than you ever wanted to, about looking after timber on boats.)

Funny enough, 3 days ago I bought slightly used copies of her book on Brightwork and the Companion book as well :P They are in the mail on their way now. I read a few pages online, she is a splendid author and I adore her prose! Worth every penny (and her books are _not_ cheap, though most good old sailing books are expensive).

9 hours ago, Diamond Jim said:

And every 20-30 years, the unfinished, unprotected  wood will need complete replacement.
 

Is this true? The wood on my boat was left for a decade+ without care, very little original varnish remained when I finally cleaned it up this year. If I cover it, will it last longer?

4 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

The only way I have found to clean up old vinyl like winch handle pockets, rub rail inserts etc. is MEK - Methyl Ethyl Ketone.

It works great but is nasty so wear chemical resistant gloves and stay upwind. Clean cloth moistened with MEK will wipe off most black streaks, sunburn etc.

It will soften vinyl for a couple of minutes so even scratches will get smoothed and blended a bit.

When it hardens up again, wipe with vinyl conditioner like Armor All.

Would an organic vapor cartridge protect me from the fumes? Am I at risk of hurting the gelcoat?

2 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

Short answer is no, there is no clearcoat that is durable in direct sunlight. The more frequent and intense the sunlight, the worse varnish will suffer.

The reasons are fairly simple: if you can see thru the coating to the wood beneath, so can the sun. Coatings may selectively reflect or absorb the high-energy (blue) end of the spectrum, but there are practical limits to that. So you can lovingly apply eight coats of an exterior varnish, and the sun will attack the polymeric bonds of all eight, plus the physical bond between film and substrate. Paint is opaque, so the top layer becomes somewhat sacrificial -- chalking and powdering -- while the layers beneath are protected.

Also as a rule, oils are easier to prep, repair, and refinish -- but they offer less protection against water, UV, wood expansion and contraction, and physical impacts; oils require relentless upkeep. For interior furniture, the rule for tung or linseed or walnut oil finishes is: Once a day for a week; once a week for a month; once a month for a year; twice a year forever.;) For exterior brightwork, it's a far worse schedule.

Film coatings require more prep, more time & skill in application, they can go longer between renewal sessions but repair or recoating is a much bigger job. A good varnish, polyester or linear polyurethane application might last 5 years uncovered in a seasonal, cloudy, high-latitude place; maybe 6 months in the tropics or Sea of Cortez.

UV always wins in a long enough fight with any surface really. Radiation just does its thing I guess? 

MN is semi-high latitude, cloudy often, teh season is like 4-5 months, and I plan to cover the companionway with sunbrella. Do you think I would still need to perform a yearly maintenance varnish coat? Every other year perhaps? (I am trying to account for my busy life and the risk of missing a maint cycle)

Also, I don't think the interior woodwork has ever seen maintenance, yet it all still looks very good. And I intend to continue doing absolutely nothing to it :P I rarely am in the cabin anyways as I mostly day sail.

6 hours ago, ROADKILL666 said:

Make it out of starboard and be done with it.

A bit late to the party with that suggestion :P I refuse to re fabricate the hatch/boards! Also, I don't like starboard for some unspecified reason....

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9 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

Would an organic vapor cartridge protect me from the fumes? Am I at risk of hurting the gelcoat?

Don't know about the filters but I suspect they would do the trick.

MEK has an ammoniac quality - if you get a good whiff it will catch in your throat just like ammonia. It's not a problem as long as you keep it at arms length or downwind if there's any breeze.

It doesn't hurt gelcoat - polyester resin catalyst is a variant of it - Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide or MEKP.

You won't be slopping it around anyway - just moisten the cloth, not dripping wet. It's very volatile so you need to re-dampen the cloth frequently. Start with a winch pocket - you'll quickly get a feel for it.

 

P.S. make sure you get MEK solvent - fiberglass places have confused it with MEKP catalyst.

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11 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

 Also, I don't like starboard for some unspecified reason....

Obviously a woman of taste and quality.

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9 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

P.S. make sure you get MEK solvent - fiberglass places have confused it with MEKP catalyst.

Thanks for the heads up. Occasionally I do bone-headed things due to my dangerous knowledge (and lack of seasoned knowledge).

7 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Obviously a woman of taste and quality.

Ha! You may be the first to ever say such a thing about me :P
I am on my best behavior here, being new to the community and all. Let's revisit this once I feel comfortable enough to slide into my usual infamous candor...

Re: Starboard

I don't like it. It seems "plasticky" and I hate the feel of it? I dunno, just never liked the stuff.

Also, I feel guilty every time I use a plastic or similar polymers. I asked forgiveness from mother nature for the acrylic already, no need to upset her or Poseidon twice in the same season.

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32 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

UV always wins in a long enough fight with any surface really. Radiation just does its thing I guess? 

MN is semi-high latitude, cloudy often, teh season is like 4-5 months, and I plan to cover the companionway with sunbrella. Do you think I would still need to perform a yearly maintenance varnish coat? Every other year perhaps? (I am trying to account for my busy life and the risk of missing a maint cycle)

 

I'd wager you could go at least 3 years between maintenance coats; perhaps 8-10 years between full strip-and-start-over varnishings. MN does have rather large seasonal & daily temperature swings, which is hard on coatings (esp. as they age and lose elasticity). One key to long-lasting film finishes is to make sure no water can get into the wood behind the coating. Then wood movement + vapor pressure will kick off the finish from the back side. :( That's why you always paint the inside of a wooden garage door, too. If water gets underneath your handrails, for exaple, it'll wick upwards and eventually blow the varnish right off.

I'm generally a huge fan of waterbased finishes -- use them exclusively in my cabinet and furniture shop. So much nicer to deal with than solvent-based, tho with a steep learning curve. For indoor work, I'd say the best waterbased are within 5-10% durability and performance of the best solvent-based coatings.

For marine exterior applications ... you want that last 5-10%. I'd go with a top-quality oil-based varnish. The inherent amber bias of oil finishes looks better on wood in sunlight, too.

 

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10 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

I am on my best behavior here, being new to the community and all.

Fuck That!

You go girl.

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2 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:
16 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Obviously a woman of taste and quality.

Ha! You may be the first to ever say such a thing about me :P
I am on my best behavior here, being new to the community and all. Let's revisit this once I feel comfortable enough to slide into my usual infamous candor...

Re: Starboard

I don't like it. It seems "plasticky" and I hate the feel of it? I dunno, just never liked the stuff.

Also, I feel guilty every time I use a plastic or similar polymers. I asked forgiveness from mother nature for the acrylic already, no need to upset her or Poseidon twice in the same season.

Hah, bring on your true self! Around here, infamous candor is considered a feature, not a bug.

I'm out in Seattle at 48N latitude, similar to you but without the frozen water season, and I find that varnish lasts a good long time if it's protected when not in use. In your case, with the boat out of the water and under cover half the year, I think it would hold up great. On top of that, your wood is localized to your companionway so it's very easy to sew or otherwise fabricate a cover that snaps to the backside of that teak hatch handle and also down at the lower corners of the companionway. While you're at it, you could make one out of netting with a weighted lower seam to keep the bugs at bay when you're on board. 

I've had good luck with this varnish, which is formulated to allow recoats in about an hour. You can easily get 5 or more coats on in a weekend. 

https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/product/product-detail/98160

 

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I've been holding off but I can't stop myself here.  West System epoxy with the special UV resistant slow hardener (207) may do it for you.  Clean the teak, tape off the area, apply.  Sand any runs off, touch up with a second very thin coat.   Laugh at your neighbor applying his seventh coat of varnish to 1500 square feat of teak trim on his Swan 40.  

It's the Aging Stripper Finish, or the 1020 finish.  It looks like a 10 from 20 feet.  Up very close you can tell it's not spar varnish, you'll spot a few flaws and you probably can't see your reflection.  But what are you tryng to go for here?  If you are trying to avoid the brutal regime that traditional varnish imposes and get a solid basic clear coat... well, this is a decent basic clear coat.  Doesn't go milky with age.  It will scuff up but it doesn't peel off or scratch really deeply like varnish, and when it's scuffed, just light sand it like with 400 or 320 grit, clean with acetone then put on another coat.  Like in 5 years. 

Flame away, friends.  Flame away...  

 

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5 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

One key to long-lasting film finishes is to make sure no water can get into the wood behind the coating. Then wood movement + vapor pressure will kick off the finish from the back side. :( That's why you always paint the inside of a wooden garage door, too. If water gets underneath your handrails, for exaple, it'll wick upwards and eventually blow the varnish right off.

The handrails I don't want to remove, but I absolutely can remove most of the companionway teak (by design of course :D). Would you suggest varnishing the back side of the teak too? If I do that, I figure I would have to wait days after the last coat for it to flash and cure before reassembling.

5 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

For marine exterior applications ... you want that last 5-10%. I'd go with a top-quality oil-based varnish. The inherent amber bias of oil finishes looks better on wood in sunlight, too.

Thoughts on linseed oil vs teak oil?

5 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Fuck That!

You go girl.

4 hours ago, IStream said:

Hah, bring on your true self! Around here, infamous candor is considered a feature, not a bug.

Fair warnings were given :P and no sincere apologies will be offered.

4 hours ago, IStream said:

I've had good luck with this varnish, which is formulated to allow recoats in about an hour. You can easily get 5 or more coats on in a weekend. 

https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/product/product-detail/98160

Ah, yes, Lust. I opted for Halcyon for the new tiller handle, but am rethinking using it on the teak. I hear total boat's stuff is solid.

3 hours ago, IStream said:

Hah! I think the OP plays for the other team but I must admit I like the product branding!

What team is that? Blue team? A team? (In your) Dreams team? Does that mean we are competition? But then does that mean you don't compete with the others on your team? Do you "play" with your team? I am confused. Also, what sport is it? Baseball? Soccer? Chess? Sudoku? Do you play with others or against them? Both? How about both? Can I play for "both" teams? :P How about teammates, can I have more than one? I really would like a large team.
Please explain this idiom in detail! I will grab the popcorn and enjoy the awkward. I am teaming [sic] with anticipation!

3 hours ago, Lex Teredo said:

I've been holding off but I can't stop myself here.  West System epoxy with the special UV resistant slow hardener (207) may do it for you.  Clean the teak, tape off the area, apply.  Sand any runs off, touch up with a second very thin coat.   Laugh at your neighbor applying his seventh coat of varnish to 1500 square feat of teak trim on his Swan 40.  

Ah, I heave read about epoxy. But from what I know, even with the UV resist hardener, it is still advised to coat it with varnish. Is that correct? How durable and long lasting is UV hardener? How easy is it to remove and refinish? Doesn't it get all up in the grain? Though I am always looking for another reason to laugh at my dock neighbors, I now have more teak on my boat than half the marina (I rent a slip at the shitty marina on the lake so I can feel superior...well, not really, actually it is bc I am a cheapskate and want to spend more money than is financially responsible on my boat every year).

1 hour ago, Fleetwood said:

Plenty of other varnish threads on SA; don't need another one......

I needed another one as the others are not _my_ thread. Or are you suggesting I go necro up some thread from 4 seasons ago and wait for long inactive members whose inboxes I blew up to tell me to start a new one? You may be old salt and bored of the subject, but I am decidedly not. Give my enthusiasm and excitement room to breath!  Also, the quality and relevance of the responses (well, most of them at least *ahem*) on this thread are amazing and just what I was looking for. Don't you have some teak to refinish or something? :P

-------

Finally, anyone have opinions on Totalboat Halcyon?

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Regarding cleaning vinyl...MEK is a real pain in the ass to store, it evaporates right through many containers. I use Interlux 216 Special Thinner to clean, then wash it with soap and water to settle the vinyl down. I was surprised how well it works, but you want to do it outdoors.

o51d9C3.jpg

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Just now, Ishmael said:

Regarding cleaning vinyl...MEK is a real pain in the ass to store, it evaporates right through many containers. I use Interlux 216 Special Thinner to clean, then wash it with soap and water to settle the vinyl down. I was surprised how well it works, but you want to do it outdoors.

o51d9C3.jpg

That is really impressive. Wouldn't they sell MEK in containers made of materials that stop the evap?
Also, looks like MEK is a class 1 flammable:
https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/1992-11-13
Fun stuff. Good thing I close on a house in 7 days and will have a garage for the first time in a decade!
Interlux looks to be class 3?
Anyways, I will check both of them out. I will probably opt for whatever is easier to source locally. Thanks for the additional option!

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40 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:
3 hours ago, IStream said:

Hah! I think the OP plays for the other team but I must admit I like the product branding!

What team is that? Blue team? A team? (In your) Dreams team? Does that mean we are competition? But then does that mean you don't compete with the others on your team? Do you "play" with your team? I am confused. Also, what sport is it? Baseball? Soccer? Chess? Sudoku? Do you play with others or against them? Both? How about both? Can I play for "both" teams? :P How about teammates, can I have more than one? I really would like a large team.
Please explain this idiom in detail! I will grab the popcorn and enjoy the awkward. I am teaming [sic] with anticipation!

You can do whatever you want, it's all good! We need more teamwork in this country, so the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned. I'll have to redshirt this season, unfortunately.

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2 minutes ago, IStream said:

You can do whatever you want, it's all good! We need more teamwork in this country, so the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned. I'll have to redshirt this season, unfortunately.

Ha! I always do what I want anyways :P

Re: Red Shirt
You always can attempt a walk-on too! Get yer vax first!

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2 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

That is really impressive. Wouldn't they sell MEK in containers made of materials that stop the evap?
Also, looks like MEK is a class 1 flammable:
https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/1992-11-13
Fun stuff. Good thing I close on a house in 7 days and will have a garage for the first time in a decade!
Interlux looks to be class 3?
Anyways, I will check both of them out. I will probably opt for whatever is easier to source locally. Thanks for the additional option!

Yeah, MEK is outdoor use only, cartridge filters or not. One whiff and you'll know why. They sell it in metal cans but the screwcaps are only sealed with a paper liner so it'll eventually evaporate out. If you keep it in a cool place it may take years, but it will eventually happen. 

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Just now, Swag Lady Skipper said:

Ha! I always do what I want anyways :P

Re:You always can attempt a walk-on too! Get yer vax first!

Just got dose #2 yesterday so gimme 13 days to build up my immunity and make the case to my partner of 30 years. What could go wrong?

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44 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

The handrails I don't want to remove, but I absolutely can remove most of the companionway teak (by design of course :D). Would you suggest varnishing the back side of the teak too? If I do that, I figure I would have to wait days after the last coat for it to flash and cure before reassembling.

I'd coat the backs/undersides of any wood you can easily remove with either varnish or epoxy. Or paint. Or PlastiDip. Anything that'll keep water from wicking behind it and transiting thru the wood. 

44 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

Thoughts on linseed oil vs teak oil?

IIRC, 'teak oil' is some formulation of tung and linseed oils, with usually a metallic dryer to speed cure time. Tung oil is better than linseed in every way -- but also about three times the cost, so there's incentive for companies to skimp in their blends. You can buy pure tung oil and cut it with turps or low-odor mineral spirits or even mineral oil  + beeswax. Linseed oil, besides having low natural crosslinking and long dry times, has a nasty way of turning black over time.

BTW -- if you or anyone you care about has severe nut allergies, stay away from any of these products.

Alkyd varnishes are a combination of drying oils (usually linseed), polymerizing binder resins (traditionally derived from flax); and petrochemical solvents. Drying catalysts, UV blockers, and/or flattening agents round out the ingredients list. 'Danish Oils' and 'wiping varnishes' lie midway between oil finishes and varnish. Which may sound intriguing and is for a hallway table, but it's sort of 'worst of both worlds' for brightwork.

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2 hours ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

That is really impressive. Wouldn't they sell MEK in containers made of materials that stop the evap?
Also, looks like MEK is a class 1 flammable:
https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/1992-11-13
Fun stuff. Good thing I close on a house in 7 days and will have a garage for the first time in a decade!
Interlux looks to be class 3?
Anyways, I will check both of them out. I will probably opt for whatever is easier to source locally. Thanks for the additional option!

Don't do MEK indoors.

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1 hour ago, IStream said:

Just got dose #2 yesterday so gimme 13 days to build up my immunity and make the case to my partner of 30 years. What could go wrong?

lol... But seriously, that 2nd moderna shot is kicking my ass. I got it early this morning and I am starting to feel like a truck hit me.

1 hour ago, IStream said:

Yeah, MEK is outdoor use only, cartridge filters or not. One whiff and you'll know why. They sell it in metal cans but the screwcaps are only sealed with a paper liner so it'll eventually evaporate out. If you keep it in a cool place it may take years, but it will eventually happen. 

Garage storage for sure.

2 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

I'd coat the backs/undersides of any wood you can easily remove with either varnish or epoxy. Or paint. Or PlastiDip. Anything that'll keep water from wicking behind it and transiting thru the wood. 

This is really good advice, thank you.

2 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

BTW -- if you or anyone you care about has severe nut allergies, stay away from any of these products.

!!!!! Thanks for this - reading up on this now as there are a couple people - I guess I don't know the extent of their nut allergies, other than its bad.
Is teak varnish safe?

------

And to be fair to my marina and dockmates, I really like them. It is not the fancy marina - less socializing, no yacht club, better staff, less rules, more flexible, more sailing. My dockmates are decent sailors, and decent people. Our boats are mostly smaller and older than the other marina's. And we all mostly mind our business, the business of sailing.

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3 hours ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

I needed another one as the others are not _my_ thread. Or are you suggesting I go necro up some thread from 4 seasons ago and wait for long inactive members whose inboxes I blew up to tell me to start a new one? You may be old salt and bored of the subject, but I am decidedly not. Give my enthusiasm and excitement room to breath!  Also, the quality and relevance of the responses (well, most of them at least *ahem*) on this thread are amazing and just what I was looking for. Don't you have some teak to refinish or something?

Quick summary:

Two types of 'varnish':

Older oil-based ones, give a 'traditional' look. Need to build 8+ coats  and need at least annual refresher coats (2+) to keep working and look good. Make your choice of reputable brands (availability, ease of use, etc). Timber will fade over time. Relatively easy to remove with heat gun and scraper every 5-10 years and start again.

Modern acrylic or linear urethane ('2-pack') ones such as Awlwood and Perfection Plus respectively. The coating is clear, may need a primer (Awlwood), don't look quite the same as traditional varnishes. Need 6-8 coats, plus refresher every 1-2 years) will last 10+ years even in warm climates (Oz), increasingly used by professional finishers (at least here). Timber fades less. A bit harder to remove.

Oiled timber can look wonderful but is best confined to below decks, unless you want to refresh it every few months. Can darken timber.

Epoxy can adhere to timber better than varnishes but is not UV stable (even UV stabilised ones aren't great) so has to be overcoated with several layers of varnish. It's a real pain to remove when inevitably you have to 'wood' the brightwork.

Moisture penetration is the enemy of all finishes so sealing the underneath  and any penetrations is recommended;  epoxy, a couple of coats of varnish, etc.

Bare timber can look good but differnt from varnish! Needs some attention too.

(I'm sure someone will disagree with some/all of this, but they're wrong.)

No varnishing need on my boat for a while yet; I use Awlwood, after using trad varnishes for many years. Will give the exposed bits (toerail, etc) a refresher coat or 2 mid-(our)winter sometime. A day's work. Time to go sailing.

 

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9 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

lol... But seriously, that 2nd moderna shot is kicking my ass. I got it early this morning and I am starting to feel like a truck hit me.

My partner felt the same way the morning after Pfizer #2 but felt normal the day after that. I'm T+36 hours from Pfizer #2 and, other than a sore arm, I thankfully haven't experienced any adverse reactions. 

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15 hours ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

Ah, I have read about epoxy. But from what I know, even with the UV resist hardener, it is still advised to coat it with varnish. Is that correct? How durable and long lasting is UV hardener? How easy is it to remove and refinish? Doesn't it get all up in the grain? Though I am always looking for another reason to laugh at my dock neighbors, I now have more teak on my boat than half the marina (I rent a slip at the shitty marina on the lake so I can feel superior...well, not really, actually it is bc I am a cheapskate and want to spend more money than is financially responsible on my boat every year).

Epoxy is more or less permanent.  You can wear through it eventually, and you can sand it off if you're willing to sand off enough wood.  And MEK works great for that too, it's an epoxy solvent after all, if you don't mind the fire and lung damage risks. It's also highly exothermic if you put a big puddle of it on wood... 

But the epoxy is durable and relatively cheap, a little covers a lot of wood.  I only had epoxy + one or two coats of spar varnish on my last boat's exterior teak for about 3.5 years, then I sold it.  It worked fine, no flaws, no fade in that time period, didn't seem to need an annual refresh of varnish.  Horror of horrors, I used 1/2" exterior grade plywood for my hatch boards on that boat, encapsulating them pretty well with epoxy and then a couple coats of spar varnish... three years later they were also flawless  (other than being made from scrap wood) when I sold the boat. Even the worst wood lasts a long time if you encapsulate it like a fly in amber in epoxy. 

The current boat is about to get a dose of this treatment on the high wear spots this weekend, along with a dozen new replacement foot boards that I may leave bare to preserve the grip on the natural wood.  

It depends on why you want to do brightwork.  Some around here love working on brightwork.  Me, I want to preserve the wood for functional reasons.  Mostly I love getting my boat dirty and shitty with bay water and a little blood from the periodic mid-race boatbite, sandwich crumbs from P-to-P races, sunscreen dribbles and gatorade splatter, then coming back to the marina, drinking beers and telling lies about how great we were.  We sail on average twice a week for about 7 months.  The boat gets hosed off well about once a month, and gets a thorough scrub on deck about twice a season, whether it needs it or not.  We keep the inside super clean because that's where the sails live, and we respect hull and rigging integrity and quality sails on my boat, and not a lot else.  Your mileage may vary. 



 

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1 hour ago, Lex Teredo said:

Epoxy is more or less permanent.  You can wear through it eventually, and you can sand it off if you're willing to sand off enough wood.  And MEK works great for that too, it's an epoxy solvent after all, if you don't mind the fire and lung damage risks. It's also highly exothermic if you put a big puddle of it on wood... 

But the epoxy is durable and relatively cheap, a little covers a lot of wood.  I only had epoxy + one or two coats of spar varnish on my last boat's exterior teak for about 3.5 years, then I sold it.  It worked fine, no flaws, no fade in that time period, didn't seem to need an annual refresh of varnish.  Horror of horrors, I used 1/2" exterior grade plywood for my hatch boards on that boat, encapsulating them pretty well with epoxy and then a couple coats of spar varnish... three years later they were also flawless  (other than being made from scrap wood) when I sold the boat. Even the worst wood lasts a long time if you encapsulate it like a fly in amber in epoxy. 

The current boat is about to get a dose of this treatment on the high wear spots this weekend, along with a dozen new replacement foot boards that I may leave bare to preserve the grip on the natural wood.  

It depends on why you want to do brightwork.  Some around here love working on brightwork.  Me, I want to preserve the wood for functional reasons.  Mostly I love getting my boat dirty and shitty with bay water and a little blood from the periodic mid-race boatbite, sandwich crumbs from P-to-P races, sunscreen dribbles and gatorade splatter, then coming back to the marina, drinking beers and telling lies about how great we were.  We sail on average twice a week for about 7 months.  The boat gets hosed off well about once a month, and gets a thorough scrub on deck about twice a season, whether it needs it or not.  We keep the inside super clean because that's where the sails live, and we respect hull and rigging integrity and quality sails on my boat, and not a lot else.  Your mileage may vary. 



 

Be sure to get UV stabilized epoxy if you're going to do that.  Your varnish coats probably are what saved it in your application.

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There are alternative approaches to varnishing a boat

  1. Pay your man to do it
  2. leave it and let the elements sort it out (very popular)
  3. sand, varnish x 7 coats and live with a nail bottle to dab the nicks as they occur- repeat sand, varnish x 7 as required
  4. Use a 2 pot finish, then completely lose it when you do have to redo it
  5. Use a commercial grade moisture cured UV stable single pot flooring polyurethane- think gymnasium floors.then completely lose it when you do have to redo it
  6. Oil, deks ole etc, looks a lot like Trump spilt his tanning shit on your boat
  7. White paint
  8. Black paint
  9. Any other paint
  10. a box of matches and gasolene 
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Thank you everyone for all the advice and comments. 

I think I have narrowed down the options I like to:

1. Leave it bare. Maybe lightly sand it every couple years.

2. Lust Varnish, maybe use awlwood as a primer?

Both of these options assume I cover the teak when not in use. For now, I am going to double time the other work on the boat to get her launched and revisit the varnish option later into summer. So I guess I procrastinate until then. Also, this will give me time to read Wittman's books - maybe I will develop a desire to try my hand at the art of varnish after doing so? I usually like to try everything at least once, so I most likely will varnish in the coming year or two (all things considered), but it all depends on time this summer as there is no way to rush a varnish job and I am behind the season in my launch plans (still waiting on the rigger to finish my stays.....grumble).

I have definitely decided against epoxy, cetol, and oil. 

One last question that no one has answered yet: Thoughts on Totalboat Halcyon? I plan to use it on the new tiller handle (which will also be covered), curious if anyone has experience with it?

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Also, thank you everyone for the conversation about MEK and other vinyl cleaners. Unexpected but much needed information.

Now, back to bed (that 2nd moderna shot is still kicking my ass).

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3 hours ago, Grrr... said:

Be sure to get UV stabilized epoxy if you're going to do that.  Your varnish coats probably are what saved it in your application.

Yeah, I think I said that above.  West 207.  Special slow hardener with UV protectant.  Worth noting it also has only 50% of the strength that 206 or 205 have... wouldn't use the leftovers of that hardner for any structural purposes. 

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1 hour ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

One last question that no one has answered yet: Thoughts on Totalboat Halcyon? I plan to use it on the new tiller handle (which will also be covered), curious if anyone has experience with it?

I have used amber Halcyon on some internal boat projects.  It was super easy to work with.  Small roller and foam brush.  5 coats in a day.  Much better amber color than any other water based finish I have used.  Still not quite the deep amber as traditional varnish.  Halcyon also doesn't seem to be as glossy as varnish and I was OK with that.  I even tried it on a section of teak / holly floorboards and so far it has held up very well to limited foot traffic.  I don't have any experience with Halycon on exposed outdoor wood.  I do have a future project in mind for some on deck teak that has covers and I might give the Halcyon a try.  The bag is awesome - squeeze out air and screw on cap when done.

I have used west epoxy as base layer for a wood door threshold on a house.  Covered with layers of varnish for UV and it has held up very well.

I cant find where 207 hardener is 50% as strong as 206 or 205 - link to west systems comparisons - Compare Epoxy Physical Properties - WEST SYSTEM Epoxy

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Here is what freedom looks like. Not much teak, but the little there is no longer attracts walk-by derision for not being kept Bristol. Only the companionway, traveller base, galley hatch rails and a strip atop the transom needed varnish. But no more.  Black seemed like an extreme choice of color, however it looks good with the anodized aluminum and polished stainless. There is a fresh varnish job under the black so the theory is it can be easily stripped without leaving black in the grain in case someone with more years and less common sense than I wants to revert to constant refinishing.

 

BlackVarnish.png

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44 minutes ago, Borracho said:

Here is what freedom looks like. Not much teak, but the little there is no longer attracts walk-by derision for not being kept Bristol. Only the companionway, traveller base, galley hatch rails and a strip atop the transom needed varnish. But no more.  Black seemed like an extreme choice of color, however it looks good with the anodized aluminum and polished stainless. There is a fresh varnish job under the black so the theory is it can be easily stripped without leaving black in the grain in case someone with more years and less common sense than I wants to revert to constant refinishing.

 

BlackVarnish.png

How hot does that black paint get in July?

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3 minutes ago, Swag Lady Skipper said:

How hot does that black paint get in July?

Hot? In Monterey? Not going to happen, sadly. In the tropics it will be plenty hot. The black aluminum parts get painfully hot. But not so hot as to burn skin with a touch. But almost. Varnished wood gets plenty hot as well. Good question....

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13 hours ago, Borracho said:

Hot? In Monterey? Not going to happen, sadly. In the tropics it will be plenty hot. The black aluminum parts get painfully hot. But not so hot as to burn skin with a touch. But almost. Varnished wood gets plenty hot as well. Good question....

The sun gets oppressive in Minnesotan July days. Thanks for the feedback :D

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On 5/13/2021 at 5:10 PM, Ishmael said:

Regarding cleaning vinyl...MEK is a real pain in the ass to store, it evaporates right through many containers. I use Interlux 216 Special Thinner to clean, then wash it with soap and water to settle the vinyl down. I was surprised how well it works, but you want to do it outdoors.

o51d9C3.jpg

Wow, thanks, I was wondering what to do with those two cans of 216 in my basement.   

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On 5/12/2021 at 12:07 PM, Swag Lady Skipper said:

After being politely and playfully referred to the joys of varnishing thread:

I am reconsidering varnishing the new teak I have milled for the companionway. I really do not look forward to adding more yearly maintenance (I live in MN, so our season is _short_). I was originally considering using totalboat halcyon clear gloss varnish that I picked up for my new tiller handle on the new companionway teak, but am dreading the work involved.

  1. I have read multiple places online that teak oil can stain gelcoat, is that true? If so, is the risk only during application, or does the risk extend to the oil running off in rain, etc?
  2. How "bright" will the teak oil keep the brightwork?
  3. What is the maintenance commitment look like for the oil?
  4. Anybody have a couple links to the oiling process?
  5. I know it wanders into the territory of religion and politics, but what are your opinions about varnish vs oil? (mods, please don't ban me)
  6. Are there any other noteworthy comments or experiences folk what to share on this subject?

I am totally new to dealing with teak, I have only owned my boat for about 3 years and and just finished up a big restoration/reimagining project on the companionway hatch/boards and want to preserve the work as best as possible.

The teak in question:

20210510_195128.jpg

I would varnish it, then make a sunbrella cover that snaps to the back of the handle on the sliding hatch and drapes down the front.  Maybe put a couple of snaps on the bottom corners as well.  

This will stop sunlight from getting to the varnish and keep it looking good for years.   BTW, to varnish those properly they have to be removed so that they can be completely encased in epoxy and varnish.  If there are any screw holes they have to be drilled larger, epoxied, and re-drilled.  Any water that gets to the wood will get in between the varnish and the wood and you'll have to start again at least in that spot.

My favorite varnish schedule is two coats of neat West with 207 hardener, then 2 coats of Epifanes gloss, then 3-4 coats of Epifanes satin. 

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I'm late to the party here, but I'll give it a go since a lot of people are speaking secondhand.

Firsthand, I stripped ALL my vanish last year and it was one is the best maintenance decisions I've ever made.

You say you've decided against oil, but i would point out - it's an absolutely no-risk trial. If you decide you don't like it, just wait a year, then sand/solvent and vanish right over it.

With vanish, OTOH, you're committed: If you ever want to go back, it's hours of sanding to get it to bare.

Teak oil - no matter what snake oil version you buy - obviously never gets wood 'bright'. But it does give it a nice shine - about like a really high quality wood salad bowl or cutting board after being refinished, for example. It brings out the depth and grain of the wood beautifully, even if it doesn't gleam.

And you don't need the snake oil. A bottle of StarBrite will run you $20 and look at good as the nicest Danish triple-secret-tung-solids-uv-whoopty-juice, provided you keep on top of it.

"Ah!" You say, "Theresa the hidden cost - the frequent upkeep!"

No. Maintaiming oil means once a year hitting it with cleaner, rinsing, then re-oiling. It takes all of about 20 minutes. You can do it while you drink a beer, humidity be damned. 

And it looks honestly as good as you need it to. 

If you want it to look really good, keep a bottle in the lazarette and throw a maintenance coat on every month or so (it only takes ten minutes or so, so why wouldn't you?).

Neither teak oil nor the common teak cleaners will permanently mar your gelcoat.

Life is too short to vanish, and anyone who tells you differently is probably paying someone to do it for them.

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On 5/12/2021 at 12:22 PM, Borracho said:

Oil is even less durable and more trouble than varnish. Turns dirty dark then rubs off on clothing. Never is it "bright".

I think this is only true of building oils? The teak oil I use does not have this problem at all.

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I'm a fan of low expectations.

Just slap on some satin spar urethane from the hardware store using a foam brush and call it good. Ignore all the advice about how to get perfect varnish applications, those folk want to help but don't understand varnish is not an actual religion. The once a year or two touchups won't take long with that small amount of teak. It might not be perfect but your friends will never notice.  With new wood like yours oil isn't a bad direction to go, but I think it's less forgiving once you inevitably miss a year or two...or three. After enough years you'll probably just switch over to paint, but even that's going to need a touchup after awhile. Eventually you'll learn to love the look of weathered teak, which you'll eventually rebuild using Starboard. 

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1 hour ago, C. Spackler said:

I'm a fan of low expectations.

Just slap on some satin spar urethane from the hardware store using a foam brush and call it good. Ignore all the advice about how to get perfect varnish applications, those folk want to help but don't understand varnish is not an actual religion. The once a year or two touchups won't take long with that small amount of teak. It might not be perfect but your friends will never notice.  With new wood like yours oil isn't a bad direction to go, but I think it's less forgiving once you inevitably miss a year or two...or three. After enough years you'll probably just switch over to paint, but even that's going to need a touchup after awhile. Eventually you'll learn to love the look of weathered teak, which you'll eventually rebuild using Starboard. 

I resemble this remark, but over the course of three boats.

The first boat (1998-2005) I started with spar varnish and ended up with Cetol

The second boat (2009-2012) I systematically replaced all wood with stainless (handholds) and starboard (companionway trim and boards)

The third boat (2013-present) has only three pieces of external wood, all straight and easily sanded & masked. With the advent of 1 hour recoat varnish, I'm giving varnish a shot again. I'm one season in and we'll see how it goes...

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3 hours ago, C. Spackler said:

Ignore all the advice about how to get perfect varnish applications, those folk want to help but don't understand varnish is not an actual religion.

That's where you went wrong.

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On 5/14/2021 at 2:51 PM, Swag Lady Skipper said:

Also, thank you everyone for the conversation about MEK and other vinyl cleaners. Unexpected but much needed information.

Now, back to bed (that 2nd moderna shot is still kicking my ass).

I'm generally not a big fan of using solvents if I don't have to. My general strategy is to start with the least menacing cleaner and go up from there if its not working. Only as a last resort does acetone or another type of solvent/thinner come into play. 

For rubber or vinyl there are several cheap and cheerful hacks that do a great job. I once got a tip from my local rigid inflatable specialists. What did they use? Vim. Ever since Vim has held a proud and noble spot in the cleaning products bucket. Better than any more expensive 'marine branded' vinyl cleaner. 

For the rubberized winch holders that blacken, seemingly on a seasonal basis, you don't even need to go as far as a mildly abrasive product like Vim.

Here are some 'after' pictures of rubberized vents, roughly in the same materials ballpark as your winch holders. If I had a  'before' picture, it would look like your winch holder...the yellow tinge I'm not sure I'll get rid of that easy, as they're 40 years old at this point, but haven't really tried to go that far(I think its actually worn coating). Conditioning the rubber as Sloop mentioned(Armour All) is a good idea, but if the rubber is still glossy once you've cleaned it you're probably alright. Rumour has it that the 3M all in one wax(used mainly for topside polishing) is good for this conditioning as well.

Still, this 3 dollar no ammonia no nothing product did a good job(probably with a little more elbow grease than a stronger cleaning agent). Its also great for spot cleaning in the cockpit, when you don't want to break out the hose and spray 9, as you don't really have to worry about rinsing.

If you're trying to avoid varnishing becoming a joyless chore, do the same for the rubberized bits around your boat.

For the record, as per varnish, I keep it old school. I read the label on the back of an Epiphanes UV can and those are my marching orders. My only improvisation is requiring a certain jazz station and several cold ones at the ready and somehow the joy starts to come to the surface.

IMG_0305.thumb.JPG.5a56bdc2ece3618ddcd55fc6c9308dc6.JPGIMG_0309.thumb.JPG.ee803174dc735f164d102521ec85279e.JPG 

  

IMG_0304.JPG

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Couple good mentions about Awlwood - friend just boought a boat a LOT of exterior teak and sadly neglected and was considering replacing it - an expert in wood and boats came and said no to replacing and he said if you hire someone who is good it's sanded thoroughly, primer and 12 coats - which will be good for 3 to 4 years here on the Gulf Coast (varnish is every year at least) and when it's time to redo it just sand and add coats, not necessary to do it all over again.

So his believe-ability went way up when he said he didn't do that work but would try to refer some good folks.  Having done my share of sanding, oiling and varnishing over the years this would be the cat's meow.  Will try to remember to check back when it's finished (pun intended).

 

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I'm trying Semco teak sealer on all of my exterior teak after restoration this winter. We'll see how it goes. My thought process is that I'd rather trade midseason reapplication for extensive prep work, as I hate prep.

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16 hours ago, d&#x27;ranger said:

Couple good mentions about Awlwood - friend just boought a boat a LOT of exterior teak and sadly neglected and was considering replacing it - an expert in wood and boats came and said no to replacing and he said if you hire someone who is good it's sanded thoroughly, primer and 12 coats - which will be good for 3 to 4 years here on the Gulf Coast (varnish is every year at least) and when it's time to redo it just sand and add coats, not necessary to do it all over again.

So his believe-ability went way up when he said he didn't do that work but would try to refer some good folks.  Having done my share of sanding, oiling and varnishing over the years this would be the cat's meow.  Will try to remember to check back when it's finished (pun intended).

 

IIRC, Awlwood is a 1-pack version of Awlgrip minus the pigment, plus some extra UV blockers. So it is an extensively crosslinked, pre-cat polyurethane, activated with isocyanates. (Just checked SDS: yep, uses 4-methyl isocyanate, which don't spray without a remote air helmet.) It should have excellent abrasion, chemical, and water resistance. Maybe better elasticity than alkyd varnish. But the basic challenges of clear-coat UV degradation to covalent bonds don't disappear, even with tighter polymerization -- and the substrate-to-coating interface is still a vexing failure mode. Just with Awlwood, you have twelve very expensive coats fall off around your ankles, rather than six coats of Valspar. :(

If I were keeping exterior brightwork in the tropics, Awlwood is first choice. But it isn't magic. Wonder how it looks with 12 coats, tho. Urethanes over red/brown woods can shade blue and hazy, a problem exacerbated by dry film thickness >5mm.

 

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This is my solution to keeping the bright work bright - keep the UV off on the days I am not using the boat.  This is a trial fit - it needs a couple more velcro straps.  Cost: about $15 in Sunbrella scraps from a local canvas outfit, and about 3 hours of time for two of them.

20210526_092101.thumb.jpg.fef0ccb9ca0b5d0f4454dcad635c669f.thumb.jpg.2cae2b4074bb571b610c9a63b1efb9fa.jpg

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10 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

This is my solution to keeping the bright work bright - keep the UV off on the days I am not using the boat.  This is a trial fit - it needs a couple more velcro straps.  Cost: about $15 in Sunbrella scraps from a local canvas outfit, and about 3 hours of time for two of them.

20210526_092101.thumb.jpg.fef0ccb9ca0b5d0f4454dcad635c669f.thumb.jpg.2cae2b4074bb571b610c9a63b1efb9fa.jpg

Kinda like painting it black...

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On 5/16/2021 at 8:21 PM, Borracho said:

Here is what freedom looks like. Not much teak, but the little there is no longer attracts walk-by derision for not being kept Bristol. Only the companionway, traveller base, galley hatch rails and a strip atop the transom needed varnish. But no more.  Black seemed like an extreme choice of color, however it looks good with the anodized aluminum and polished stainless. There is a fresh varnish job under the black so the theory is it can be easily stripped without leaving black in the grain in case someone with more years and less common sense than I wants to revert to constant refinishing.

 

BlackVarnish.png

Wow, boat looks great!  I have a secret hunkering for an SC52 but will unfortunately be able to resist the temptation.  For sure offshore again I will only go for a FAST passage maker.

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4 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

IIRC, Awlwood is a 1-pack version of Awlgrip minus the pigment, plus some extra UV blockers. So it is an extensively crosslinked, pre-cat polyurethane, activated with isocyanates. (Just checked SDS: yep, uses 4-methyl isocyanate, which don't spray without a remote air helmet.) It should have excellent abrasion, chemical, and water resistance. Maybe better elasticity than alkyd varnish. But the basic challenges of clear-coat UV degradation to covalent bonds don't disappear, even with tighter polymerization -- and the substrate-to-coating interface is still a vexing failure mode. Just with Awlwood, you have twelve very expensive coats fall off around your ankles, rather than six coats of Valspar. :(

If I were keeping exterior brightwork in the tropics, Awlwood is first choice. But it isn't magic. Wonder how it looks with 12 coats, tho. Urethanes over red/brown woods can shade blue and hazy, a problem exacerbated by dry film thickness >5mm.

 

Awlwood MA is a modified acrylic, at least here in Oz, and Awlgrip strongly recommends using their primer first. My only (good) experience is with the red-tinted primer, adds richness to the look since the Awlwood is crystal-clear. No sign of blue haze.

They've just come out with a new product, Awlwood Multi-Climate Gloss, for extreme climates (the tropics). No experience of it tho'.

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4 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

IIRC, Awlwood is a 1-pack version of Awlgrip minus the pigment, plus some extra UV blockers. So it is an extensively crosslinked, pre-cat polyurethane, activated with isocyanates. (Just checked SDS: yep, uses 4-methyl isocyanate, which don't spray without a remote air helmet.) It should have excellent abrasion, chemical, and water resistance. Maybe better elasticity than alkyd varnish. But the basic challenges of clear-coat UV degradation to covalent bonds don't disappear, even with tighter polymerization -- and the substrate-to-coating interface is still a vexing failure mode. Just with Awlwood, you have twelve very expensive coats fall off around your ankles, rather than six coats of Valspar. :(

If I were keeping exterior brightwork in the tropics, Awlwood is first choice. But it isn't magic. Wonder how it looks with 12 coats, tho. Urethanes over red/brown woods can shade blue and hazy, a problem exacerbated by dry film thickness >5mm.

 

So I had never heard of Awlwood before last week, avoid teak work like the plague - today at the boat a couple of boats down they had the synthetic teak for the toe rails, hand rails and seats in the cockpit and it just looked cheesey and cheap. As to the 12 coats, the guy talked my friend out of replacing the teak with the fake teak, also made a point of hiring someone who knew what they were doing. His specialty is wood on boats, and he either knows a lot or is one hell of a bullshitter.

To those giving advise on cleaning, I scrubbed the dorades to get them mostly white again but the insides are still permanent dark brown so will try that. Decades ago I worked for IBM and the IBM cleaning fluid was the stuff mentioned above, it was one badass cleaner and would destroy plastic and take the finish on paint as well.  Don't need to coach me on caution with that stuff (were no safety rules back then).

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23 hours ago, fufkin said:

IMG_0305.thumb.JPG.5a56bdc2ece3618ddcd55fc6c9308dc6.JPG 

 

  

IMG_0304.JPG

Try some MEK on those things.

Trust me, you won't believe how good they turn out. It will even remove most of that sunburn on the tops of them.

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1 hour ago, SloopJonB said:

Try some MEK on those things.

Trust me, you won't believe how good they turn out. It will even remove most of that sunburn on the tops of them.

I've had very good results cleaning vinyl with Marine Strip from Restoration Technologies. I have no idea what the solvent is- doesn't say on the label. Not cheap, but very effective.

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3 hours ago, Fleetwood said:

Awlwood MA is a modified acrylic, at least here in Oz, and Awlgrip strongly recommends using their primer first. My only (good) experience is with the red-tinted primer, adds richness to the look since the Awlwood is crystal-clear. No sign of blue haze.

They've just come out with a new product, Awlwood Multi-Climate Gloss, for extreme climates (the tropics). No experience of it tho'.

Awlwood MA may be a modified acrylic product (tho West Marine describes it as a urethane). But original Awlwood and the new  'Multi Climate Gloss' coating, is almost certainly a urethane. From the TDS:

Quote

Awlwood Multi-Climate Gloss cures by reacting with moisture in the air (humidity). Do not use this product in an air-conditioned environment. If the product is to be used in an environment where it is suspected that low humidity may inhibit the cure of the product, do a test patch before proceeding.

Moisture-cured resin says 'polyurethane' to me. Acrylics cure via pH modification, tho isocyanates may be used to crosslink acrylics too (that's why SuperGlue makes your eyes burn.)

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