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Old 10-17-2012, 11:12 PM   #1
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Varnish or Urethane?

Which would you use on interior woodwork and why?
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:23 PM   #2
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We use satin varnish on our interior brightwork because it matches what the manufacturer used in 1973.

But when we get around to refinishing the main cabin sole (teak parquet) we will use Daly's Seafin Aquaspa (satin) which is a waterborne polyurethane. As a test we applied it three years ago to the step inside the main cabin door. This step gets used every time someone comes in or out including the dog. After stripping the step I applied about eight coats of the Aquaspar. Three years later the step looks like it did the day I reinstalled it. We're amazed at how well this finish has held up under constant use. So we'll use the same stuff on the cabin sole.

It's satin but the more coats you put on the shinier it gets. Eight coats is still not as shiny as gloss finish, however. We quite like the look. The only thing we'll do differently when we do the cabin sole is apply a couple of coats of CPES to the finish-sanded bare teak before we start applying the AquaSpar.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:36 PM   #3
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I think Marin hit it right. A traditional satin varnish on everything you don't walk on and a good hard polyurathane on the stuff you do walk on.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:42 AM   #4
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I pretty much echo what Marin is doing. We refinished two tables with polyurethane plus the salon floor. The polyurethane is a harder finish and is easy to put on. You can apply multiple coats in one day. For the tables, I used Min Wax Satin. I tried using foam brushes with the polyurethane and found that I had air bubbles around inside corners and at joints. We will continue to use traditional satin varnish for the interior trim and bright work.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:13 AM   #5
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On cabin soles the use of bowling alley finishes is reccommended as they are claimed to be non skid when wet.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Which would you use on interior woodwork and why?
I prefer Rubbed Effect Epifanes for interiors, including floors. 5 years of usage and still hard as a rock. Not sure what the difference in the formulation is from regular varnish, but when this product dries around the lid of the can, it is incredibly hard to remove, in fact, you have to chip it off. Glad to hear others have had good luck with urethanes, but for me, nothing beats the Epifanes product.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:37 PM   #7
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Varnish is a generic term for any clear hard coating.

Eons ago varnish was made from natural ingredients like tree resin and wood derived turpentine.

Today virtually all varnish is polyurethane or water based acrylic made from synthetic chemicals. The water based stuff is easy to clean up but isn't as hard or clear. Polyurethane varnish can be hard and clear and comes in satin or glossy formulations.

I don't think there is any real difference between home store varnish and marine store varnish other than price. Minwax is a good home store brand.

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Old 10-19-2012, 09:58 PM   #8
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Varnish is a generic term for any clear hard coating.

Eons ago varnish was made from natural ingredients like tree resin and wood derived turpentine.

Today virtually all varnish is polyurethane or water based acrylic made from synthetic chemicals. The water based stuff is easy to clean up but isn't as hard or clear. Polyurethane varnish can be hard and clear and comes in satin or glossy formulations.

I don't think there is any real difference between home store varnish and marine store varnish other than price. Minwax is a good home store brand.

David
David, I don't think that is entirely true. Most high quality marine varnishes are still formulated from phenolic and alkyd resins and tung oil. Check out the MSDS sheets for the most popular brands and you will see this is true. The Rubbed Effect varnish I referenced does have a urethane component with an alkyd base, but it is certainly not a polyurethane acrylic.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:22 PM   #9
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Today virtually all varnish is polyurethane or water based acrylic made from synthetic chemicals. The water based stuff is easy to clean up but isn't as hard or clear. Polyurethane varnish can be hard and clear and comes in satin or glossy formulations.

I don't think there is any real difference between home store varnish and marine store varnish other than price. Minwax is a good home store brand.

David[/QUOTE]

David,

I think the main difference would be the uv blockers in the marine product.

Having used many kinds of finishes in my 51 years in the floor finishing business I am a big fan of polyurethane for the most bang for the buck. In an oil base finish Zip Guard, Lasts and Lasts and Hard as Nails work great and are available almost anywhere. For most of my work I use Lenmar urethane. I have not seen it in any hardware store. It is the standard brand carried by my supplier.

In my experience, the waterborn finishes are clear, the urethanes have a warm amber glow. You can buy hard waterborn finishes. My favorite is Street Shoe by Basic Coatings. It is a two part system available in a variety of sheens. There is a learning curve to applying it but should be easier on a boat rather than a large room. My cost this week is $81.00/gal. Don't think we need that degree of hardness on our boats unless we charter or have other extreme use.

What do I use? Regular urethane on the sole Flagship everywhere else.

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Old 10-20-2012, 07:25 AM   #10
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I am not a fan of waterbased polyurethane products. I had the oak floor in my living room done with a water based poly. Initially I thought it looked OK until a few years later I had an adjacent room remodeled and an oil based poly was used. The oil product had a rich color and the water based had a white tint to it. Oil for me in IMHO.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:06 AM   #11
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What about grip? We are doing the interior floor (yes, I know it's a sole!) this fall and want clear, but reasonable grippy for us and the dog.
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:27 PM   #12
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The cabin step we finished with the satin Dalys SeaFin AquaSpar is not slippery. I won't pretend it's like non-skid, but it's not slick like a gloss finish would be. I learned a long time ago from the shipwrights on the GB owners forum that 220 grit is the finest one has to go with things like teak trim, rails, soles, etc. So the wood was not glass smooth when the finish was applied. Even when wet we (and the dog) have never had a grip issue on the step. Haven't tried the AquaSpar yet on a large surface, though, like a cabin sole. But the boat's cabin soles have a varnish finish that is actually a wee bit slicker than the finish on the step but we've not had a traction problem on them, either.
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
On cabin soles the use of bowling alley finishes is reccommended as they are claimed to be non skid when wet.
What is a bowling alley finish made from?
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:25 AM   #14
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Bar varnish , bowling alley or gymnasium varnish are modern products.

How they get it to be no skid is unknown , to me.

Many games like basket ball are played on a wet with sweat surface , and bowling alleys can be wet with spilled drinks.

So the need for no skid finishes.

The antique Teak and Holley surface is no longer made as it would be hard to make in a machine.

The early T&H had the Holley stand proud a bit , causing the raised surface required for no skid.

Todays T&H is just for show , no functioning use.
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:23 PM   #15
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A friend, a non boater, suggested Gym Coat. It seems to be available in water or oil based formula. Anybody tried it?
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:30 PM   #16
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We use waterbase on the gym floors applied with a squeegie. Lasts about 4 to 6 years before recoating the hardwood. No idea how it would compare to what you currently use but its got good slip resistance. If it lasts 4+ years on our gyms it should last a lifetime anywhere else.
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:27 PM   #17
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....... Todays T&H is just for show , no functioning use.
Of course it has a "functioning use". It keeps you from falling through to the engine room!

Back to the choice of finish materials:

Not only is UV resistance important in a marine finish, but the surface is subject to temperature variations that would be uncommon in a typical indoor environment. A finish needs to stand up to these repeated variations.
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