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Old 12-01-2020, 05:38 PM   #1
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REALLY Frustrating Brightwork Issue

Back in May I went around all the cap rail on Sonas, scraped out and sanded all the spots, filled with four coats of poly, then went over everything with three coats. It all looked great.

About four weeks ago the varnish on my bow cap rail literally exploded! The varnish on the other cap rails is fine - the top coat is flaking a bit but nothing more than the usual Florida wear and tear, a light sanding in the spring and a couple of new coats will be fine.

The bow rail however looks like someone walked around and poured acid on it. I am now going to have to take a sander to it and bring it to all back to bare teak and start again.

Any ideas why this happened to the bow rail and not the rest? I was wondering if doing this in May when there may have been humidity in the air trapped moisture under the poly - but wouldn't that have happened to the rest as well?

I did have mechanics on the bow dismantling and rebuilding my windlasss but I can't see how they could have caused this.

First photo is what I was doing in May, others are examples of the rail now.
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Old 12-01-2020, 05:44 PM   #2
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I would venture that it's all the result of entrapped water in the cracks and/or the joint between the sections of wood.
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Old 12-01-2020, 05:59 PM   #3
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I'm speculating a bit, but it seems there are black spots or streaks common to the problem areas. That is likely to be mould & mildew. Prep with sanding wont remove it all, there will be some that is in the grain, or just under the surface. The natural oil in the teak can feed it, enabling it to grow. Once it has cracked the varnish then it can really get going....

So I am thinking that part of the answer will be to wash the teak with both detergent and a bleach solution prior to varnish.

Lots or folks advocate heat gun to remove old varnish to minimise sanding. It is possible that a benefit of doing that is that the heat could kill the mould & mildew also.

What is the varnish that you use?
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Old 12-01-2020, 06:23 PM   #4
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Menz, if you're gonna go after mold consider something like Moldex. It will kill the phylie growing into the wood. Bleach can't do that, it only works at the surface. Couple threads on the stuff in TF somewhere.
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Old 12-01-2020, 07:01 PM   #5
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I'm not so sure about the mold theory.



Was the rail totally dry when you applied the coats of 'poly'?
What brand 'poly' did you use exactly?
Polyurethane is not varnish BTW..
Is it possible you applied poly over varnish?
Did you do a light sanding (320) between coats?



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Since 1902, Epifanes has been setting the highest standards of paint quality in beauty, preservation and performance."
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Old 12-01-2020, 07:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bligh View Post
I'm not so sure about the mold theory.




What brand 'poly' did you use exactly?
Polyurethane is not varnish BTW..
I know, just a generic term for the action!
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Old 12-01-2020, 07:05 PM   #7
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If I remember correctly it was Helmsman Spar Urethane.
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:03 PM   #8
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Can't see any photos... Did you use polyurethane or varnish? If polyurethane, which one? I had some issues with Perfection Plus last summer. One event was with dew settling on the surface after applying a coat late in the day. Turned the coating opaque. The other was small eruptions that split and left a white line at the split.

I subsequently covered any late day coats with plastic after the 2-part material had "kicked", and they turned out fine. Will sand the sections with eruptions in the Spring and start over.
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menzies View Post
If I remember correctly it was Helmsman Spar Urethane.

Helmsman is not the best you could use. 'Twere me, I would sand if all off to bright wood, then apply two coats of West System or your favorite epoxy diluted with MEK to the consistency of paint thinner, or use Adams penetrating epoxy, let it kick off and outgas for a week. Wet sand smooth with 200 grit, then apply Flagship, Epithanes or some suitable high quality varnish. Seven coats minimum. The Spruce mast on my Cape George stayed bright for around 5 years handled this way.



And now you know why I don't have any bright work on my boats anymore.
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:25 PM   #10
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It certainly sounds like a moisture related issue. In 29 years of caring for the massive amounts of varnished teak on my GB42, I never had more than an occasional lifting of the varnish in smallish areas usually well over a year or more after application. My final iteration of teak care from bared wood (rarely done with some areas acreting 30 coats or more of Epifanes) was to wipe bared wood with acetone and apply two coats of CPES in quick succession. Before the sixteenth hour after the CPES, I applied the first coat of unthinned Epifanes so it would chemically bond to the CPES, or so the theory goes. After that, it was build up to a minimum of six coats of varnish with relatively agressive sanding after coat three and lighter sanding thereafter. Good for a year before a single light coat would be applied and thereafter for years and years.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:03 PM   #11
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Incompatible coatings it appears to me.

I had that problem w colored bottom paint years ago. Painted the bottom w a vinyl coating that I think was an aircraft coating as well.
The original bottom paint was yellow and the vinyl stuff (can’t remember the name) was light green.

Ran the boat from Marysville to Edmonds (Seattle) the next day and over half the green was ... gone.
It was determined that they were not compatible .. adhesion wise I’m quite sure.


I always use kerosene and small amounts of varnish to prime my varnish applications. No doubt about compatibility w 100% oil base product.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:09 PM   #12
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The photos are on a double thread I seemed to have created. I have asked a mod to combine.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:09 PM   #13
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I would agree with above. Mechanics using something on their hands that could cause condition?
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delfin View Post
Helmsman is not the best you could use. 'Twere me, I would sand if all off to bright wood, then apply two coats of West System or your favorite epoxy diluted with MEK to the consistency of paint thinner, or use Adams penetrating epoxy, let it kick off and outgas for a week. Wet sand smooth with 200 grit, then apply Flagship, Epithanes or some suitable high quality varnish. Seven coats minimum. The Spruce mast on my Cape George stayed bright for around 5 years handled this way.



And now you know why I don't have any bright work on my boats anymore.
I was just touching up in a few places and putting on some extra coats. Not a full revamp.

Thing is, the cap rails along the sides and cockpit are fine with what I did. So what happened on the bow. Maybe I'll never find out!
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:14 PM   #15
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I had these problems when I first got my boat.
With regards to the surface breakdown I sanded back to bare teak and then applied three coats of Everdure, before varnishing.
With regards to the joints I made up a template. routed out the joint and then used Sika to seal them and allow for movement, before varnishing.


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Old 12-01-2020, 09:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parry View Post
I had these problems when I first got my boat.
With regards to the surface breakdown I sanded back to bare teak and then applied three coats of Everdure, before varnishing.
With regards to the joints I made up a template. routed out the joint and then used Sika to seal them and allow for movement, before varnishing.


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Very nice work
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:21 PM   #17
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Double threads merged per Menzies request Some posts may seem odd or out of sequence as a result.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:24 PM   #18
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Double threads merged per Menzies request Some posts may seem odd or out of sequence as a result.
Thanks. Either big thumbs or slow Internet in the wilds of Florida - or both!
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:28 PM   #19
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I'm not so sure about the mold theory.

snip..
Fair enough, I did say that I was speculating!

Perhaps a close inspection of the rails will clarify whether the black streaks are the cause of the varnish failure, or an effect arising from the varnish failure. If Menzies is able to verify whether there are any black streaks under intact (not cracked) varnish that could shed some light on the theory.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:42 PM   #20
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Fair enough, I did say that I was speculating!

Perhaps a close inspection of the rails will clarify whether the black streaks are the cause of the varnish failure, or an effect arising from the varnish failure. If Menzies is able to verify whether there are any black streaks under intact (not cracked) varnish that could shed some light on the theory.
There isn't. The black spots are were the poly was totally off and water was able to saturate. During this trip I used sandpaper to take off all the loose stuff around it to stop the concentrated saturation.

So now when I get back I need to get after it all.
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