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Old 05-10-2021, 03:21 PM   #1
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What's The best that's good enough

I have a question for all you experts. The question is "what's the best, most long-lasting varnish-like product?"

But first, a little context. I'm not trying do an immaculate restoration of a classic. Been there, done that. Decades ago, I had wooden boats and sanded/varnished my life away. Now, I just want to get a decent job on the cap rail of an old Bayliner. But, I've been out of the market so long, I don't know what the latest/greatest products are.

What's your informed opinion?

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Michael
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Old 05-10-2021, 07:17 PM   #2
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Many will disagree, but I found decent results with Cetol. Just use the Natural Teak colour, followed by 2 coats of clear. To maintain, add one more coat of clear each year. Admittedly I have not done this type of work for several years, and products could have changed.
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Old 05-10-2021, 07:31 PM   #3
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Cetol is a decent option. I did my pulpit teak last year with Interlux Perfection Plus after sanding to bare, smooth wood. After 6 coats, it came out looking as good as a really, really good varnish job with far more coats. And so far after a full season out in the sun, it looks every bit as good now. It's pricey and the fumes are awful, but it's easy enough to work with and if it holds up well... Plus it's completely clear, so if the wood looks good to start, it'll keep good color as you coat it.
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Old 05-10-2021, 07:37 PM   #4
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I put the second coat of Total Boat penetrating epoxy on my rails yesterday. It looks like varnish it even darkened my teak to an almost mahogany color. I will put a few coats of varnish on but I you could easily get away without any.
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:00 PM   #5
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Cetol is the best compromise between easy and long lasting. It will never look as good as varnish or the two part products and it won’t last anywhere as long as two part product but for most it will look good enough. Two part finishes are much longer lasting and really not much harder than varnishing. I am really liking Awlwood but I have nothing bad to say about Bristol or Interlux.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:26 PM   #6
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Unless things have changed just recently, epoxy needs some kind of coating to protect it from the ultraviolet rays. Either paint or varnish.
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelD View Post
I have a question for all you experts. The question is "what's the best, most long-lasting varnish-like product?"

But first, a little context. I'm not trying do an immaculate restoration of a classic. Been there, done that. Decades ago, I had wooden boats and sanded/varnished my life away. Now, I just want to get a decent job on the cap rail of an old Bayliner. But, I've been out of the market so long, I don't know what the latest/greatest products are.

What's your informed opinion?

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Michael
Not an expert, but I know what I like looking at.
None of the previous posters dealt with your request for a "varnish-like" product. I have been varnishing since 1977. I have tried all the varnishes that I have heard of. I have also tried Cetol, that those other posters have suggested.
If you want varnish-like, you need varnish.
The current best on the market is Eifanes, without a doubt.
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:32 PM   #8
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Which Epifanes product do you use? I tried it some years ago and found it was slow to dry, went white easily, and I really did not like it. There were two of us doing our boats at the same time and we both had similar experiences.

I realize what I did wrong with the whitening but the overall results were disappointing enough neither of us ever went back.
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Old 05-10-2021, 11:13 PM   #9
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Not an expert, but I know what I like looking at.
None of the previous posters dealt with your request for a "varnish-like" product. I have been varnishing since 1977. I have tried all the varnishes that I have heard of. I have also tried Cetol, that those other posters have suggested.
If you want varnish-like, you need varnish.
The current best on the market is Eifanes, without a doubt.
You took the OP’s question out of context and then you answered a question he didn’t ask.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:15 AM   #10
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I will second Interlux Perfection Plus.
Its a two part with UV, it last, this was on a swim step, so it gets lots of use, and is always wet. No complaints besides cost.
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by tiltrider1 View Post
Cetol is the best compromise between easy and long lasting. It will never look as good as varnish or the two part products and it won’t last anywhere as long as two part product but for most it will look good enough.
Our real world experience with Cetol (even though we did not apply it) is based on the fact that 10+ years later that darn stuff is STILL holding on!

When we bought the boat, the PO had applied Cetol on all the exterior wood (including the teak decks!) a year or so prior. It looked OK, but we wanted to try something different. We initially tried to remove some, but it turned out to be more challenging than anticipated. So we decided to let "nature take its course" and allow the stuff to weather away for a few years, which we theorized would make it easier to remove.

9 years of ownership later, we are now getting the last of the Cetol off. Granted, the last few years it has begun to flake off on its own in some areas, but not in others. It's definitely much easier to remove, though. It has been looking pretty bad, but this year we will finally finish it. We were going to use Awlwood, but have decided to go with 2-part Deks Olje from Owatrol (D.1 and D.2):

https://www.owatrolusa.com/marine/

We will let y'all know how well it goes!
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:36 AM   #12
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Here in Florida I've seen some boats done with Awlbrite Clear. When done according to the instructions, it seems to last /years/. The good news is one can do 2-3 coats per day and sanding between coats isn't needed or even recommended. The bad news is that it is really thin and ~10 coats (3-5 days of 2-3 coats per day) is recommended to get the longevity.

My boat was done with Awlwood, which is a dream to apply. 3 coats seems to get more than one year and less than 2 years. What I mean by that is that is that 1 year after I did it, it still looked really good. One more year later and it was flaking in places -- I'd waited too long to renew it.

My only "note" with Awlwood is that the coating seems to be water cured or catalyzed or something in that, when the can gets moist hot air in it, and it later condenses, the top skins over. If it is left out too long or too many times, it turns to gel. On really hot, humid days, if I've poured too much from the can to my cup, the stuff in the cup will start to gel. I've never tried thinning it (just poured less and less into my cup at a time).
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltrider1 View Post
Cetol is the best compromise between easy and long lasting. It will never look as good as varnish or the two part products and it won’t last anywhere as long as two part product but for most it will look good enough. Two part finishes are much longer lasting and really not much harder than varnishing. I am really liking Awlwood but I have nothing bad to say about Bristol or Interlux.

After a lifetime of amateur boat maintenance, including varnishing, I agree that Cetol is the best compromise unless you are a masochist or a multimillionaire. That is, once Cetol got rid of that truly awful orange color.
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:54 PM   #14
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Just a note...Awlwood is a one part, at least in the sense that one can use it right from the can.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:06 PM   #15
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Just a note...Awlwood is a one part, at least in the sense that one can use it right from the can.
Is it one part or two part that you put on one part at a time?

Technically it is a two part process. First a primer that needs 24 hours to cure and then you can add the gloss one coat every 4 hours. I put 4 coats of gloss on. Then I wait 24 hours and sand it with 400 grit. Then another 4 coats and I sand it with 600 grit. then one very thin final coat.

After that I come back every 3 to 4 years and hit it with 3 more coats of gloss.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:33 PM   #16
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Is it one part or two part that you put on one part at a time?

Technically it is a two part process. First a primer that needs 24 hours to cure and then you can add the gloss one coat every 4 hours. I put 4 coats of gloss on. Then I wait 24 hours and sand it with 400 grit. Then another 4 coats and I sand it with 600 grit. then one very thin final coat.

After that I come back every 3 to 4 years and hit it with 3 more coats of gloss.
Yes, it does need a primer before the /very first ever/ top coat with it. But, it does not need that primer before additional coats, even when maintaining it years later.

It isn't, for example, like Awlbrite clear where you have to mix parts, let it induce, and use what you mixed before it goes bad. You can just pour it right from the can and use it. This is true of both the primer and top coat.

I have a feeling, just from the way it has cured for me in various weather that it is chemically a 2-part and that water, moisture from the air, is one part. But, I am basically making that up. It is just a self imagined model that matches my observations and helps me predict how much I can have in my working cup (the more humid, the hotter, the less I keep unsealed and outdoors while working)
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:48 PM   #17
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Historic Vessel Vega who are in South East Asia recommend Jotun Woodshield


Quote:

When you own a traditional wooden boat varnish is important. Over the years we tried them all from the expensive stuff to local brands and learned a lot along the way. Living in the tropics and spending the better part of the year at sea, Vega provides the perfect testbed. Here is what we learned. Most varnishes create a hard coating that cannot move with the wood or breath as humidity changes. That eventually causes them to start peeling away.
Then comes the question of UV protection. Most yacht varnish is designed for northern latitudes where UV is not a big problem. For us it is a serious consideration.
When I complained to a friend at Jotun about our time spent every year sanding, et al, and the expense of varnish, he sent me the following comment. “Try Jotun Woodshield. It is specially formulated to provide flexibility and deep penetration for exterior wooden surfaces, offers twice the UV protection, minimizes colour fading, and protects the wood from cracking, peeling, and erosion.” We took his advice, first on a few sample surfaces then on everything, and the stuff really works. And best of all a 5 litre tin costs less than a small can of Epifane.


https://www.jotun.com/ap/en/b2c/prod...eld/index.aspx
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:42 PM   #18
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I have had Awlwood on for over four years in South Florida and Texas sun.

I have just touched up a few areas.

It is a very flexible product but you must learn to thin it and work with it. It dries with humidity. It is also very hard.

The finished product looks dipped in glass. So shows imperfections. Cetol looks dipped in motor oil.

Go to my blog, grandbankschoices, and you can see some of the places we have used it, and results.
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:34 PM   #19
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I have become a big fan of Awlwood, having previously been quite satisfied with Cetol. There is no comparison between the two in terms of the quality and depth of finish...Awlwood looks fabulous. And in sub tropical Australian east coast conditions it lasts much better than Cetol. Gkesden above gave advice I'd completely agree with. I'd only add that it is best to apply the gloss coats on a warm, cloudy and humid day. Avoid application in full sun and very dry conditions. It is easy to apply 7-8 coats of gloss over the primer over a couple days....that should be maintenance free for 3~4 years, then add 2 coats of gloss in a half day for another 3 years of looking great. Beware the description of the two available (and essential) primers: the version described as Yellow is very red on teak; the Red primer is very, very dark red/mahogany on teak. I think the Yellow is fine so long as you are not expecting a light golden effect.
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Old 05-14-2021, 12:02 AM   #20
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For those thinking of using Awlwood. Clear prime turns teak brown. As Aquabelle mentioned Yellow Prime adds a slight red to the teak and Red Primer turns it a deep red.
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