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Old 27-02-2013, 16:19   #16
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Re: Varnish

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Normally the first coat or two should be 50% thinner. Then the % of thinner can gradually drop. However I find I always need at least 10% thinner for even the final coat.
Do you use thinner or penetrol?
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Old 27-02-2013, 17:14   #17
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Re: Varnish

I actually use Pettit's T-10 thinner, because I'm using Pettit varnish, but I have heard of people using penetrol and other thinners... I wanted to be sure it worked
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Old 27-02-2013, 17:30   #18
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Re: Varnish

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One of the downsides of removing handrails is, simply put, putting them back! Really. They curve when on the boat, but want to go straight when you take them off.

Your choice to take them all the way off, but I don't.
A few years ago I decided to bite the bullet and take the handrails off and make it easier next time I had to strip them down again. It turned out to be easier than I thought and was able to reinstall them myself without help. Here is what I did:

THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: REBEDDING HANDRAILS: Part 1: Handrail Removal
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: REBEDDING HANDRAILS: Part 2 Epoxying the rails
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: REBEDDING HANDRAILS: Part 3 Remounting the rails
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Old 28-02-2013, 09:25   #19
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I've heard that varnish won't last more than a few months in tropical sunshine before it starts peeling again. Is it worth it to varnish this or would teak oil or semco be a better choice?
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Old 28-02-2013, 09:59   #20
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Re: Varnish

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I've heard that varnish won't last more than a few months in tropical sunshine before it starts peeling again. Is it worth it to varnish this or would teak oil or semco be a better choice?
It seems the trick with varnish that's properly applied in the first instance is to "catch it" by adding another coat before it starts really coming off. You'll first notice a loss of gloss/cloudy appearance and then small cracks in the surface. After that it will start to separate and you're looking at taking at least a section if not all of it down to bare wood again. If you catch it after it's just turned cloudy then all it requires is a quick sand with 220 or Scotchbrite and a recoat. If you see the small cracks you'll want to sand through those to a clean layer before re-varnishing. The good news is that the more layers you lay on the longer it should last b'twn re-coats.

Note: This is only my experience with Epifanes Clear with no epoxy or other sealer for the teak.
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Old 28-02-2013, 10:04   #21
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Re: Varnish

I found tung oil to be a great base coat. I usually rub in 2 coats before varnishing, it fills grain rather well. WARNING if you do this technique, your teak will not be the light golden blonde, it will be a darker richer color, more like you see on older teak boats. Varnish has an affinity for tung oil and tung oil seems to really take to teak. So with proper maintenance, the base coats will last a good long time.
I love Petit Ultra Gold varnish, it has a purple tint to it, and the first couple coats will look rather blah. This freaked me out when I first tried it. Since I was working on a wooden boats entire pilothouse I called the Petit rep to see if this was normal, but he said keep going. After the fourth coat the wood started to get crazy beautiful, and the ribboning in the wood just danced. By seven coats people were stopping by to take pictures, and asking what I did. I recoated every 6 month, you could probable go longer but I didn't want to risk my base coat getting cloudy and ruining the incredible prism effect.

Tung oil is also great for bronze if you don't want it to patina. Interior tung oiled bronze will last long long time, exterior will need recoating every few months. Nice thing about tung oil is that if you let it go, it just wears away, no flaking or peeling.

Hope that made sense
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Old 28-02-2013, 10:20   #22
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Re: Varnish

I'm with Exile. You always want to get to it before it starts coming off.

Lin Pardey has some good information on this.

Sailing with Lin & Larry Pardey

I have a lot of wood and varnish on my boat. Wish I knew how to post a picture! I sometimes get yellow spots where it's lifting.....I scrape with a curved cabinet scraper, then sand, feathering it into the surrounding good varnish. Wipe down with paint thinner to see how it looks - it will look different....probably darker.......sometimes you can get away with it, sometimes not. My wood is many small pieces, not many long stretches (except for the handrails), so I can limit a re-do to one piece and if it looks a little different than its neighbors, well, it's a different piece of wood. I can tape it off at a joint, and same thing.

I don't remove handrails, and I frequently don't tape. I'd never get done if I did. Lin Pardey points out, her varnish isn't perfect, and neither is mine. But it's good enough and it looks great. I try to do at least three coats, spring and fall, about 2 hours worth at a time. Caprails one day, cabinsides another. Handrails with one or the other or both.

Another cheat - "stacking" coats. Here in SoCal, if it's been less than 24 hours since the last application, it is close to, but not completely cured. Another coat will stick and save you a sanding. Sometimes I've managed 2 coats in one day.

I use Pettit's "Captains" varnish - thin with the recommended thinner, but it rarely needs it. I never work out of the can - I pour some out into a container, through a paint filter, always. I put that container in a dishpan with a second container containing a rag and some thinner (for removing oopsies). The dishpan provides secondary containment and makes it easy to carry around.
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Old 28-02-2013, 10:23   #23
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Re: Varnish

I'm in the same process... and handrails are a bitch. Heat-gun, scraper, sandpaper, dremel with a sanding head.... I used them all. I agree with whoever said that a scraper can damage the wood; I have a couple of gouges where I wasn't careful or my hand slipped. But I'm back to bare wood and just waiting for it to be warm enough under the shrink wrap to start varnishing.

This time, planning the usual 6 or 8 coats of thinned varnish but with a coat or two of Cetol on top. Then next year, I'm reliably informed, I can just scuff up the Cetol and put another coat on.

Connemara
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Old 28-02-2013, 10:39   #24
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Re: Varnish

make sure you get rid of the black stuff that looks like mildew down in the grain .. it will come back to haunt you.
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Old 28-02-2013, 10:58   #25
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Re: Varnish

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Originally Posted by SailPenelope View Post
I'm with Exile. You always want to get to it before it starts coming off.

Lin Pardey has some good information on this.

Sailing with Lin & Larry Pardey

I have a lot of wood and varnish on my boat. Wish I knew how to post a picture! I sometimes get yellow spots where it's lifting.....I scrape with a curved cabinet scraper, then sand, feathering it into the surrounding good varnish. Wipe down with paint thinner to see how it looks - it will look different....probably darker.......sometimes you can get away with it, sometimes not. My wood is many small pieces, not many long stretches (except for the handrails), so I can limit a re-do to one piece and if it looks a little different than its neighbors, well, it's a different piece of wood. I can tape it off at a joint, and same thing.

I don't remove handrails, and I frequently don't tape. I'd never get done if I did. Lin Pardey points out, her varnish isn't perfect, and neither is mine. But it's good enough and it looks great. I try to do at least three coats, spring and fall, about 2 hours worth at a time. Caprails one day, cabinsides another. Handrails with one or the other or both.

Another cheat - "stacking" coats. Here in SoCal, if it's been less than 24 hours since the last application, it is close to, but not completely cured. Another coat will stick and save you a sanding. Sometimes I've managed 2 coats in one day.

I use Pettit's "Captains" varnish - thin with the recommended thinner, but it rarely needs it. I never work out of the can - I pour some out into a container, through a paint filter, always. I put that container in a dishpan with a second container containing a rag and some thinner (for removing oopsies). The dishpan provides secondary containment and makes it easy to carry around.
All good info. I find it helpful to hit a section at a time and not wait for it to become one of those Herculean boat jobs we all know & love. I think of it as an ongoing process rather than something like an oil change which gets scheduled at specified intervals. This is why I like using varnish that's easily removable so when the inevitable lifting or dings occur I can easily deal with it. At one point I tried a two-part urethane, thinking that once I get sufficient coats down I could forget about it. Looked great for awhile but when water inevitably got underneath it became a disaster trying to repair. Ultimately I had to remove all of it and start over -- very difficult, time-consuming & expensive.

I like the idea of the Pardey's varnish patch kit! I once heard of a guy who kept a small bottle of nail polish nearby to hit any dings until he could do a proper sand & varnish. The nail polish would apparently seal the ding and prevent further moisture penetration. I'm not that diligent about it but I like the idea of the nail polish bottle with a small brush applicator. Maybe I'll go this route and just replace the nail polish with varnish. It is a pain to get all the varnish materials out every time you notice a small problem.

The posts on tung & other teak oils sound promising too, although I've personally never tried it. I opt for varnish because I'm away from the boat for months at a time and wouldn't be able to keep up with the more frequent applications it sounds like oiling may require.

Helpful to learn about the different approaches.
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Old 28-02-2013, 20:16   #26
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Re: Varnish

I can share a thing or two about Varnish, I've been laying it down for over thirty years.

Especially the last ten years on our Flying Cloud.



Here is a quick primer on my system.

I never use a sand paper rougher then 120 on bare wood, nor finer then 180 grit. The reason is anything below 120 on bare teak will just gouge out the soft grains, that will take forever to fill with varnish. Anything over 180 will generate to much heat and raising the natural oil in the wood leading to bonding issues.

To strip varnish that is well bonded I uses a stripper and saran wrap. Old crazed varnish I use a 1 inch wide red devil scrapper and a classic cabinet scrapper. Sometimes a heat gun, If I don't have sensitive surfaces nearby.

Now that the wood is scrapped, sanded and fared, comes the the sealer coats. But before that wet out and wipe liberally with turpentine, changing rags often, do this just before the first sealer coat.

Now to the sealer, my recipe is as follows 25% same of the varnish that will be used for topcoats, 60% penetrol, and the balance turpentine. I apply in about 3-4 foot square areas, then I go back and wet sand it into the wood with 180 wet paper. Keep moving in 3-4 sq.ft areas, at the end of the second application area go back to the first section, and wipe the excess sealer diagonal to the grain with a heave burlap. Keep working until all of the first sealer coat is applied.

This method cause all of the soft grains to rise, and the wet sanding knocks em down, the slurry created by the wet sanding fills in the pores in the soft grain.

Now after about two hours or when things are starting to tac up, apply a second coat of sealer, this time mixed 50-50 varnish and penetrol with a splash of turpentine. Lay down a nice even coat. The next day go back and scuff with a green scrubber just enough to knock off any roughness, and and shine. Wipe with turpentine and clean rags. The apply a coat of varnish mixed 75% varnish, and 25% penetrol with a splash of turpentine.

Now you have accomplished 2 things 1. you've created a bonding coat that will move with the wood, and 2. created the perfect tie coat on which you will lay down the rest of your varnish.

Wait about 2-3 days so everything can off gas. Now sand with 320 dry paper just enough to take off the shine, uses a new green scrubber to work any areas that the sand paper didn't dull, vacuum, and wipe with turpentine and clean rags.

Next apply your first coat of varnish use it full strength, and only add enough penetrol to keep the brush from dragging. Next day do the same, the following day do the same. By this time you should have on 3 coats of full strength varnish on.

Now comes time for my secrete weapon. Varnish fails for a number of reasons, movement of the wood, which we solved with the penetrol sealer coat. UV degradation at the wood to sealer/varnish interface which we will solve next.

Now you're going to varnish the next 2 coats with semi-gloss of the same brand as your gloss topcoat. Using the same sanding and turpentine wipe as before, with just a splash of penetrol. Semi-gloss has a particulate oxide that gives the varnish a semi-gloss appearance. But if you're going to all the work of a proper varnish job it better be gloss.

What these 2 coats of semi-gloss due is act a UV filter, when dry it does not hide the beauty of the wood grain. As long as you don't stop here. What it does do is cause the UV to scatter before it gets a chance to hit the wood to sealer coat interface in a direct fashion.

Now were are going to do 4 coats of high gloss varnish using the same sanding/turpentine regime.

That's all the varnish we will put on for the next 9 months to a year, depending on location.

Next year we want to hit it again with 4- 6 coats of straight varnish, sanding and turpentine, with just enough penetrol to keep the brush from dragging.

Now all you have to do is a couple of refresher coats. If in the tropics you will need do them once a year, if in the Northern latitudes you may only need do them every 3 years.

Lloyd
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Old 28-02-2013, 20:48   #27
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Re: Varnish

Flying Cloud that is a fantastic idea, never thought of using the semigloss to combat the deterioration of the base coat. How long do you go between base coats? As in how long will your varnish jobs last until you have to take her down to bare wood and start again?

Anyways, great post!
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Old 28-02-2013, 21:26   #28
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Re: Varnish

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Flying Cloud that is a fantastic idea, never thought of using the semigloss to combat the deterioration of the base coat. How long do you go between base coats? As in how long will your varnish jobs last until you have to take her down to bare wood and start again?

Anyways, great post!
Erika
I have base coats that are over 15 years old. Tung oil and other phenolic sealers are a problem for long term, as they harden with age even minus the UV.

The beauty of the flexible penetrol sealer coat, is even after sustaining an injury it typically just bends to the dent without braking the tie.

If anyone doubts the ability of the penetrol just paint on 2-3 coats straight on plastic visquene. let it dry and then tye it in nots, and watch what happens.

I only wood when required.

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Old 28-02-2013, 21:35   #29
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Re: Varnish

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In my opinion, it would look blotchy. Sorry, I'd strip it all and start fresh.
+1 on the blotchy. Keep sanding until you can't tell it's ever been varnished.
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Old 28-02-2013, 22:03   #30
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Re: Varnish

Gee it's all white gloss 2 part on my teak hand rails ! not near as pretty, but sure lasts longer !! And a good washing is all it ever takes! (of course Connie insists it be waxed a couple times a year lol) The only natrul teak I have on deck is the grateing on the cockpit deck. And that has tung oil on it
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