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Old 04-06-2015, 05:51   #1
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Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

West Marine has this on sale now. EPIFANES. (f#%+&@ spell check). I much prefer varnish to Cetol, etc if I can keeps suncovers on stuff.

Anyone know if it is really clear or does it have an amber varnish color to it?
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Old 04-06-2015, 06:02   #2
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

It's been a while since the last time I used it, but as I recall it has a little amber color to it. It's quite soft and requires many coats.
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Old 17-06-2015, 16:10   #3
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

Yes, it has an amber tint to it in the final finish. Not clear.


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Old 17-06-2015, 16:35   #4
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

Varnish requires better prep to last as long as Cetol. Both will fail at roughly the same elapsed time. Its very light brown/honey colored. I tried Epiphanes on a few selected spots....plenty of bright work to choose from. Not worth the extra effort in my view.
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Old 17-06-2015, 17:16   #5
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

We are using Epifanes. We are stripping the Cetol off and replacing it with the glossy Epifanes. It is a very light honey color but goes on clear. The plan is to get 8 coats on the first year, and then very lightly sand and put on one coat, once a year.

It really is easy to maintain once you get past the stripping and varnishing all those coats. We simply break it up such as handrails, eyebrow, combings, etc. So far, so good and it really is much more beautiful than Cetol.
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Old 17-06-2015, 17:23   #6
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

Sanibel Sailor,

Look for answers from Florida, and other SE US locations, as what will do well in your climate is not the same as from the PNW, for instance. You will have more UV to filter out; also it is hot and humid in season, rather than cool and humid.

We have had many of these threads on CF, and you should be prepared for arguments from both the Cetol and the varnish crowds.

I, personally do not know which would be better for you where you sail. You might give it a go. [By the way, "clear" does not mean no color in this case, it means that you will be able to see the grain of the wood and its enhanced colors. It will be called "matte" or "semi-gloss" if it has flattening agents in it. Generally, gloss varnish is harder than matte finish, so better for high wear areas; the matte covers minor imperfections in timber better to the eye.]



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Old 17-06-2015, 18:22   #7
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

Starbrite Tropical Teak Oil. Anything else is hard work for no better return.
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Old 17-06-2015, 19:51   #8
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

Epifanes has a light amber color pretty much the same as every varnish that I've come across. It gives a really nice looking finish but requires 5 or more coats to get any longevity in a tropical sun. Unfortunately, even with 5 coats it needs constant recoating to last and will eventually need to be 'wooded' for damage or just the effects of UV. I don't like Cetol's orange semi transparent finish but the stuff lasts. Did some of the exterior wood with Cetol and others with Epifanes. The Epifanes just didn't last more than 6 months without recoating while the Cetol is still okay after two years though needing a recoat.

My old boat, tried keeping the cap rails varnished but finally gave up after sanding them down to about half their original thickness. The varnish just didn't hold up to the tropical sun and the abuse that a cap rail suffers on a cruising boat. Regularly would have to sand the rails back down to bare wood and start over. Eventually began to run shy of wood.
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Old 17-06-2015, 19:58   #9
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

I started using Epifanes when Interlux bought Baltimore paint and killed off Regata (the best varnish I ever used). I agree on the 'honey' color but for traditional spar varnish it was OK.

We've switched to Tonkinois #1
Le Tonkinois natural oil varnish and Flexidisc sander
I'll post pix and updates as time goes by but so far so good.
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Old 17-06-2015, 19:59   #10
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

If you had used Starbrite Tropical Teak Oil you would not be sanding between coats. Just recoat every couple of years. In Florida.
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Old 17-06-2015, 20:13   #11
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

How about teak colored acrylic paint? To get fancy you could faux paint the grain into it.


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Old 17-06-2015, 21:39   #12
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

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Old 18-06-2015, 04:11   #13
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

Thanks for the replies. I got a quart of the Epiphanes. Trying to keep varnish on something exposed to the sun here is madness. My first step in varnishing is to make a canvas cover. Next (at least on this boat so far) is to replace the wood with new. All the teak has been exposed/sanded/scrubbed and washed so much it is beyond hope. Nothing looks as good as varnish, and if the sun stays off it, the finish lasts for years. While those cap rails look stunning, I could not realistically maintain them, nor would covers be practical.
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Old 18-06-2015, 05:57   #14
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

Used Epifanes for years.
It will last 1 year in SE Florida / Bahamas before sanding and re-coating.
Next boat will have no external wood, unless I relocate to the Nort Pole...
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Old 22-06-2015, 07:20   #15
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Re: Epiphanies clear high gloss varnish

yup. Love Epifanse

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