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Old 03-02-2016, 10:20   #31
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

I wouldn't spray the tiller, It's easy to coat with a brush , less mess. Put on as many coats as you have the patience to do. Sand a bit after the first couple of coats to remove the "fuzzies". A tiller cover is a good idea. I have found in Washington State where we get a lot of rain, that 3 coats of varnish will break thru to bare wood in spots in one winter. Then you have to start over!
Another option is good white paint if you are into that look. Paint lasts much longer in the weather than varnish.
If you can identify your wood as teak than leaving it uncoated is fine. It will get grey though.
I've tried many "varnishes " over the years. My favorite is still Varathane exterior polyurethane.
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:36   #32
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

Most tillers I've seen are laminated, so if you don't keep it coated the joints will work and it'll start to come apart. I had one come apart after 2 winters uncoated.

I'd agree with the folks who think oil might get a little dirty over time on something that you hold on to.
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:38   #33
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

Here's a question for the polyurethane crowd. I varnished the 5 forward Dorades last summer with pretty good results but am not looking forward to the continued maintenance.

I have 4 more Dorades on the aft deck and here are my questions:

If I use poly will they look significantly different than the varnished ones?

If they look significantly better than the others do I have to strip the varnished 5 down to bare wood and start again? Or (hope beyond hope) can I overcoat them?

Thanks as always.
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:07   #34
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

Just a thought, varnish is quite 'sticky' to the hands so can cause blisters if you ever need to steer for ling spells. Traditionally tool handles where always oiled or waxed to lower friction.
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:35   #35
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Just a thought, varnish is quite 'sticky' to the hands so can cause blisters if you ever need to steer for ling spells. Traditionally tool handles where always oiled or waxed to lower friction.
Well, most folks wear sailing gloves these days but I like the no varnish, no oil look.

It makes the boat look as if it is actually something that you use.......and why waste the time oiling and varnishing.
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:46   #36
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

for the OP, you may well do with a search on cetol, varnish and semco. You could read for weeks. Good luck.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

The "natural" progression of "dealing with exterior teak" usually runs like this:

--- teak oil

or

--- Nothing

--- varnish

--- cetol

--- nothing

---teak oil or Semco

--- nothing

--- varnish

--- cetol

Repeat as necessary...

Nothing much has changed in the last 25 years about this subject...
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:09   #37
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Take some 120 grit, and clean up the white spots. If available, spray with clear LPU, with many UV protectors in it. Keep doing it, till you've got 12 coats. It will be drop dead gorgeous!

If you don''t need ddg, just regular varnish, lightly sanding between coats, but build up the layers. We ALWAYS want to stop too soon, but if you persevere, it will be good, and only need a sand and one coat next time.

Y'all can oil it if you want to. But, for me, I'd rather varnish, even a few coats, and make a tiller cover to pop over the tiller and absorb uv while I am away from the boat.

The reason I am not keen on oiling is that it must be done over and over, and then builds up and oxidizes and gets yucky. 60 grit will fill with it, and you can't knock it out.

ann

Now that I've learned what LPU is, can someone educate me on "ddg"?
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Old 03-02-2016, 13:18   #38
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

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Now that I've learned what LPU is, can someone educate me on "ddg"?
See the last sentence of the first paragraph (drop dead gorgeous). Sorry.

Pete7: Excellent source of material, but you must have pretty strong hands to poke the needle through the marine hooding.

However, old scraps of Sunbrella work great for tiller covers, too.

For the frugal cruiser, do not throw away worn out mainsail covers, there's a heap of 1/2 way decent cloth left for little projects like tool rolls, clothes pins bags, and so on.

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Old 03-02-2016, 20:58   #39
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

Here's Don Casey (author of This Old Boat) on varnish, and all the other choices too: All About Varnishing Your Boat - Sail Magazine

David
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Old 03-02-2016, 21:12   #40
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

Varnish is a lot of work on a boat that gets used a lot. If you must varnish then cover it ...ie.. tiller get a cover. other bright work...toerail, eye brow, hand rails....I would oil with tung oil. the first time is a bit of work...7 coats one per day with light sanding betwixt coats. best done in the late spring or summer. but after that you just wash and wipe on some oil, done. oil won't chip as varnish and epoxies will so no worry of black spots. Done right tong oil won't gum up either. it'll shine as good as any varnish and won't look like a plastic coat, which is what varnish is. slippery you think? nope, in a down pour, it won't be any slipperier than bare wood. when image was a priority, oil is all I used. got many compliments too.

when stripping varnish DON'T SAND it off. use a heat gun and a putty knife, then lightly sand it. you won't loose all that wood. it cost a lot more in money and labor to replace that wood, when it's paper thin. the heat gun is faster too. altho you don't loose any wood if you oil it.
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Old 04-02-2016, 06:13   #41
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

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Originally Posted by goat View Post
I see she's practising for your wheel.

goat
Nawww.... I just have a very thick tiller....
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:26   #42
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

Okay, so I didn't read the entire thread, but I think one coating system wasn't mentioned.

The tillers I've had got treated with a miraculous product called: white paint

Remove the tiller and thoroughly inspect it, especially where it connects to the metal hardware, as that's where they like to rot and break. If all is good, prime it and paint it. Exterior latex house paint. It works on houses, and they get left outside all the time.

You get bonus points if you treat the holes in the attachment end before priming with the elixir of your choosing, like epoxy.

If you yearn for the look of varnished wood, you can look at the boat in the slip next to yours, or just go below and enjoy.

I'm glad my 1996 Catalina 28 MKII doesn't have a speck of exterior wood. I have more than enough to do to keep her ship-shape. What about my teak hatch boards, you might ask? Hah!.....gray, acrylic latex house paint to match the non-skid areas. Looks fabulous.
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:47   #43
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

An eccentric millionaire i knew use to paint his beautiful 48 foot ketch's hull with house paint. Even though it was fiberglass, Ed thought the paint kept the hull from crazing and looking dull. Was not the most elegant job, but it did make the ketch look brand new from a distance. Up close, the sags and runs in the painted hull kind of did the opposite. Each to their own.
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Old 04-02-2016, 13:18   #44
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

^^^
Some friends of ours used to paint their boat's topsides with a roller, in the water, and they could do a 46'boat that way in a day. Yes, it was orange-peely, but it was clean and fresh!

You would certainly have a point if you argued that having a professional spray your boat is a needles luxury.

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Old 04-02-2016, 15:02   #45
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Re: Varnish or not to Varnish ?

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Surprised no one mentioned Cetol as an viable option for your tiller. The mat finish looks/ feels almost as good as oil, but no buildup and no/ extremely light sanding every two/ three years (5+ if covered) for one or two coats (that can be applied with a few hours. Cetol is thin and mostly penetrates into the teak rather than mostly sitting on the surface with built up layers of 10 layers of 'candy apple' coats that some love or hate.

Styles come and go and cone and go... I noticed at the Annapolis Boat Shows for the past 4-5 years the teak finish trend appears to be heavily over to matte finishes. Cetol plays well in this trend. However, I started covering over to Cetol about 10 years ago as I was going through my 'adjustment' from the madness of varnish. I say madness because no matter what application technique I or professionals use... my teak toe rail would only last 1 year. Didn't matter if I threw 3 coats on or 10. Or if if 'sealed' it with thin West epoxy (what a time it was sanding that all off the following year! The reality was my 46' long toe rail expands/ contracts at different rate than the fiberglass deck and the fillet of varnish that naturally forms at their boundary cracks under the sheer allowing water to ingress up under the varnish and by mid-Summer the ugly yellow of lifted varnish because painfully obvious up and down the toe rail.

Because Cetol is penetrating and breaths, there is hard surface coating to crack and lift and turn yellow. Cetol slowly oxidizes and 'disappears' . After 2-3 years I just go over it with a scuffy pad and add another coat of (thin) Cetrol just as it comes. Couldn't be easier.


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Correct; any wood piece that can allow moisture penetration, will shed most finishes quite rapidly.

For this application, you may wish to use a penetrating stain. It won't have a glossy appearance, but moisture ingress in the bottom side of the wood won't lift the finish off. The stain will prevent "weathering" and mold collection in open grain oily woods.

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