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Old 21-02-2010, 06:08   #1
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Varnish vs Polyurathane

Hi, I was trying to decide between polyurathane vs varnish on previously coated interior wood. The present coating is in good condition but it is starting to dry out and the wood grain is begining to raise. The present coating is over a maple colored veneer. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks chris
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Old 21-02-2010, 06:31   #2
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Do you mean 2 part polyeurethanes?

Polyeurethane as an interior finish will wear better than traditional varnish.

The problem with 2-part pe's is that it can only be stripped with with sanding. Heat gun and scraper will not work. So be prepared to live with it, or deal with the extra labor later.

If given the choice, I would be tempted to use PE on an interior.
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Old 21-02-2010, 07:25   #3
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It might be a bit old fassion but some prefer oil based varnish. The reason being that if the wood is oiled first and varnished it can be kept up with oiling occassionally. With synthetic varnishes, urethane, and other suface sealers in the event of moisture getting under the finnish, it tends to lift the finnish from the wood. Then blending these areas to match the original is difficult. Oiling an oil based varnish occassionally helps to prevent this lifting.
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Old 21-02-2010, 08:02   #4
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I'm a varnish fan...I think it's easier to fix nicks and dings.
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Old 21-02-2010, 08:09   #5
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I have used Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane which is a very inexpensive polyurethane. I have used it with great success on exterior teak, interior teak, and interior mahogany. I used it on a Florida boat, and I was shocked at how long it lasted. And it looked great. I did thin the first coat or two with mineral spirits. That seemed to let it soak into the wood a little better.
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Old 21-02-2010, 08:57   #6
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Following on others comments here.

I have varnished interior bits that were formerly oiled. This was done many years ago. The varnish still looks as good as the day it was applied (Epiphanes).

I can see PE on something like finished flooring where you want the durability. But for things like cabin sides, trim, etc, PE may be a bit overkill.
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Old 22-02-2010, 21:13   #7
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Thanks for all the advice, thanks chris
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Old 22-02-2010, 21:35   #8
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New twist to the thread. Nix the varnish and poly. I am considering on my exterior toerails and hatch area sanding them down to bare wood. And as I was eight hours away from the boat before I now live aboard and can keep up with a quick oiling every month, why not go basic. Looks are just a small part of my consideration in this as it is an older boat but as long as it doesnt look like @$%^ I dont have to have the best shine on the dock. Heck I still get out more often than 90% of boats in the marina.

I am sure to get many oppinons but would like to get some ideas as to the best /simplest solutions to keeping the toe rails in good condition first and looking decent second, and third as simple/basic with little sanding upkeep. Regular oiling in my mind is better than yearly sanding.
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