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Old 25-05-2015, 18:50   #1
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Talking Looking for suggestions on your favorite varnish for bright work

I kind of feel like the question may be like tossing a dog bone to a pack of dogs given the passion most have on this topic, but would love to know what kind you use, like and why.
With a 51 Formosa I expect to be doing quite a bit of it and have been flip flopping on the idea of going down to wood (it needs it this time) and then going varnish or epoxy covered with varnish.

Let the guidance begin
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Old 25-05-2015, 19:23   #2
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Re: Looking for suggestions on your favorite varnish for bright work

Yeah, great idea getting a Formosa 51..

Just kidding, I wanted one of those a few years ago.
The idea was to run a charter/dive boat in the Caribbean.
Found the perfect boat at a good price.
Wife however was not aboard.

As for varnish.
I have been using Epifanes since 2007.
It will last exactly 1 year in Fort Lauderdale before light sanding and 3 mainteancae coats.
Tried 5 coats, no difference. Maybe even 2 coats is enough.
Stripped everything, then built up 15 coats with 3 or 5 additional coats once a year, usually May or June.
Epifanes have a good reputation, but other brands may be just as good: West Marine or Schooner or whatever.
Tried Bristol Finish for a few years. Not recomennded. Too finicky, it will crack and let water underneath, then separate. It is basically car-clear coat.
Looks good when applied in the lab.
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Old 25-05-2015, 21:55   #3
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Re: Looking for suggestions on your favorite varnish for bright work

If you are talking teak, and you are as lazy as i am, there is only one product you should use. Starbrite Tropical Teak Oil.
Clean the teak. Brush on two coats. Every couple of years wash down the teak and brush on one or two coats.
Been using it ten years in the Florida/Bahamas sun. Nothing better.
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Old 29-05-2015, 20:20   #4
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Re: Looking for suggestions on your favorite varnish for bright work

Tossing a bone to a pack of dogs. Yup. That sounds about right. We've used just about anything out there-- Captains, Schooner, and Epifanes all have worked just fine. Of late I'm on an Epifanes kick because for whatever reason it doesn't skim over in the can and it goes on thicker (e.g. 2 coats of properly thinned Epifanes clear gloss is like 3 coats of the others) without dripping. That seals the deal
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Old 29-05-2015, 20:49   #5
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Re: Looking for suggestions on your favorite varnish for bright work

After speaking with a guy who's got the same boat as me in the same area, I followed his suggestion of saturating with smiths CPES (thin penetrating epoxy which is, allegedly, not quite the same as simply diluting regular epoxy with mek/etc) and following up with 5-6 coats Bristol 2 part poly.

The Bristol is nice because you can apply several coats the same day without sanding and they all bond together, and it's catalyzed so it's not like thick spots stay gooey. It's crystal clear and absolutely gorgeous. I let my sloppy build-up coats cure for a week, scuffed it and flattened the real sloppy parts, and applied the final coat tipping with a high quality, big honking brush, bigger brushes really make a difference for tipping and getting a flat, mirror finish.

If my source is to be believed, it'll last 6 years before needing a scuff and a few maintenance coats. (She's under a cover for winter). His experience, not mine, but after a year I'm happy to see mine still looking like new.

On the other hand, removing the traditional varnish with a flat scraper and heat gun was straightforward and fast. Not sure what it'll be like to remove what I've got on their now.
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Old 29-05-2015, 21:04   #6
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Re: Looking for suggestions on your favorite varnish for bright work

Ladies & Gentlemen,

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

--- teak oil

or

--- Nothing

--- varnish

--- cetol

--- nothing

---teak oil

--- nothing

--- varnish

--- cetol

Repeat as nessary...

Nothing much has changed in the last 25 years about this subject...

Your choice of vaaahnish.

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Old 29-05-2015, 21:29   #7
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Re: Looking for suggestions on your favorite varnish for bright work

Bristol Finish will last 2 years in the Florida sun.
In the meantime damage could occur from a crack, then water then separation and or big air bubbles.
Used Bristol Finish for 4-5 years in Florida.
Yes, several coats in 1 day if lucky.
Turned out to be more work that I needed.
Stripped all that off, hired a varnish guy.
Paid him $7-$8k to strip it all off. Sand and repair, then build up 12 coats of Epifanes.
Then a few maintance coats each year, like clock work. Hairline cracks and dull surface tells you when it is time.
My next boat will not have exterior wood and varnish, or it will come with a built-in varnish person who works for free...
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Old 30-05-2015, 02:18   #8
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Re: Looking for suggestions on your favorite varnish for bright work

For teak I use CPES to bond onto teak following Smith's' directions. After gassed off and cured I use one more coat to tie in the first coat of epifanes wood gloss. I use Epifanes wood gloss to build up and fill the grain without sanding in between coats. usually about six coats of wood gloss till I can sand flat with grain. Then I follow with Petit Flagship, usually 3 coats for max UV protection.

Re-coat long before cracking or crazing. Remember the gloss provides 1/2 of the UV protection, so recoat when the shine begins to dull.

Varnish likes to fail and lift in certain spots on teak like joints, especially if moisture can come through the underside. Smiths' CPES will epoxy glue the finish on the wood. I came across it when needing to awlgrip teak and have been using it ever since (last twenty years). No it's not the same as thinning West system with acetone.
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Old 30-05-2015, 07:30   #9
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Re: Looking for suggestions on your favorite varnish for bright work

Le Tonkinois. Very user friendly, no sanding between coats, you can apply over other brands of varnish, no cracking or peeling. I have tried them all and always come back to Le Tonk.

http://www.tarsmell.com/letonkinois_original.html. Click image for larger version

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