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Old 28-03-2013, 12:44   #61
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Re: Varnish

When I was a "varnish lady" I varnished, against my better judgement and objections, a teak grate in the cockpit. The very first time my customer stepped on the grate he slipped and hurt his back. I ended up stripping it off.

A trick another varnish person taught me was to apply clear non skid tape before final coat. The final coat of varnish totally blends in the non skid tape. After a year or two you can just pick the edge of the non skid tape with the tip of a knife and peel off to start fresh again. I found this tape can only handle about three coats of varnish before loosing it's non skid properties. I really liked the ability to remove the non skid without stripping the whole varnish job.

I've never tried this but here is a link to " salting the varnish" to achieve non skid

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Old 28-03-2013, 12:49   #62
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Re: Varnish

Lots of good options mentioned. We've used Epifanes on the exposed brightwork and sprayed diluted Epifanes onto the cockpit grate on our previous boat. No slipping on the grate and good results everywhere else if you're patient with the prep and the application. Of course, we're not in the tropics which might change our tune.

Along the way, I would also recommend picking up a copy of one of Rebecca Wittman's books, Brightwork or The Brightwork Companion. Even if you don't do everything she says, those who aren't pros will likely learn something and the boat porn is exquisite.
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Old 29-03-2013, 02:14   #63
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Originally Posted by Helen View Post
VARNISHING COCKPIT GRATE: only one reply to our query about varnishing our grate in the Valiant cockpit. It has been sanded & oiled enough that we are close to the teak plugs covering the screws. ANYONE have pros, cons, experience to share about the slipperyness of varnishing? Thanks.
I'll be interested to hear about this too. The cockpit grate on my Contessa 26 is also also pretty worn. I'm trying to work out if I should be going oil or varnish with all of the teak work in fact.
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Old 02-04-2013, 19:59   #64
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Re: Varnish

[QUOTE=Roy M;1196728]
Originally Posted by FlyingCloud1937 View Post
Epoxy has ZERO UV inhibitor, so any UV damage will be at the wood to coat interfaces, that is the white milky you see, that allows the wood under the coat to oxidize, and now we have a bonding issue.

Sorry, FlyingCloud1937, but your facts don't match mine:
Per (

105/207 has strong physical properties, so it can be used as a structural adhesive for gluing and laminating. It has excellent compatibility with paints and varnishes. An ultraviolet inhibitor in 207 helps provide a beautiful, long lasting finish when used with quality UV filtering varnish. 105/207 cures clear and colorless.

I have used the 207 hardener with excellent results. Here is an example, a 1922 Rolls Royce boattail, designed by Olin Stephens (that's him in the photo). Bob Dixon and I built the body a couple years ago, and it has successfully endured the elements during a variety of world tours:
Lets see,

a quote from the manufacture
207 Special Clear Hardener™ was developed for coating and fiberglass cloth application where an exceptionally clear, moisture-resistant, natural wood finish is desired. 207 Hardener will not blush or turn cloudy in humid conditions. Thin film applications roll out and tip off smoothly, requiring less sanding in preparation for finish coatings.
Professional and first-time builders like 207 because it is reliable and easy to use. Three coats or more can be applied in one day without additional surface preparation. Fewer coats are required to fill fiberglass weave and in most cases the final coating can be sandd the following day. Boats can be built faster. Builders also appreciate the excellent fiberglass wet-out characteristics achieved with 105/207, yet it won't drain from vertical surfaces like the very slow curing, low-viscosity epoxies.
105/207 has strong physical properties, so it can be used as a structural adhesive for gluing and l aminating. It has excellent compatibility with paints and varnishes. An ultraviolet inhibitor in 207 helps provide a beautiful, long lasting finish when used with quality UV filtering varnish.
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Old 15-04-2013, 09:24   #65
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Re: Varnish

Just an update to this thread. I read with great interest the methods and process that was outlined by FlyingCloud. We are refinishing our teak this year on the boat. The boat previously had multiple old coats of cetol. I didn't care for the look of the cetol. Looked thick and paint like after multiple coats. Lots of bare wood areas and wear areas as it has aged and is now in need of a new refreshed finish. We followed FlyingCloud's advice to the letter using Ephiphanes High Gloss varnish. Here is the cockpit table after the prescribed 12 coats.

Yes, it's going to take work to get all the teak to this state, however I look at it as an investment with the hope that if we are applying 3 - 4 maintenance coats a year that it will be a very long time before we have to invest this amount of effort again.

Very happy with the results so far!! We have removed as much teak that could practically be removed from the boat to refinish those pieces in the winter at home and once the weather cooperates we will start on the pieces about the boat.

Thanks FlyingCloud for the great advice!
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Old 09-07-2013, 22:18   #66
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Re: Varnish

Originally Posted by Exile View Post
Good find on the touch-up bottles on Amazon -- tks.

Does anyone have a rule of thumb on how much to thin for the purpose of getting the varnish to "flow" off the brush? I hear & read about this a lot but can't say I've been able to visualize or put into practice. At this point, I'm not sealing but just looking at applying maintenance coats so want to get as much varnish as practicable on. I use Epifanes brush thinner & always thin it a bit, esp. if I'm getting towards the bottom of a can of varnish that's been in the locker for awhile. I imagine if you thin too much you encourage runs, etc.


Add thinner in a small mixing cup no wider than a coffee cup while stirring with a round stirrer stick about 3 revolutions per second.

Add thinner VERY slowly until the varnish no longer ropes and the wake of the stirrer collapses fully before the next revolution.

Here are the results:

My complete process is detailed here: *The Bonne Amie Chronicles: Let's Talk About Varnish

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Old 10-07-2013, 08:46   #67
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Re: Varnish

I have a LOT of wood on my boat, and I keep it varnished. If I followed all the techniques listed here, I wouldn't get half of it done.

You have to have a bit of a playful attitude.....really.....keep experimenting and see what works for you.

Heat gun or Jabsco paint remover work for me if I want to go down to bare wood. But I rarely do. Instead I use curved cabinet scrapers to remove what needs to be removed. Feather it in by sanding the area. See how it's going to look by wiping with thinner. If it looks OK, then you're good to go. If not, sand or scrape some more.

Look at beautiful, old, wooden, varnished boats whenever you can. You'll be surprised. Their varnish isn't perfect.

Go to Lin and Larry Pardey's website and read Lin's take on patching varnish.

I'm blessed with my boat, that no one piece of wood is very large. So I can isolate a spot to strip if necessary, and if it ends up looking a bit different, that's OK.

As for thinning.....I use Captain's varnish by Pettit, which claims not to need thinning, but as I proceed, it gets thicker, and when it reaches honey consistency, it's too thick for me. Thin with the recommended thinner, despite the cost, it does make a difference in how it flows.

Keep it up! It's worth it.

Note: left photo shows varnish on left, Cetol on right. No comparison as far as I'm concerned!
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