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Old 18-01-2021, 14:03   #31
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

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Originally Posted by KadeyKrogen38 View Post
Cetol is hell to get off

On anything that's not flat, yes. On flat surfaces, just (carefully) attack it with a sander, switching to a finer grit and being more gentle as you get close to bare wood.
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Old 18-01-2021, 14:06   #32
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

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It's about protecting the wood. Everything else is secondary.

Most European sailors don't understand the first sentence while many American yachties consider the second one blasphemy.

Absolutely! I don't want to have to replace my my above deck woodwork (ever)

Cetol looks fine
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Old 18-01-2021, 14:54   #33
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

Ok - update from the OP here. I sanded two pieces - one with an orbital sander, one by hand. Both with 320 grit. I was interested to see that the 'low spots' are indeed aligned with the grain (see image below). This, I'm sure, is obvious to many or all of you so remember this is my first time. It seems very clear that the softer elements of the grain absorbed more of the initial coats creating the 'texture' that was irking me. So it wasn't (just) dust or the sponge brush. They contributed to some extent, perhaps. But really it was the grain of the wood as some of you have pointed out.

I do think I'll increase the temp of the Cetol as some have suggested to make it flow better. I'm trying to keep things simple so am trying to avoid thinning for now. We'll see...

The power sander seems efficient but, boy you have to be careful or you'll blow through all those carefully applied coats. Even with the 320 grit. On the other hand, the hand sanding seemed harder to make uniform and was more work.

I think I'm going to stick with the Cetol (3 Natural and then 2+ Gloss) and see how I do. For the top (this is a cockpit table) and 'money' surfaces I'm going to sand and apply extra gloss coats to try to get closer to true varnish. For the hidden pieces and undersides, I'll take more shortcuts.

I would love to see a side by side comparison of 7 coats of Cetol (with sanding) to 7 coats of varnish. I'm intrigued by the suggestion of Cetol for the base coats and then varnish for the final gloss coats.

What is the best way to remove the Cetol/varnish dust after sanding? I bought some tack cloth - but I created so much dust that it seems to make more sense to just rinse the pieces off on the sink.
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Old 18-01-2021, 16:30   #34
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

I tried Polyurethane over cetol on my cap rail, and it started to lift after 2 weeks, real bad but easy to remove after a year. However uprights in a shady area did alright.
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Old 18-01-2021, 16:36   #35
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

You get what you pay for. Whether you pay with money or with effort (work). Finish your bright work with a few coats of Cetol, applied with a foam brush, sanding with 220 between coats and you get a quick but mediocre job. Strip and bleach your teak and apply ten coats of high quality spar varnish using a badger hair, or at least a good quality boar bristle brush, vacuuming, tacking and sanding with 320 between coats and you will have a job that makes your yacht look like the lady she is.
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Old 18-01-2021, 18:33   #36
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

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Originally Posted by Downeaster View Post

What is the best way to remove the Cetol/varnish dust after sanding? I bought some tack cloth - but I created so much dust that it seems to make more sense to just rinse the pieces off on the sink.

On my toe rail I just use the water hose to rinse after sanding and leave it to dry over nite. Then I touch up sand any suspect areas, douse a micro fiber cloth with spirits and wipe clean, especially around fittings.


Prep is 90% of a decent finish even with Cetol I suspect.


Leave the foam brushes for the rookies. Too much work to ruin for lack of a $5 brush.
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Old 18-01-2021, 21:26   #37
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

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This is my first experience with any type of varnishing. I've read a lot about Cetol versus varnish but it seems to come down to whether the aesthetic advantage for varnish is worth the additional work. But I still haven't figured out what the aesthetic advantage is. The newer Cetol has reportedly mostly addressed the 'orange' issue. So what is it? Is it the smoothness of the finish?

.
OK, here's the thing. Varnish will give you the absolute best finish - whether full gloss, or satin finish. No question, and for interior use, that would be the choice (unless you wanted a quick and easy job somewhere it doesn't matter like a panel in a lazarette etc).

However, varnish, when it degrades under UV-C, loses integrity and starts to flake. To re-do a varnished finish correctly, you therefore need to remove the varnish and start again if it has got to that stage.

Therefore varnish is great for down below, but a significant maintenance issue up on deck.

This is where Cetol comes in. It is not a varnish and therefore does not degrade as varnish does. Cetol will give you a rich finish (far better than oil if you are looking for depth), but will not give you the finish a varnish will.

However, it degrades like oil - slowly just washing away. It doesn't flake, and when it is looking a little 'thin', just a quick sand, a wipe over with turpentine, and another coat is all that is needed to restore the finish.

If you called Cetol an 'oil varnish' then you would be near the mark - a coating with timber oil properties, that goes on like a varnish, looks like a varnish, but wears away like an oil.

A cockpit table I would treat with Cetol, a saloon table I would treat with varnish (two-pack actually, and sprayed to get a perfect finish - mirror or satin).

I hope that helps,

David
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Old 18-01-2021, 21:36   #38
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

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Originally Posted by KadeyKrogen38 View Post
First thing, throw out those foam brushes. I believe the last can of Cetol I bought stated not to apply with foam brush.

I use Cetol on toe rails because varnish will not hold up on those square corners it has. My wheel, cockpit table are both done in Cetol but can rails and hatches are varnished.

FYI, varnish is easy to remove to refinish when needed. Cetol is hell to get off
Tried removing two pack varnish? .
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Old 18-01-2021, 22:44   #39
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

It appears this is an interior application. Why use Cetol? Varnish will always look better and should last for years if not exposed to weather and sun.
And I gave up on Cetol for exterior teak. It doesn't wear off like varnish, it flakes off like paint, which makes it necessary to remove all of it before refinishing. Otherwise it will look patchy.
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Old 18-01-2021, 23:28   #40
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

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It appears this is an interior application. Why use Cetol? Varnish will always look better and should last for years if not exposed to weather and sun.
And I gave up on Cetol for exterior teak. It doesn't wear off like varnish, it flakes off like paint, which makes it necessary to remove all of it before refinishing. Otherwise it will look patchy.
Interesting - I have never had Cetol flake. It just slowly gets thinner and thinner, wearing away like an oil finish.
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Old 19-01-2021, 03:19   #41
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

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Perhaps you could do a search on

"The best marine varnish: Exterior wood finish tests"

Good luck
The best Marine varnish (and paints) are made by Epifanes - but they're VERY dear.
https://www.epifanes.com/

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Old 19-01-2021, 05:05   #42
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

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Originally Posted by coopec43 View Post
Perhaps you could do a search on

"The best marine varnish: Exterior wood finish tests"

Good luck
This is one of the reasons I've been looking into this. If you read all the tests and comparisons Cetol comes out well but doesn't look as good as varnish. But in what way? The tests use the recommended application which is no sanding. And they probably ended up with the result I show in the first post to this thread. But what if you do some sanding? Perhaps in the later coats as was suggested earlier in this thread. Furthermore, I think a lot of the dark/orange issues may have been formulated out in recent years. Plus now with Marine Gloss you have a harder, more durable glossy finish.

I'm not pitching Cetol here. I'm using it for this (above decks, cockpit table) application so it will match some other pieces and - it seems like a bit less work than varnish. I'm working on the pieces so will update in a few days.

Thanks everyone for the words of wisdom!
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Old 19-01-2021, 05:54   #43
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

I've had Cetol flake as well. I've found that on a lot of pieces, it doesn't fail from wear or even apparent UV damage (although UV does start to make it look worse after a few years). But even with an occasional maintenance coat, on a lot of pieces, at some point it loses adhesion to the teak near an edge or seam, then starts to lift, fail, and flake from moisture getting under it.

I re-finished the teak on my bow pulpit last year and went with the 2 part Interlux Perfection Plus. Application wise, I'd say it's more like Cetol and less like varnish. I did 6 coats (thinned the first one) and only sanded lightly after the 3rd and 5th coats. Came out looking great. Excellent color, as the stuff is clear (teak was only sanded and solvent wiped, no bleach). And it's very shiny and hopefully very durable.

Hopefully the Perfection Plus holds up as well as I've read it does, otherwise I'll probably go back to the more modern Cetol products (as they're half the price or less). But if this stuff means I can go 5+ years on a piece of teak before I have to do any major work on it, then I'm happy. That leaves more time to make sure all of the teak looks good, plus keeping all of the gelcoat polished and waxed.


Nothing beats the look of a really meticulous varnish job, but in the real world, many of us don't have the time to maintain all of our teak at that level and still do everything else. So I'll happily take 80% of the look, all of the protection and far less time spent maintaining teak.
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Old 19-01-2021, 06:56   #44
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

For outside teak, there are a lot of things that look better than Cetol, but none of them are as easy to apply and maintain as Cetol is.
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Old 19-01-2021, 17:37   #45
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Re: Is this the difference between Cetol and varnish?

I've been using cetol for years, and am very happy with the finished product and application. I don't sand between coats. Three natural and three gloss does the job, but you need to use a quality, natural bristle brush and "keep a wet edge" between loading the brush. So don't touch what you have already laid down, start in a new spot and draw the wet in to blend with the last stroke.

Hopefully that makes sense
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