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Old 04-05-2024, 07:22   #1
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Varnish vs oil

I know varnish vs oil has been debated here before, but Iím looking for some fresh perspectives for the interior of our teak laden boat. She currently has Epiphanes on her, but it is in need of a facelift. I lean towards continuing with the Epiphanes, but am interested in the opinion of those who have used oils, specifically from a perspective of protection, dirt/grime collection, and moisture retention.
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Old 04-05-2024, 07:53   #2
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Re: Varnish vs oil

I'm not a fan of oils. As you mention, dirt, grime, moisture... then mold.
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Old 04-05-2024, 08:10   #3
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Re: Varnish vs oil

Not oil on a boat. See Iron E.


There are easy ways to refinish interior wood, if you don't want thick varnish. Less work than oil. Light scratch sand first with a pad, even Scotchbrite, then thin it and either brush on thin or even wipe on with a small rag. It doesn't have to be gloss either; semi-gloss is nice.



Google furniture refinishing for ideas.
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Old 04-05-2024, 09:29   #4
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Re: Varnish vs oil

What about a wipe on poly finish for the interior wood? something like this

https://www.minwax.com/en/products/p...rethane-finish
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Old 04-05-2024, 09:43   #5
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Re: Varnish vs oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cari Laut View Post
I know varnish vs oil has been debated here before, but I’m looking for some fresh perspectives for the interior of our teak laden boat. She currently has Epiphanes on her, but it is in need of a facelift. I lean towards continuing with the Epiphanes, but am interested in the opinion of those who have used oils, specifically from a perspective of protection, dirt/grime collection, and moisture retention.
I've used oil on interior and found it fine, and a lot less work, and easily recoated a portion at a time while cruising without a mess. Especially on solid teak. I think the worry about dirt grime fungi is way over emphasized.
But a satin varnish looks very good. Not sure about putting oil over epiphanes though. You are already committed.

I've used the Minwax Wipe on Poly mentioned finishing guitars before. I found brushing it on thin was less work for any large area. Seems to work well though.
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Old 04-05-2024, 12:29   #6
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Re: Varnish vs oil

I've used tonge oil on the interior for 30 years. Yea, some mold once in a while, but it come off easily with a damp rag orcitrus base cleaner. Easily recoated and dries hard. I've testing tonge oil on some exterior teak as the Starbrite sealer I 've been using only lasts about 3 months. Bob
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Old 04-05-2024, 13:20   #7
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Re: Varnish vs oil

Going the oil route will mean stripping the Epiphanes. A lot more work unless you were already going to strip it. If the varnish is not in terrible shape, just a good sanding and a fresh coat or two of varnish would be the way to go. You cannot put oil on top of varnish.
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Old 08-05-2024, 17:52   #8
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Re: Varnish vs oil

What about using a varnish sealer before applying varnish?
Jamestown Distributors are advertising a varnish sealer to apply to bare wood, I'm going to talk to one of their tech reps.
I have a Cheoy Lee, which is basically a teak forest with a fiberglass hull.
On my exterior teak I've used Epiphanies clear with good results, four years in the Caribbean I only needed to do a light sand and one coat every six months, of course the original layup had 12 coats applied to bare wood. If you let it go too long it becomes a major job. I would also use an artist brush and some varnish to touch up dings.
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Old 08-05-2024, 18:02   #9
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Re: Varnish vs oil

I haven't followed the thread but I hope everyone is aware of fires caused by linseed (or vegetable) oil

Fires can be caused by the spontaneous ignition of vegetable or animal oils if the right conditions are met. These conditions include: an isolated fire; thick heavy smoke; usually a lengthy time frame of 2-48 hours; a box of rags, clothes, or other fuel load; and no other competent ignition sources.


https://www.iaaievidenceguide.com/ve...e-oil-residues
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Old 08-05-2024, 18:56   #10
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Re: Varnish vs oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeofreilly57 View Post
What about using a varnish sealer before applying varnish?
Jamestown Distributors are advertising a varnish sealer to apply to bare wood, I'm going to talk to one of their tech reps.
I have a Cheoy Lee, which is basically a teak forest with a fiberglass hull.
On my exterior teak I've used Epiphanies clear with good results, four years in the Caribbean I only needed to do a light sand and one coat every six months, of course the original layup had 12 coats applied to bare wood. If you let it go too long it becomes a major job. I would also use an artist brush and some varnish to touch up dings.
We seal using a diluted version of the varnish we will be using.
Thinning the varnish to 50% for use on bare teak that has been sanded, prepped, and wiped clean with a tack cloth or something suitable will seal the teak and give it the proper surface for the next coats.
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Old 08-05-2024, 20:33   #11
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Re: Varnish vs oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeofreilly57 View Post
What about using a varnish sealer before applying varnish?
Jamestown Distributors are advertising a varnish sealer to apply to bare wood, I'm going to talk to one of their tech reps.
I have a Cheoy Lee, which is basically a teak forest with a fiberglass hull.
On my exterior teak I've used Epiphanies clear with good results, four years in the Caribbean I only needed to do a light sand and one coat every six months, of course the original layup had 12 coats applied to bare wood. If you let it go too long it becomes a major job. I would also use an artist brush and some varnish to touch up dings.

I've used the sealer and have some test panels in the sun now (6 months). So far, seems like a good product. I've also started using Total Boat Gleam. I like it a lot, but too soon to say on durability. I've used it on paddles, and they take a beating, but not much UV. Also interiors for refinishing (like the OP is asking) where I really like it, better than anything I've used. Thin coats.
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Old 08-05-2024, 21:34   #12
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Re: Varnish vs oil

Anyone have pictures of what you used so that I can have a reference? I have a few items that I am planning on refinishing, like my cockpit table and my swim ladder, both are in major need of sanding and refinishing. I think most of my interior pieces are in great shape. I like the darker tones, but I'm not sure of what would be appropriate for outside in the elements.
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Old 09-05-2024, 09:22   #13
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Re: Varnish vs oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I've used the sealer and have some test panels in the sun now (6 months). So far, seems like a good product. I've also started using Total Boat Gleam. I like it a lot, but too soon to say on durability. I've used it on paddles, and they take a beating, but not much UV. Also interiors for refinishing (like the OP is asking) where I really like it, better than anything I've used. Thin coats.
My experience with Gleam. We bought a gallon of Gleam and Special brushing thinner 100. We're located in SoCal.
Exterior durability was poor.
We have loads of brightwork. We sanded bare and prepped. We sealed per Total Boat recommendations and used using all required temps, humidity, coats, etc. All south-facing teak lasted 6 months before completely deteriorating to bare wood. All other teak was fine. We did the above again... sand, prep blah blah... had the same results. Huge disappointment for us.

Currently we're using a Cetol method where we use both the color and the clear. We're going on 2 years of beautiful brightwork that we do a quick scuff and coat of clear every 6-8 months.

If anyone is interested in our current method, let me know.
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Old 09-05-2024, 09:42   #14
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Re: Varnish vs oil

my 2 cents? there are better varnishes than epifanes. one that stands out in my mind is pettit flagship varnish. an amazing product worth checking out.
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Old 10-05-2024, 03:17   #15
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Re: Varnish vs oil

To the OP: If you do plan to remove all the varnish and refinish, you might consider the following suggestion.
I spent many years making custom furniture using various hardwoods, oak, ash, cheery, European beech, NZ matai, etc. My preferred finish was the following: 1/3 spar varnish, 1/3 boiled linseed oil, 1/3 mineral turpentine (paint thinner). Its a compromise between straight varnish (which creates a film that stays on top of the wood, goes hard, and has to be applied with a brush) and straight boiled linseed oil (which sinks into the wood but never really hardens and can be applied with a rag). Linseed oil by itself will attract mould and get dirty. Varnish won't attract mould, but is prone to getting scratched (that's why many cruisers prefer a satin varnish which doesn't show scratches as easily as gloss).
My compromise finish sinks into the wood (with the help of being thinned by the turpentine), but the varnish component makes it go hard so you don't have the sticky oiled surface to attract dirt and mould. The mix is best applied warm with a rag. Keep applying it with about 10 minutes in between coats until the wood won't soak up the mix. Then wipe off the surface with clean rags until there's no more mix coming off onto the rag. It will dry in a day. You can re-new the finish anytime down the track by cleaning with mineral trups and reapplying as above.
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