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  • Varnish Question-gctid358992

    Before I moved aboard my Varnish on the outside deck of my 38 would last a solid year covered with a sloping cockpit cover when not in use. Now it is exposed to the elements all the time and will barley last 6 months. I use Z Spar Captains Varnish and still have a quart left.. My questions are: has anybody used the clear varnish over the top of the regular varnish? If so what brand and what were the results? As you know Varnishing is a pain in the A** and I would love to get more time in between coats.. My neighbor has a wooden 45 footer and they use the clear stuff over the Varnish and the paint. it always looks great and they only need apply it once a year. They swear by the stuff.. A second question is what type of Varnish do you use and how long does it last? All opinions and comments are much appreciated.

  • #2
    "Now it is exposed to the elements all the time and will barley last 6 months." I use Z Spar Captains Varnish and still have a quart left.. My questions are: has anybody used the clear varnish over the top of the regular varnish? If and but where candy and nuts? You answered the 1st question your self. 2nd question; Z spar only last 6 months. 3rd question; What is the difference between clear varnish and regular varnish? That is a real question! Welcome to world of Varnish. What is Regular... pine sap $$$


    • #3
      I used Interlux Gold Spar varnish for several years. I could get right at 11 months before it started breaking down....and that's under a covered slip. The area that went bad was exposed to morning sun. After several years of refinishing the front of my boat, I decided to cover the exposed wood with canvas. I should have covered the wood the first year I had varnished the wood. I would highly recommend considering this. Varnishing will get old very quickly.


      • #4
        Thanks for the input.. I agree Varnishing is getting old.. Especially if you let it go and have to sand.. I bought some of the clear gloss today and will apply it after 10 or so coats of the Zspar. Will let you know if it lasts longer..


        • #5
          I've never tried it but, do a search of this site for "Bristol!" It looks good but I don't know how long it will last.
          1986 3270
          Volvo 305s

          MMSI 338130047
          Lake Michigan


          • #6
            Thanks Ernie! Will do.. Nice to meet you and congrats on your boat!


            • #7
              CaptUgly wrote:
              I've never tried it but, do a search of this site for "Bristol!" It looks good but I don't know how long it will last.
              I put Bristol on a little over a year and a half ago, when i did my big renovation. It came highly reccomended. At 12 months time, it began to break down and peel on the bow and the flatwood around the cockpit on the side the sun hits at my dock too!

              All the wood at the window wall on the cockpit held up just fine. Its covered by the overhang, but NOT by any canvas, its just in the shade and held up very well!!! And this is month 20.

              The past week I am re-doing the wood with Bristol again. the cockpit is done, i sanded most of it off to re-do. The window wall, for lack of a better name, i just lightly scuffed it with 180 grit, cleaned it off and applied 2 coats. Now im on the bow wood or toe rail Had to litteraly scapes all the peeling with a scraper and now im sanding it down.

              So I guess it lasts a year when its exposed and over 20 monthes when its covered, if that helps!


              • #8
                after years of going with high end Spar varnish only to have it break down, last year I switched to Epifanes Wood Finish Gloss for Teak. It's not a traditional varnish, but is formulated to resist the natural oils in the teak and has high UV protection. Goes on like varnish, looks like varnish though. The guy with the classic Chris Craft in the sliip next to me swears by it. It has the added advantage of not requiring sanding between coats if you apply consecutive coats within 48(?) hours. I took the bow rails, pulpit and cockpit flat surfaces down to bare wood and applied on top of existing varnish on the vertical surfaces in the cockpit. I contacted Epifanes to get instructions for applying it over a traditional varnish surface (rough the surface well and cut the first two coats) and was pleasantly surprised by their customer support. It isn't cheap, and I only got 4 coats on it before the season started but after a year it looks like new (in a covered slip, so not necessarily a real world trial yet). I plan on another 4 when the weather breaks.


                • #9
                  40 years ago I was in an old boatyard in New Orleans and asked a old salty looking emplyee the question "what's the best thing to do with varnished wood?"..he waved me close to him, looked around in all directions , then whispered in my ear "paint it white".


                  • #10
                    We owned our 28 Bounty for 10 years. We finished the teak when boat was new and never stripped it for next ten years. It always looked like new. That boat had two large teak fish box covers on rear of back deck, teak rails and a lot of teak on the back bulkhead. It was outside in the sun and water uncovered all that time.

                    We have owned our 47 Bayliner for 16 years. We finished the teak when the boat was new and never stripped it again. This boat is kept under cover and has enclosed canvas but does have a rear bulkead (last one built with teak) with tons of teak.

                    We have used a product called Deks Olje on all our boats since 1974. A few years ago (2006), it was no longer imported, but I had several cans in reserve. This is a two part product, with one much like teak oil which I applied several coats by wiping it on with a rag. The second part is more like a very thin varnish with a lot of oil in this coat. I applied about 5 coats of the second part with a brush, with light buffing with a bronze wool piece in between each coat. On the 28 Bounty kept outside I only used the first part to touch up any areas that looked like they might be losing their finish, by rubbing on a couple of coats with a rag, with no prior prep than washing off the dirt. I did this every six months. If an area was scratched, I used a light sanding about a half inch around the area and put on more layers of the first part, oil finish and none of the second part finish. The part two coating is not required after the first application. On the 47, I have only added more of the first and second coat once in 16 years. The 47 teak is not perfect but very acceptable.

                    I just read in the latest Northwest Yachting that the product is again being imported. See
                    Started boating 1965
                    Bayliners owned: 26 Victoria, 28 Bounty, 32, 38, and 47 since 1996