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Final Finishing (Varnish)

Posted by rhbridgeman 
Final Finishing (Varnish)
February 06, 2017 03:16PM
I used Bristol Finish to varnish over the epoxy surfaces of my skiff the first time, which was 7 years ago. I just sanded down and fiber glassed my gunnels and rebuilt the oarlock blocks. What is the best product available now for covering those surfaces?
Re: Final Finishing (Varnish)
February 06, 2017 04:22PM
If you got seven years from Bristol Finish you had great luck. Why not use it again?

Rick Newman

Re: Final Finishing (Varnish)
February 07, 2017 03:08PM
Varnish is good cheap and easy. It can be brushed on or sprayed on . If you spray it you might want to use Penetrol with the varnish. Touch up repairs can be brushed on.

As to which is the best varnish to use.....I'll dodge that one. Bristol is probably as good as it gets.

More long term durable are clear two part polyurethanes. If the cans you buy have the word "marine" in the brand name it will cost twice as much. Clear coat automotive finish is essentially the same stuff. Automotive finishes work fine for drift boats but they are a lot more expensive than Varnish. You also need expensive spray equipment to spray it on (although you can rent it). Repairs have to be sprayed on too. There is no brushing automotive finishes.

One part (so called Marine) paints like Petitt Easy Poxy are a good pigmented choice. They amount to the same thing as high quality oil based house paint. You can clean up with paint thinner. You can brush it on or spray it. They're not cheap but they're cheaper than automotive finishes. The downside is color choice. With Petitt you get 16 colors and that's it. You can ask you local paint store to add pigment and/or to mix white with color but you might not be happy with the outcome. Easy Poxy is just a trade name. It's paint. It's not in any way epoxy of any kind.

With automotive paints you can choose from millions of colors. I'm particularly fond of the "metalic" hotrod colors.

Re: Final Finishing (Varnish)
February 09, 2017 03:35AM
Thanks for the advice. I think I'll give the Bristol Finish a go again, have had no problems with it brushed on for 7 years. The outsides of my boat are simply a green exterior latex house paint. It's certainly scraped off to reveal the fiberglass/wood where it's mysteriously engaged sharp rocks, but it doesn't really show them. The skiff's sides are short, so the profile of the boat in the water is low, and their flare makes them look even lower. I'm pretty sure any paint, automotive or not, would have been damaged against a good rock scrape.

I'm hoping to get the boat wet in March a couple times before turkey season.
Re: Final Finishing (Varnish)
February 11, 2017 05:00PM
RE> One part Marine paints like Petitt Easy Poxy, which is good high quality paint but not epoxy.

I mentioned in the post above Easy Poxy is good stuff but it only comes in 16 highly saturated colors. I have mixed white with blue and green in past, in order to get a more reasonable color.

Big Box home improvement stores don't carry old fashioned oil base exterior house paint any more. But small paint stores that cater to painting contractors do. There you can still get high quality oil based paint that can be pigmented to match almost any color. House paint may not be quite as durable as Petitt but it's good enough. Generally about $40 per gallon rather than $30 or $40 dollars per quart.

Automotive finishes at $50 per quart are a step above yet. But they require special skills and equipment to work with. Even the thinner (reducer) is pricey.

Oil base house paint is easily scratched. But it's also easily touched up. And it's cheap.


Here's an alternative I have NOT tried but I'm tempted. This is water based pigmented floor finish. I finished hardwood floor professionally for a few years. Water based floor finishes are a LOT tougher than exterior latex house paint. And they seem to get better all the time.


Re: Final Finishing (Varnish)
February 15, 2017 08:10PM
Along these lines- can anybody confirm that common oil-based exterior house paint would work over top of an oiled finish wood boat? I think I'll oil my boat in and out, but I think I want to preserve the option of painting later.
Re: Final Finishing (Varnish)
February 16, 2017 03:09PM
Yes oil based exterior house paint will work over top of an oil finish. If the oil is only recently applied you might want to wash the surface with a rag and acetone first. If it's a year or more old it should be just fine.

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