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What Varnish Do You Like For Teak?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by DOCKMASTER, Aug 10, 2021.

  1. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    The varnish on the exterior side of my door and frame from the cockpit to salon is in need of re-finishing. This side of the door is teak. What brand of varnish have you had good success with that lasts a reasonable time? I've not been very happy with anything I've tried. I've used Cetol and Interlux with poor results. I'm looking for a high gloss finish on the door and frame and will use on the two window frames on the aft bulkhead. This area is pretty well protected and only gets wet when I wash it or rinse it down. Recommendations appreciated.
  2. Donzi 54

    Donzi 54 Member

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    Its not varnish but I have our brightwork done with Awlgrip Awlbrite only.
  3. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    Thanks Lew. I was using varnish in the generic sense. Does the Awlbrite give you a good glossy finish? I'm looking for something that will hold that look for an extended period and certainly not interested in some of the basic teak oil type products out there.
  4. Donzi 54

    Donzi 54 Member

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    I'm no expert but my experience is a definite, yes.
  5. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    I do a few double coats of Z-zpar/Pettit Captain's varnish. Double meaning Two coats between sanding. Once the first coat gets close to dry , with out sanding, do another coat. So you can do two a day. Get to six with Captain's . Sand the area smooth. Then two or more , single coats of Epifanes Clear Gloss varnish. Looks great on all of my teak trim/toe rails/door etc.
    I'm not a fan of Awlbrite, or any two part varnish. It's to brittle for me here in the North East with the change of seasons it tends to crack. It may work better Florida etc. with better warm steady weather.
    Apply the varnish with Jen-Poly foam brush ONLY, the other foam brushes stink! Foam is the way to go with varnish IMO, but must be Jen brushes. Have a few at the ready, toss it if it feels like its getting limp. I get a lot of millage out of one brush. Toss them when your done a grab a fresh one when ready. Cheap and easy. No brush clean up required.

    I do one coat in the spring, and one in the fall to keep it up. Bing, bang ,Boom...and it's done.
    TahoeJohn and yr2030 like this.
  6. Donzi 54

    Donzi 54 Member

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    I'm also in the North East and have not personally seen any of those issues with Awlbright. We multi coat our bright every couple years.
  7. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I ve tried a number of coatings over the years including Clear Awlgrip over West 105/207, Ceylon, Bristol and various varnishes

    For the last 4 years or so I ve switched to Awlwood Great product. Put a coat of their clear primer then a few coats of gloss. You can recoat in as little as an hour and don’t have to sand until the last couple of coats. And it s a single part product. Downside is $80 a quart.

    funny thing is that it’s not very well know
  8. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    I own a Flexible Flyer! I need things that give a bit. I've got lots of teak trim. Around the bridge, entire hull, toe rails , door. For me ,Two part varnish tends to fail at the joints where two pieces or more wood meets. That is where I've had problems.

    Your Donzi, just has toe rails in varnish? Or more areas of varnish?
  9. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    Hmmm, was just reading the reviews on Awlwood on Jamestown Dist. site. You got me rethinking my way of varnishing. Thanks for the tip Pascal. Primer comes in color hues? What did you use as a primer color ?

    Dockmaster, I would try the Awlwood. Sounds like good stuff.
  10. Donzi 54

    Donzi 54 Member

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    All my bright work is in the cockpit, window trim and salon door. My past boat had teak toe rails and plenty more. Never again.
  11. C team

    C team Senior Member

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    I have always had great success with Epifanes varnish on my Egg Harbor and my Chris-Craft boats.
  12. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    i always use the clear primer
  13. Donzi 54

    Donzi 54 Member

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    Can it be applied over a good coating or does have to be applied first to bare wood?
  14. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    You don’t need the primer if using Awlwood on a solid coating. I ve used it over existing epoxy/awlgrip. Not it works over varnish. I think the documentation lists compatible products
  15. T.T.

    T.T. Senior Member

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    Longlasting varnish comes down to proper prep, including any joint repairs, and if raw teak, sealing the teak. Good sealers include catyalized sealers too. For Alaska, be sure to be in temp. and moisture range and do finish early. I use Epiphanes in summer and AwlGrip M3131 in winter as it is faster drying. Look for a good weather window, prep, tape on,and go for it.
  16. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone. Some great info here.
  17. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    I have extensive experience with external teak and varnish, unfortunately.:confused:

    On the last boat with exterior teak I used Epifanes and had a Pro apply and maintain it:
    He stripped everything in 2007 and applied 12 coats of Epifanes.
    It will last exactly one year in the Florida/Bahamas sun: Every May we did (he did) hard sanding then applied 5 coats over the next 6-7 days.

    I have also tried Bristol Finish, but not a good product for my use: It would crack at joints, then rain water gets underneath and the area turns black.
    Also it needs close to perfect conditions during applications, no wind, no dust, no sun, no nothing.
    It probably works great in a lab, or in a paint shop.
    It would last over 1 year before it got dull, but not my cup of tea. Stripped it all off and started over with Epifanes.
    There is an old thread on these pages about my boat and Mr. Greene, the varnish man.
    T.T. likes this.
  18. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Awlwood
  19. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    If you're sure it is, sand it to bare wood and forget it.
    Having owned a 100% timber boat for 17 years, I'd rather not have wood anywhere on the boat exterior.
    But if there's one advantage of teak, it's that it doesn't make you a varnish slave, if you don't want to.
    With Iroko and other woods often used in boats, you must varnish or coat them regardless of your aesthetic preference, because if you don't they won't last.
    But with good quality teak, varnish is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
    T.T. likes this.
  20. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

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    I just recently started to like Epifanes PP-Extra with 2 finishing coats of Epifanes 2K-Polyurethane clearcoat. Will see how long the new love for that stuff lasts... :D