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Thread: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

  1. #1
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    Default 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    Has anyone used a 2-part varnish on a Sitka spruce mast?

    The boat is undergoing repair, and the mast is unstepped, so a lengthy application time is not a problem.

  2. #2
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    Grosse Pointe, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    My experience with two-part varnishes is that while they may have superior UV resistance, they tend to be hard, and prone to peeling at any minor fracture or crack--such as plugs, joints, etc. Masts are prone to lots of impact from blocks, shackles, rigging, etc. It's a bad mix. As for application time, most two-part finishes are quite quick to apply, and usually hot-coat quite easily for multiple coats in a hurry. Regardless, I stick to traditional tung-oil rich varnish, and don't even like the harder polyurethanes on a mast. (FWIW, we varnish a 70-ft Sitka spar every spring.)
    Last edited by Dan McCosh; 04-14-2017 at 04:29 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    Thanks Dan,

    The mast is 55'. I bought her about 3 years ago, and the PO told me that there were 6 coats of brand "P" on the mast. The first autumn I had a refresh coat applied, but in the Spring the East facing surface had failed. She was at a East-West slip.

    As I had a suspicion about her condition I had a second survey performed. Needless to say I have had her trucked to Main for some major repairs.

    I have taken the mast down to bare wood and need to weight the different options. The time has passed for me to be hauled up to the truck, and the prices that the yards around NYC want for a varnish re-fresh makes the extra cost of the 2 part irrelevant.

    I am aware of the hardness vs. dings etc.. Time enough to sleep on it.

    Thanks,

    Charlie

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    The other factor is that masts flex. 2-part varnishes are rigid. Again, not a good match. They are more prone to fracturing, instead of moving like a traditional long-oil spar varnish... thus starting the failure cycle.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    I agree that the two part varnishes are two inflexible for spars. You might want to research Awl Wood a single part that is suppose to be more flexible and long lived. I've only used it for a couple of years and never on a spar so I can't recommend that you try it especially on a spar of that size. I re-finished a pair of oars with it in the fall, That should give it a good test for durability in a year or two.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    My understanding is that some 2 Part Clear Coats can have superior flexibility over varnish. My basis is just from reading the specs to one of these products called Acryl-Glo, which showed a "Mandrell Test" giving vastly more flexure than spar varnish. I used their products for both spray and brush finishes, colored and clear. They even had an additive that decreased the diameter of the rod used for testing before rupture.
    I can only say that I have looked for this test in other products to no avail to try to compare.
    Acryl-Glo was sold to Sherman Williams years ago, and they market it as an interior finish, but gave up the Marine Market. It can be purchased from a distributor in San Diego.
    I think some of the negative commentaries on 2 part Clear Coats come from improper application over poor substrates and joints, people thinking it was a miracle cure, but I would like to see products ranging from traditional varnishes to 2 part Clear Coats compared with the same testing values to gain more understanding.
    That being said, some boats look best with ultra gloss coatings, some are best with more subdued sheens, and pine tar and turps in the right application are just so fine.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    I put "perfection" clear on my solid fir tree masts about 17 years ago. The product itself held up well, but the wood under it bleached out. After 2 years it looked like spruce,after 4 the mast looked like well varnished driftwood.i stripped it off the main and went to cetol. Interestingly, I put cetolOVER the perfection on the mizzen mast, so it is still there, and the cetol put some color back in.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    I stripped Drake's masts the first winter I owned her, to see what-was-what under the existing paint.

    When it came time to re-coat, I used Cetol, and have been using it ever since. It's a much friendlier coating for a mast. Much easier to apply, much easier to renew, and the stuff never comes off in flakes.

    I've learned to love the orange!

    Many photos here... http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...fluenced-ketch

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    Trump has given cetol an even worse reputation.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schweiss View Post
    My understanding is that some 2 Part Clear Coats can have superior flexibility over varnish. My basis is just from reading the specs to one of these products called Acryl-Glo, which showed a "Mandrell Test" giving vastly more flexure than spar varnish. I used their products for both spray and brush finishes, colored and clear. They even had an additive that decreased the diameter of the rod used for testing before rupture.
    I can only say that I have looked for this test in other products to no avail to try to compare.
    Acryl-Glo was sold to Sherman Williams years ago, and they market it as an interior finish, but gave up the Marine Market. It can be purchased from a distributor in San Diego.
    I think some of the negative commentaries on 2 part Clear Coats come from improper application over poor substrates and joints, people thinking it was a miracle cure, but I would like to see products ranging from traditional varnishes to 2 part Clear Coats compared with the same testing values to gain more understanding.
    That being said, some boats look best with ultra gloss coatings, some are best with more subdued sheens, and pine tar and turps in the right application are just so fine.
    If you have a 2-part, UV-protected clear that is as flexible (or moreso) than traditional spar varnish, I'd love to learn more. All of the commonly available marine 2-parts do seem to be substantially less flexible. And I'll emphasize - as Wiz's account shows us - the UV protection is important.

    I agree, though, that some of the failures of 2-parts that I've seen has been from the owner/finisher NOT taking that characteristic into account. If there's going to be wood movement, like at cross-grain joints, then a 2-part is probably not the best choice.

    I agree with the Cetol folks about it's longevity and user-friendliness. I'd certainly choose it for spars before I'd go with any sort of boat-soup.

    AND - once again, I must emphasize -------- Cetol is no longer the orange monstrosity most of us remember. It now has 3 color choices. Even the original, which retains some of the orange tine, is not as garish as the old-style. My favorite, though, is 'Natural Teak'. No orange whatsoever, just a pleasant, if bland and only semi-transparent, light brown.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Pleasantville, NY
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    Default Re: 2 part varnish on spruce mast

    Thanks Gents,

    There is a post in the Interlux forum (2011) asking the same question, and the reply from the Interlux rep was that it was fine to use the 2 part on the mast. Another post was from someone who had asked a Interlux rep and was told the opposite.

    The mast was re-glued with epoxy about 4 years ago.


    I am wondering just how much flex the mast would encounter? I don't sail her hard (often), she has a fraction rig with a club jib, and mostly sail in the westerner L.I. Sound, with a peek outside once-in-a-while. Rarely do I fly the working jib or the genoa.

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