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Thread: How to apply varnish outside?

  1. #1
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    Default How to apply varnish outside?

    Iíve got a plastic boat ( Island Packet ) with lots of teak in serious need of attention. Apparently the right way to do it would be to bring her indoors in a controlled environment, no doubt spendy and not worth it on an older boat. Problem is the really small sweet spot for applying varnish outdoors.
    Parts I can remove and re-coat indoors have come out great. On the boat I scrub, hose, and end up slapping on some oil before the next rain ( we rarely go more then two days without rain ).
    Any suggestions, either product or process? Not looking for perfection, just ok.
    tia

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    I found in the past for bodywork on a car, that small heat sources like coleman heaters and oil lamps keep the damp off pretty well under a simple tarp tent, until the overnights are dipping into 40s at least. Obviously you don't wanna be setting them up right next to your can of thinners or anything, or really when you're actually working or will knock them, but in between, they keep damp and dew off.
    2019: returning from being sidelined with medical probs, crossing fingers worst is over, still in "armchair enthusiast" mode for time being.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    any one of the fast setting ones will be fine- Compass by international is good, two coats a day. Otherwise Deksoil is good, they do a penetrating oil (part 1) and then top coat (part2)(that needs 6 coats over six days but it is not dependant on the temperature (rain however must be avoided)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Thanks for the inputs. Two issues. First, it’s a 30ft boat so tenting it is a major production, I do it every year.
    Second, most of the instructions, we talking fine print here, stress thoroughly cleaning the surface, then let it dry for at least 3 days, then, when it’s really, really dry, you can varnish. That is provided it’s not going to get wet anytime in the next day or so.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Howabout something like... prep surface, tape tyvek (or local equivalent) breathable wrap over it, leaving ends open, blow through with a blower for a couple of hours to mobilise surface dampness... secure those ends, then keep an eye on it, if you start getting condensation, run blower again, rain should just run off, moisture driven off by sun should happily vaporise through the tyvek, then pick your next weather window for varnish.
    2019: returning from being sidelined with medical probs, crossing fingers worst is over, still in "armchair enthusiast" mode for time being.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    It’s not that hard. Many boats are painted and varnished outdoors in New England.

    Only the first coat or two depend on the wood having had a few days of dry weather. The first should be thinned 25-50% which will help it dry quickly. For the ‘build’ coats, you only need to have the surface dry and dry enough conditions that the varnish sets before dark. You don’t need much of a window to get a coat on. For a last coat, you want low humidity and calm conditions.
    Once you get a base coat on, you can keep a finish for many years without exposing the bare wood to weather.

    If you only have limited windows of time, break the job up. Do the coamings one year and the toenail the next.
    Last edited by JimConlin; 07-20-2019 at 10:19 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Thanks for the practical tips.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Best to varnish or paint on an overcast day when it's not too hot. 70-ish and cloudy is good. Varnish in the morning if you can, so any evening dew doesn't cause the varnish to blush.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. ó P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  9. #9
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    Default

    Exterior teak looks best left to weather. Or painted.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    The trick is to get a good first coat. That's where the weather is important. With the sun we've been having lately (I'm 25 miles from you) - sanding in the morning, a few rub downs with alcohol (the boat - not you! Your alcohol comes after you're done ) as it absorbs moisture, then rub down with the appropriate thinner for your brand of varnish, then apply. If it's still tacky towards evening - have something to cover the area without touching the varnish - it's just to keep the dew off.

    Additional coats can be applied mid-morning - after thoroughly drying then scuffing the surface.

    Toe rails are a pain to cover for sure - but I can't remember if the IP has wood toe rails. I think the 31 footer does?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Thanks, she has wooden toe rails, 6-7 inches wide. There is also a lot of wood in the cockpit as well but I’ll do that in the fall after the cover goes on.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Is there a water based varnish?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Donald View Post
    Is there a water based varnish?
    Yes, but not many of us have had good experiences with it in boat use.
    There are some two-part clear polyurethane finishes that work well in some conditions.
    There’s so much prep work in boat varnishing that a failed experiment that needs to be stripped is a real disaster, so most of us are risk averse and stick to what’s worked in the past.
    I’d want to test it on something simple like a picnic table and wait five years.
    Last edited by JimConlin; 07-22-2019 at 07:23 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Well 20 years ago, after it was already showing signs of age, someone slapped a waterbased stain/varnish on the mother in law's picnic table, and despite apparently being dangerous due to (pre-existing?) rot some 10 years ago, the stupid thing won't definitively fall apart so I've got obvious reason to get rid of it. Finish is basically gone though, but I wonder if it did something, because apart from where rot had already started, it hasn't developed new rot. Trouble is, can't remember what it was, secondly, you can't trust stuff being the same formula one year to the next these days as different compounds get the enviro finger, so that info may be useless anyway.
    2019: returning from being sidelined with medical probs, crossing fingers worst is over, still in "armchair enthusiast" mode for time being.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Wait for a period of settled fine weather and for it to be forecast to be fine for a few days.

    Apply in the morning and with a bit of luck it should be dry enough by the time the rain clouds roll in about 2 hours later.

    Oh and wait for all the gulls and terns to finish nesting and gone out to sea again - otherwise your new varnish will attract lots of their poo.

    I quite like varnishing in the Autumn when the sea is warmer and here on th East Coast of Scotland the sea fog doesn't materialise. The months when it should be summer are just rain.

    I use Epifanes and get a reasonable finish that seems to last well. I will admit I am not a good varnisher but work on the basis does it look good from 10 yards away.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Just another data point - I've been using traditional pine tar / linseed oil / turps for finishing and it's easy to apply and looks pretty sharp. The first couple coats are raw linseed oil, got to let it kick between coats. I heat the mix to about 70 deg C for application. I don't worry so much about rain, the bugs do stick to it but they burnish right out to help form the next coat

    Cheers,
    Mark

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Thanks Mark
    Last year as time and good weather we’re running out I slapped on some oil and it looked pretty good considering. I’m going to experiment with your method. It sounds like a warm day with direct sunlight may be a positive.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Hi, yes - I apply in the maximum sun so things are warm... so opposite to varnish ! I've been using Allback linseed oil, apparently they remove all the proteins so it won't go black.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    I doubt they remove the proteines, but the oil may be fairly free from contaminations.
    There are basically three kinds of linseed oil:
    Cold pressed, if that's the correct word in English, where the flax seeds are just squezed to produce the oil. This is what you want if you want raw linseed oil.
    Warm pressed, again if that's the correct word, where heat is applied, it produces more oil but with more impurities, that kind of raw linseed oil is used to make boiled linseed oil, BLO is made by heating raw linseed oil and by that making the molecules stick together and have less of a penetrating ability but more ability to form a skin on top of the wood.

    The mix of Stockholm tar, or pine tar, with raw linseed oil is a traditional treatment over here, and it tends to not turn the wood as black as with only raw linseed oil.

    /Mats

    Elected Swedish Yourneyman of the Year 2019

  20. #20
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by mohsart View Post
    I doubt they remove the proteines, but the oil may be fairly free from contaminations.

    /Mats
    Well, the literature says they do.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: How to apply varnish outside?

    We may agree, actually. Pure linseed oil contains very low levels of protein.

    /Mats

    Elected Swedish Yourneyman of the Year 2019

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