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Thread: a dumb newbie question

  1. #1
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    Default a dumb newbie question

    I'm building a plywood sailing skiff. I am treating all of the plywood with epoxy to create a moisture barrier and prepare the surface for paining. However, I would like to just leave the hardwood -- e.g. inwales, braces, knees, etc. -- unpainted. Should I treat this wood with epoxy as well to create a moisture barrier? Leave it untreated and use varnish?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: a dumb newbie question

    Hooboy - this will get 29 opinions from 24 people.

    My personal experience is that you're better off with varnish & no epoxy. On my boat, the former owner epoxied everything before varnishing & it all yellowed after 2-3 years, even with many coats of varnish on top.

    Thing is you have to do plenty of coats - minimum 7 to begin with, then a couple each season. Keeping the varnished wood covered will help a great deal.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  3. #3
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    Default Re: a dumb newbie question

    Yup, agree. No epoxy on brightwork. There are lots of bright finishes available other than varnish, but don't use epoxy as a base layer.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: a dumb newbie question

    My experience agrees with what's said, especially anyplace that might get a scratch or ding. It looks great initially, but once you get a ding or scratch and get some water under the epoxy all that's left for you is to try to make it to the treeline. One of my winter projects is to sand all the epoxy off my tiller and start over with varnish, fixing the small area of rot I've created.

  5. #5
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    Winter Harbor, ME
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    Default Re: a dumb newbie question

    Another no epoxy vote. I would also suggest you look into Cetol with the clear topcoat. Easier to apply and repair than varnish in my opinion.
    Everything changes . Everything is connected . Pay attention

  6. #6
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    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
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    Default Re: a dumb newbie question

    "Plywood sailing skiff" is not enough info.
    How big,what ply,what wood for trim, what use, where used, how stored,what top coat.
    Epoxy is not a miracle .It may even not be correct for under the "paint".
    Your question is not dumb, but the answer is not simple.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: a dumb newbie question

    As Wiz pointed out, the only "Dumb" newbie question is the one that doesn't get asked

  8. #8
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    Default Re: a dumb newbie question

    Watch out for the anti-epoxy guys - especially the Cetol ones.

    It is easier to get a strong epoxy coat if you use one layer of glass to add thickness. 7 coats????? Download a copy of Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction (5th version) or buy the book which I like better.

    Most but not all epoxy does give a yellowish tint.

    Paint is the best protection for epoxy from the sun. I won't ever do another boat bright.

    On the other hand, epoxy is a lot of trouble to apply well.

    Ask lots of dumb questions, and even more about the answers.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: a dumb newbie question

    Quote Originally Posted by upchurchmr View Post
    Watch out for the anti-epoxy guys - especially the Cetol ones.

    It is easier to get a strong epoxy coat if you use one layer of glass to add thickness. 7 coats????? Download a copy of Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction (5th version) or buy the book which I like better.

    Most but not all epoxy does give a yellowish tint.

    Paint is the best protection for epoxy from the sun. I won't ever do another boat bright.

    On the other hand, epoxy is a lot of trouble to apply well.

    Ask lots of dumb questions, and even more about the answers.
    Are the cetol folks evil or something? I said 7 coats of varnish, not epoxy - as he was asking about brightwork. I am not anti-epoxy, I am pro-epoxy when it's the right place (gluing, filling, when laying glass, etc.) - but coating wood with epoxy & then varnishing is not the right place for it IMO.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  10. #10
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    Default Re: a dumb newbie question

    West system 207 special coating hardener. won't yellow. Just enough to soak in. no need to build up layers of it. It's made to be clear coated over with varnish. It does help and can't hurt if it's varnish you want. Otherwise Cetol IS great stuff. But should be put on bare wood. It's really a personal thing. Both will hold up well. good Luck.
    Last edited by David Satter; 12-02-2021 at 09:23 AM.
    David Satter www.sattersrestoration.com
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten" Ben Franklin

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