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Thread: Bright finish below waterline?

  1. #1
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    Default Bright finish below waterline?

    Trying to determine what small boat builders are using for bright finishes on centerboards, rudder, and transom. Is varnish the go to finish on these areas? Epoxy? Any one tried cetol, although manufacturer says not for use below waterline. What can I expect as to longevity and maintenance on these types of finishes? Appreciate any advice and personal experience.

    My wooden small boat use will be infrequent day sails, so water immersion will be a few hours at a time. Presently my boat is being built so all new wood to be finished.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    Foils get dinged and scratched often, so get used to the idea of touching up and refinishing. Of the options, varnish is easiest to repair. Epoxy only makes repair more difficult.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    "Not for use below the waterline" is usually aimed to discourage the idea of leaving the boat in the water for extended periods, as some of those finishes will eventually peel. For day sailing it is generally not a problem and as clear finishes go, varnish is usually the easiest to deal with and/or repair or refresh.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    "Not for use below the waterline" is usually aimed to discourage the idea of leaving the boat in the water for extended periods, as some of those finishes will eventually peel. For day sailing it is generally not a problem and as clear finishes go, varnish is usually the easiest to deal with and/or repair or refresh.
    Having tried the epoxy/varnish finish scheme on rudders and daggerboards, I agree with Todd....just use varnish. Especially if there's a chance of dragging it on a rock or shell and breaking through the epoxy. Repairing straight varnish is cake. Repairing epoxy and then ​varnish just doubles your workload.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    Considering that the center/dagger board is only visible if you capsize a lot, I would use a more durable paint for the board.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    the older Sunfish and even earlier Sailfish sailboards ALL had varnished mahogany rudders and daggerboards

    when dock sailed there were no dinging issues

    when beach sailed they required periodic attention to dings(sanding and varnish touch-ups)

    when raced they required a separate set of foils to be competitive

    hard to beat the look of varnished mahogany ;-)

    sw
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    steve

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    The combo of epoxy and varnish is a pita to repair, does one repair it with just a lick o varnish or a dab o epoxy followed by varnish?
    If one uses epoxy only, it's easy to repair without potential of inter layering the two different materials.
    Sun damage is gonna be pretty minimal on a rudder and board .
    Are you using a lotta epoxy on the build ? Or a lotta varnish? How will the oars and spars be finished? Using the same might make sense.
    Frankly, One might use varnish, but "poly" varnish,like one would use on a hardwood floor. Conventional varnish is not all that hard.The Sunfish and Sailfish of my youth did not exactly have beautiful boards and rudders.They were beat to hell.
    But this is a case of 10 ways to do it right.
    WILL the boat be abused by kids and drunkensailors ?...or will it be treated like a showboat with fancy decorative baloney to trip over?
    My own dingy bits are epoxy only, but I'm a drunkensailor whose board is actually shaped by reefs and sand,and they get a good sanding and recoat once or twice every season of use.
    bruce
    oh , def not cetol here.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    Thank you gentlemen for your comments. Seems the concentience is to use varnish for ease of maintenance. Will do, thanks again.

    I had thought the use of epoxy 1st would offer better protection, but didn’t know it’s a pita to repair or refinish. So, is coating the hull with epoxy prior to paint, the same situation? I see a lot of hulls being epoxied on this forum. What is the concentience on this … or maybe there isn’t one?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    Understand that coating something with epoxy and doing a really nice and good looking job of it is generally a whole lot of work. You don't just brush or roll a coat on and let it harden the way you would with paint or varnish. Epoxy resin is not paint and it doesn't go on smoothly the way paint or varnish can. The typical application of epoxy requires several thin resin coats, followed by sanding it smooth, because it won't be by itself and looks like crap if you don't sand it smooth. Then it will need final coating using paint or varnish with a good UV blocker to keep the sun from ruining the epoxy.

    Once finished, it may be somewhat harder in terms of abrasion resistance than paint or varnish would be, but it is by no means "abrasion proof" and fixing abraded spots is a more involved and difficult procedure. There is also a limit on how much wood thickness a few coats of epoxy resin can stabilize. Thick wooden parts are very likely to expand and contract a bit over time, often cracking the resin coating, so epoxy work is generally best on constructions like laminates, made from fairly thin layers of wood.

    Chances are as well that the epoxy is not likely to be adding any real "strength" to the product unless its use and the techniques used to apply it were part of the initial design and plan for the build. Epoxy resin can do some great stuff when used properly, but the most important thing to learn about it is probably when it can be used and when it is not a great idea.

    This is a free download of the best book ever written on wood/epoxy boat building. The guys who wrote it developed many of the products and techniques used today. It is worth downloading and studying before you start working with resins, and the vast majority of it will apply to any brand of epoxy products.

    https://www.westsystem.com/wp-conten...k-061205-1.pdf

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    It rather depends.............................. do you want to seal the timber or protect the timber, or both?

    My tuppenceworth - I seal ply with slosh on 2-part epoxy sealant made by Norglass here downunder (International make Everdure), I just apply the stuff until the timber won't soak any more in - doesn't take long. Then sand and paint with normal enamel boat paint. Touching up is simple. I use spar varnish made by Feast & Watson for spars and tillers, etc............. For the sole I use a satin finish polyurethane varnish because it seems to take the rough handling better.

    Good Luck Regards Neil

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    This is a free download of the best book ever written on wood/epoxy boat building. The guys who wrote it developed many of the products and techniques used today. It is worth downloading and studying before you start working with resins, and the vast majority of it will apply to any brand of epoxy products.

    https://www.westsystem.com/wp-conten...k-061205-1.pdf
    Thanks Todd, that’s very helpful. Appreciate your insight.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    What construction is your new sailboat? Plywood I would say ok to epoxy. Dimensional lumber and planked, or real lapstrake I would say no (esp lapstrake).

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    Quote Originally Posted by nedL View Post
    What construction is your new sailboat? Plywood I would say ok to epoxy. Dimensional lumber and planked, or real lapstrake I would say no (esp lapstrake).
    Thanks, nedL. My build is okoume plywood in lapstrake style. Shown here; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...bscot-13-Build

    My question really is, do I need to epoxy coat the hull? What is the purpose, if I going to primer and then paint anyway? Does the epoxy protect overall and seal the lapstrake edges and offers better protection than paint alone?
    Last edited by Kunzwerks; 12-30-2021 at 05:52 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kunzwerks View Post
    Thanks, nedL. My build is okoume plywood in lapstrake style. Shown here; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...bscot-13-Build

    My question really is, do I need to epoxy coat the hull? What is the purpose, if I going to primer and then paint anyway? Does the epoxy protect overall and seal the lapstrake edges and offers better protection than paint alone?
    That's the same style of construction as my Gannet - I used the technique I described above on the Gannet. Watertight now after I filled the glue gaps I left around the centreboard case!!
    IMG_1441.jpg

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bright finish below waterline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kunzwerks View Post
    Thanks, nedL. My build is okoume plywood in lapstrake style. Shown here; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...bscot-13-Build

    My question really is, do I need to epoxy coat the hull? What is the purpose, if I going to primer and then paint anyway? Does the epoxy protect overall and seal the lapstrake edges and offers better protection than paint alone?
    Sealing the end grain of the ply edges with epoxy would be worthwhile, but for the rest I like UCP https://sailsport.co.uk/product/inte...75ml-in401669/
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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