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soapysails 01-05-2013 09:12 AM

Varnish over epoxy
Has anyone had good results on wooden spars, by first applying a coat or two of 2-part epoxy to spars, then finish with a varnish to impart a good UV protection ?

gonzo 01-05-2013 09:15 AM

You can get epoxy varnish that will work better. Epoxy resin alone will eventually crack and it is really hard to remove to re-finish.

soapysails 01-05-2013 09:20 AM

varnish over epoxy
Thanks Gonzo,

Would you have or offer a recommended product line ?

gonzo 01-05-2013 09:24 AM

West System has a good product. It builds up really fast. Two coats are about the same as five of varnish. It leaves a some brush marks that you need to sand and then finish with regular varnish

soapysails 01-05-2013 09:38 AM

varnish over epoxy
Many thanks for taking the time to help.


jonr 01-05-2013 10:27 AM

I've heard good reports about spar varnish over epoxy, but only tried it in an interior application (where it worked well).

sean9c 01-05-2013 11:08 AM


Originally Posted by gonzo (Post 605634)
West System has a good product. It builds up really fast. Two coats are about the same as five of varnish. It leaves a some brush marks that you need to sand and then finish with regular varnish

Use West #207 crystal clear hardener hardener. Problem with varnish over epoxy is when you get lazy and fail to keep up on your varnish maintenance, end up with bare spots, the epoxy then yellows from UV, no way to fix other than strip off the epoxy, which is a ton of work

michael pierzga 01-05-2013 11:13 AM

Its the million dollar question.. Epoxy or no epoxy . No easy answer.

Steve W 01-05-2013 01:32 PM

I always use 2 coats of epoxy followed by as many coats of Flagship varnish as i have the time for, 2 coats easily fills the grain of even the most open grain wood and allow enough film thickness yo be able to block it down like glass, the varnish coats are then easy, i just dont have the patience to go all varnish. Sean is rigt though, make sure you keep on top of maintainance.


jonr 01-05-2013 01:42 PM

What about epoxy with an automotive quality two part polyurethane clear coat over it? Or Epifanes Clear Polyurethane Top Coat.

soapysails 01-05-2013 01:58 PM

My thanks to all of you that replied to my Varnish over epoxy ? I now have a plan to try a sample run on a like material..

PAR 01-05-2013 03:05 PM

Unless you need the epoxy, there's no advantage of applying it under clear coats, regardless of the type of clear coat. It just adds to the complexity of finishing, costs, repairs and upkeep. All epoxies will need UV protection, so something has to go over it, but the questions is, do you need the epoxy? As to the type of clear coat, well each has good and bad to consider, which are fairly well documented.

Petros 01-05-2013 03:29 PM

as Par points out, there is nothing the epoxy adds, so do not use it in this application. Epoxy is damaged by sunlight, you need to protect epoxy/fiberglass with varnish when it is there for strength. If you do not need it for strength, just install the varnish to protect the wood from the UV. Epoxy is a strong adhesive, but also brittle and selectable to degradation when exposed to sunlight. So why use it at all in this applications?

when it comes time to refinish your spars it will be much easier to remove the old varnish without damaging the underlying wood. Removing old, sun damaged and yellowed epoxy is almost impossible without removing the top layer of wood as well. All you do by adding epoxy when it is not needed for strength, is add cost, labor, and increase the risk of the finish cracking and allowing moisture under the finish. Only use epoxy where you need the strength, and you always have to protect it from UV rays with varnish anyway.

jonr 01-05-2013 03:41 PM

Why you might want to use epoxy:

messabout 01-05-2013 04:38 PM

The West system link is persuasive. It is also a bit commercial.

Many of us, including me, have spent small fortunes and huge amounts of time on elegant varnish work. Having done that, I am ready to concede what wiser men told me in the first place: "The best possible varnish is paint".

OK, so I still varnish in certain places that are conspicuous and easily accessible. Eye candy. I declare that a dinghy mast with bright finish is pretty and maybe worth the effort for the cosmeticly inclined. On the other hand, varnishing any mast that can not be erected easily, single handedly, and stored indoors, is a form of self flaggellation.

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