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Which Varnish

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by sparetime, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. sparetime

    sparetime Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Which varnish do you recommend for a wood canvas?
  2. Michael Leone

    Michael Leone You call that a sail?

    That's almost like asking which religion is best, personaly I lean towards
    Man O War Spar Varnish because it's the only varnish left on the market
    that is real varnish. Others are actualy poly's in disguise
    I also like the way it goes on, it sands well without rolling up or clogging
    the papper and I love the way my shop and the boats smell when I use it,
    It's that real nautical boaty kind of smell.
    Boaty? Maybe I've been smelling to much varnish:eek:

    Now let's talk about religion! Well, maybe that's not such a good idea.

  3. David McDaniel

    David McDaniel Canoe Dude

    There are many good brands of varnish on the market, but I have to
    agree with Mike as far as aroma. There is not a better smelling varnish than
    MAN O WAR, it is almost addictive!
    OK, my name is David and I have a Varnish Addiction!!!!:D
  4. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Ahhh... many addictions within the canoe-addiction!
  5. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I tend to lean toward Interlux, can't remember which name, but it's also traditional varnish, not poly. It also smells good. :)

  6. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    I love Z-Spar Captains...
  7. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    “ …'s the only varnish left on the market that is real varnish. Others are actualy poly's in disguise”

    I hate to be the naysayer, but this statement is not exactly true.

    Varnish is basically oil mixed or cooked with resin with a drier added in for curing. The oil can either be linseed or tung. Traditional resin was usually fossilized sap from pine trees. I am not aware of any varnish on the market today that uses pine sap as the resin. Maybe it’s out there somewhere but I doubt it.

    Today all varnishes are commonly made from synthetic resins; either phenolic, alkyd, polyurethane, or a combination of phenolic and alkyd is used.

    What makes varnishes different from each other is the type of oil and resin that is cooked together. The amount of oil used makes a difference too. For example, what makes a varnish a spar varnish is a high percentage of oil in the mixture. This keeps the varnish soft. Today UV protectors are a factor but traditionally they were not.

    There are some very high quality marine/spar varnishes on the market today that are favored by wooden boat builders and readily available. These would include Epifanes, Interlux, and Petit’s Z-spar. These are about as traditional as it gets today and they are not polyurethanes.
  8. OP

    sparetime Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you for the input.

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