303 and varnish

i’ve recoated the deck of my wood boat with epoxy and i’ve been using it for a few weeks, to let the epoxy coating cure thoroughly as per the plans (pygmy). its been in the sun a lot so i’m thinking of coating it with 303 until i get a chance to varnish. the weather is pretty windy and looks like it will stay that way for a while. so if i coat it with 303 whats the best way to clean the 303 off the boat when i prepare for varnishing?

If I knew
If I knew that I would be applying the varnish not too far down the road I wouldn’t apply the 303. If I did, I would use soap & water to “knock it down” a bit and after the surface dried would degrease with mineral spirits.

I always use the M.R. before appyling varnish regardless just to make sure the surface didn’t pick up any oils from my hands, etc…


Varnish now
Just another opinion but you should have it varnished already. UV protectants like 303 are excellent for plastic boats. Varnished brightwork should just be varnished. Nothing else. A little wood polish occasionally or just some elbow grease and an old oily rag if washing it does not give you the luster you want (after the varnish is on).

Letting the epoxy continue to be exposed will only let it color on you. Introducing other chemicals pre-varnish will only add to the potential for finish problems.

Do nothing…
but keep it out of the sun as much as you can… a little while shouldn’t hurt it.

It takes a couple of weeks for the epoxy
to fully cure and there is some blush formation that goes along with this. It takes several months of constant UV exposure to degrade the epoxy. If you are worried about UV damage, throw a tarp over it. I varnished my AT14 a year after I finished it. No problems. Before you start slinging spar varnish wash the boat with a mild soap and water and rinse well.

If you haven’t bought your varnish yet, think about using Sys3 WRLPU. I used varnish the first time, for the revarnish I’m using the water based PU. Man what a difference. It’s totally clear. Recoat time is like 30 minutes at 25C and 50% humidity. It doesn’t stink to high heaven like the solvent based stuff does. This means you can do the LPU inside. It is possible to put 5 coats on the hull in a couple of hours and have it be dry by morning. Flip the boat over and repeat on the deck the next night. Let it cure for 2 weeks and paddle your heart out. It is as tough or tougher than varnish. I had to sand a couple of drips after I put the cross-linked coats on. What a bummer. It doesn’t sand well. I assume that will translate into a tougher finish. Search the kayakforum for some discussions about the LPU. Many people have used it and will not be going back to traditional varnish.

Good old fashion Lye Soap does a real

good job of cleaning EVERYTHING off the surfaces. I have done my boats a few times. It took everything off; stains, dirt, sap, rub strip marks, etc …

BUT be very careful and use sparingly. Use gloves and eye protection. I just misted the boats and that was more than enough. Let it sit for a bit, scrubbed, let sit just a little more and scrubbed it off with lots of water. Boat was literally SQUEAKY clean. It will also suck all the oil right out of your skin (my hands hurt for several days), do a real job on your eyes if splashed in (too smart to let that happen), etc …

Find it? Probably not full strength at retail stores as liability too great. Got mine from a contractor that gets it from wholesale commercial suppliers that sell to professionals only.

Happy Paddl’n!



How does the h2o based varnish compare
How does the h2o bases varnish compare

to the solvent based varnish in the long run: longevity, durability, revarnishing, etc? I do not remember what it was, but it seems there was something way back about reasons not to use the water based.

Anyone know?

Happy Paddl’n!



I thought LPU was only available in opaque pigments, not clear gloss.

sun burn
I built the 17’ tern and used it for two sunny weekends. When I was ready to varnish it. I removed the straps for the hatch. The boat had light strips where the straps were. Looking at the pics of the boat being built, it had darken a bit.

Gloss and Satin
I got it direct from Sys 3. The gloss isn’t as good as varnish, but it is a little easier on the eyes in terms of reflected light bouncing off the deck.

I haven’t heard any negatives
from the folks on the kayakforum, yet. I should be able to let you know in a year. :smiley:

I left the tern exposed most of last summer on a couple of sawhorses. The varnish on the deck had peeled and split mostly near the cockpit. These were also areas that had misc dings and scrapes already, so I think this might have started the peeling. The hull was down so there was little uv damage there. The varnish did what it is supposed to and there was no whitening of the epoxy and a small area of delamination near the front hatch. I didn’t get it sealed well enough to keep the water out.