Trade Secrets: TRADE SECRET: Save time varnishing by first sealing timber with epoxy
Varnishing the wood trims on your boat is vital for keeping the moisture out of the wood and preventing oxidisation from exposure to UV rays.
If the wood is left unvarnished, moisture from dew and rain is drawn into the wood and becomes trapped causing it to swell and discolour. Varnishing also makes the wooden trimmings on your decking shine, making your boat look and feel brand new again.
But varnishing is incredibly time-consuming – you will need to apply around 10 to 12 coats of varnish to ensure that it will properly prevent moisture damage. But thankfully, there is another way. Epoxy will provide the same protection with half as many coats, and you can apply more than one coat a day.
How to seal timber with epoxy
First, you’ll need to remove the trim pieces from your boat and clean each of them thoroughly to remove all contaminants. Then, sand the wood to remove any stained and weathered markings. It’s a good idea to sand with the grain, using 120 grit paper, and to not create any scoring across the grain. After you have completely cleaned and smoothed your wood you are ready to begin coating it.
Apply three coats of WEST SYSTEM® 105 Epoxy Resin and 207 Special Coating Hardener, ensuring you are working at room temperature to allow it to cure correctly. Unlike varnish you will not have to leave each coat a day to dry – epoxy allows you to apply the second and the third coat whilst the previous coat is still tacky, saving a lot of time. When you have finished the third coat, allow it to cure thoroughly and leave for 24 hours.
The next step is to wet sand the epoxy with 120 grit paper – don’t worry about any scratches caused by the sanding, as they will be filled in with the varnish later. Once you have finished sanding, apply two or three coats of a good quality 2 part polyurethane varnish, depending of the manufacturer’s recommendations, making sure you leave 12 hours between coats to allow the varnish to dry. When you have done this, ensure all fastener holes are sealed with epoxy before reinstalling the trim to the boat.
If followed correctly and coated thoroughly you can achieve a smooth and glossy result that will keep the water and weather out. Coating with epoxy saves time – and stands the test of time.
For more information on using epoxy and varnish together, click here.