Our own Varnish Test
Over the last 10 years we have probably at some point in time used
nearly every product on the market as we offer a personal choice to the
customer since they will be the one rubbing down and recoating in years
With this experience we have developed firm favourites but mainly based on ease of application rather than durability, and with this in mind we thought it may be a good idea to build up a bit more foundation to our likes. It is hard to pick up a yachting magazine without some sort of test on varnish, but putting little bits of marine ply in the sun for a period is for us, not a true refection of how the varnish performs on a solid Sitka Spruce spar.
So - a new but slightly less than perfect spar was pulled out of production, marked in foot sections and 8 different varnish systems were applied as per their recommended instructions, and put on the roof of the workshop exposed to the elements, and left it there for two and a half years.
Although it could be considered there was little control with this test, the results backed up our beliefs and gave us the reassurance we were after. For a passing note, we would verge towards a varnish that contains Chinese wood oils - or Tung oils - as it not only provides a rich golden colour but it's been used to protect and preserve wood for thousands of years so has stood the test of time.
1. Epifanes Clear Varnish with Extra UV - Faired very well, slight dulling from UV damage but completely intact and serviceable.
2. Ravilakk High Gloss Boat Varnish - The side exposed to UV was intact but suffered a little from oxidation.
3. Blakes Favourite Varnish - Patches of varnish left still gloss, but also areas of blistered varnish
4. Sikkens Cetol HLS Plus and Filter 7 - UV side has a little bit of degradation.
5. Blakes Dura Gloss Varnish - Largely back to bare timber as varnish has not performed well
6. Rylard One Pack P.U. Varnish - Almost completely deteriorated and no varnish left
7. Blakes Classic Varnish - Again large areas of bare timber but faired better on the underside protected from UV.
8. Seajet UV Varnish - The surprise in the test. Stood up very well and almost completely intact on both sides.