Prep Wood Cracks For Varnish

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Old 05-16-2010, 12:42 AM   #1
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Prep Wood Cracks For Varnish

I'm about to refinish a clients exterior deck railings. I stained and finished them a little over a year ago. I used Helsman Spar which held up ok at best. Volcano hawaii is a brutal climate, "like living on a boat". The varnish always fails first at the cracks in the wood. I'll be refinishing with Man O War spar this time and it is more flexable. Should i try to fill the cracks with epoxy, or spar, or leave them be? Thanks.
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:24 AM   #2
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Re: Prep Wood Cracks For Varnish

I would use Bristol Amber Varnish. Made for boat use. Very expensive but should last 3 years in your part of the world.


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Old 05-16-2010, 11:39 PM   #3
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Re: Prep Wood Cracks For Varnish

Not seeing it it's hard to say if filling the cracks could look OK
If you can get it to blend in and look nice, you might want to

One of the keys to using these products in this type of environment (I'm sticking out into the North Atlantic here, not quite Hawaii but I can empathize) is to hit "all six sides"
Other-wise moisture creeps in and peels the varnish off like the skin off of a banana
Obviously, that's not always an option
Do you think moisture is seeping in though the cracked wood?

Another key is maint. coats
At least once a year
Maybe this one needs it twice?

And yeah Helmsman, though not a bad product per say, is generally regarded as a lightweight when compared to "real" spars and marine coatings for this app.

MOW is much better, and I can recommend Sikkens Marine also
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:34 AM   #4
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Re: Prep Wood Cracks For Varnish

I'll second the use of Bristol finish (
Also try penetrating epoxy sealer from Smith and company
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