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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Flagstaff Hill, South Australia
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    18

    Default Best marine paint/varnish brands?

    Hello all. I am getting to the painting and finishing stage of my current build (B & B Spindrift 11 dinghy), and have to order my paints, varnish etc. soon. I am a bit confused over which brand of product to buy. I have several brands available locally including Norglass, International, Shipway Spescoat's Forminex to name a few.

    I am looking to use a good 2 pack polyester on the hull, and gloss enamel on the topside areas. I have some Norglass 2 pack varnish for the bright finished timber areas, so that's covered, but re the paint and undercoat, which brands would you guys recommend?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    48

    Default Finishes

    GoAnywhere,

    Six years ago, International Paints sponsored the build of a Firebug at the Sydney International Boatshow. To accompany the build, they borrowed my completed Bug, repainted it, and hung it above the stand. Six years of hard racing later, the finish remains excellent. People still insist that "it must be plastic" yet it was simply rolled and tipped off - by experts.

    I have also had good results with Norglass products and Norglass is (I understand) Australian owned.
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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Flagstaff Hill, South Australia
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RossV View Post
    GoAnywhere,

    Six years ago, International Paints sponsored the build of a Firebug at the Sydney International Boatshow. To accompany the build, they borrowed my completed Bug, repainted it, and hung it above the stand. Six years of hard racing later, the finish remains excellent. People still insist that "it must be plastic" yet it was simply rolled and tipped off - by experts.

    I have also had good results with Norglass products and Norglass is (I understand) Australian owned.
    Wow Ross, that's one beautiful boat! That would sell me on International right there! Norglass is Aussie owned, and that is a plus. Binks Marine here in Adelaide stock and recommend them, but Duck Flat Wooden Boats at Mt Barker here in Adelaide recommend International. They are worth listening to. They work on boats brought to them from all over the country and their work is first class.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    48

    Default Same paint job six years on

    Same paint job photographed last Saturday.

    The boat has been raced off a sandy and rocky beach about 30 times per year for each season since the earlier photograph was taken.
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  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kempsey NSW
    Posts
    24

    Default Varnish test winner

    According to Classic Boat magazine's long term, four year test, most varnishes aren't worth what you pay for them, lasting at best 18mths.

    The winner of the test was Coelan, an aliphatic polyurethane made in Germany. Single pot, but requires (for best results) a Primer coat, which can either be a clear Primer or slightly yellow primer, depending on the finish you require, and the timber on your boat.

    In an article in NZ Boating a reader was unable to source Coelan, but found a product called Uroxsys, made in NZ.

    This product, the manufactuer informs me, is now sold as Awlwood MA and is distributed in Oz by the same mob that do International Paints.

    It ain't cheap, but is apparently the ducks guts for shine and longevity of finish between maintenance intervals.

    So if it lasts even twice as long as the best of the varnishes - Sikkens Novatech - it's still good value for money.

    Just ordered a litre of Gloss and a litre of Primer to do the mast, gunnels and tiller of a Sabot I'm restoring for my nephews.

    Search 'awlgrip.com.au' and ask about distributors near you. Usually chandleries, not big stores.....

    And no, I don't work for them.....just sharing my extensive research
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  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Eustis, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,270

    Default

    The catalyzed LPU's are typically the most durable, though the single parts often run pretty close. I'm not sure of the distinction between a regular single part polyurethane and the "flexible" version that seems to have "won" this set of tests, but I'll bet it's simply VOC content (percentage), which tends to make some more flexible than others. In fact, you can improve the flexibility of these types of products with a 10% (or less) cut, which is often the case with spraying anyway, just to get it through the gun. A flow promoter can also be helpful (like Penetrol). The down side to the LPU's are, they aren't as stable on flexible substrates, so the best thing they can be put on are stabilized surfaces, such as epoxy sealed substrates. On raw wood they just can't keep up with the moisture cycling movement. Also noted in this test, was the failure around crisp edges (corners), which isn't a coating failure, but an application short coming and no fault of the coating (regardless of type).

    I use a product called "Bristol Finish" which is a catalyst and resin LPU. Technically, it's a low cyanoacrylate version of this type of LPU, which allows it to be hand applied. High cyanoacrylate versions are available for spray painting and the stuff is literally dry a few seconds out of the gun, so you better have it on the surface, within several inches of the gun tip. I also use an acrylic urethane clear coat product, which is very similar to automotive clear coat. It too isn't as flexible as necessary on raw wood, but is fine on 'glassed plywood. It's cheaper then Bristol Finish and much clearer, but must be sprayed (high cyano content). I use this on metals as well as 'glassed surfaces. I just did a polished keel strip with this stuff, so it'll stay shinny, until the owner rubs off the coating on the trailer rollers.

    The real trick to clear coating wood, is finding something that works for you, in your environment and working conditions. Don't be afraid to test a few different types of products. Test them on different substrates and get a feel for how they apply and how long they'll hold up. This is how I arrived at the products and techniques I use.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    173

    Default Varnish

    I will start this by stating that this is my opinion for what it is worth.
    In a previous life I was a Shipwright in the RAN. All the paints and coatings we used were extensively tested to suit the particular Australian weather conditions and atmospherics.
    I believe that the marine varnishes that are tested in and for our weather conditions are often superior to those designed for Northern Hemisphere conditions when used here.

    The harshness of the sun and UV kills a lot of varnishes really quickly.

    on the boat I have been restoring for a number of years now I have used an Australian manufactured varnish from a company called Norglass. I have used their single pack polyurethane on the exterior planking and the deck. So far I have to say that I'm impressed with the gloss level, the ease of application by either brush or spraying. It tack dries fairly quickly and after leaving for 24 hours sands back really easily.

    Their instructions say to apply a number of coats prior to the sanding back.

    In my blog our project there are some photos of the hull and the deck done with the Norglass Varnish.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    173

    Default

    I have just read your original post for this topic.
    Norglass also make marine paint. I have seen some results of their paint on a boat hull and was impressed. Maybe Norglass for everything could be a go.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Eustis, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,270

    Default

    I've heard good things about Norglass, but have never used the stuff, personally. I'm in a sub tropical environment, which places me in a very extreme area, in regard to finish coatings. Most paint and finish manufactures do formulate for local condisions, so going local has more then patriotic considerations. This said, the higher end products are usually formulated for the extremes, regardless of location, they just perform well. Judging be compairitve results from similar products you and I use, we're close in environmental concerns, which is why I have to use the better products on my stuff and I'll bet the pros down there do too, for the same durability requirements.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Victoria
    Age
    66
    Posts
    631

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by piquet View Post
    I will start this by stating that this is my opinion for what it is worth.
    In a previous life I was a Shipwright in the RAN. All the paints and coatings we used were extensively tested to suit the particular Australian weather conditions and atmospherics.
    I believe that the marine varnishes that are tested in and for our weather conditions are often superior to those designed for Northern Hemisphere conditions when used here.

    The harshness of the sun and UV kills a lot of varnishes really quickly.

    on the boat I have been restoring for a number of years now I have used an Australian manufactured varnish from a company called Norglass. I have used their single pack polyurethane on the exterior planking and the deck. So far I have to say that I'm impressed with the gloss level, the ease of application by either brush or spraying. It tack dries fairly quickly and after leaving for 24 hours sands back really easily.

    Their instructions say to apply a number of coats prior to the sanding back.

    In my blog our project there are some photos of the hull and the deck done with the Norglass Varnish.
    I too highly recommend Norglass. I've used it on several boats and they still look like new after 5 and 7 odd years respectively. I love the clear gloss varnish for special areas of brightwork, but for ease of maintenance I also find cetol marine varnish very good. It is good for me working on broad areas, outdoors in winter, I save the Norglass for the special bits, like wooden blocks and tiller etc.
    i have recently started to refinish a 150 yr old boat that has been in the water since Restoration in the early 1990's, and while the brightwork has taken a bit of effort, the topsides of the hull are still in wokable condition and will be last to be resored. ( antifouling below the waterline came first). But the kicker is that the topsides were coated in ordinary domestic Dulux house enamel pant...i shouldn't be surprised as house paint is what john welsford recommends! So I have a very pragmatic approach to different parts of the boat. But my Navigator, finished with Norglass inside and out looks much better than any painting I've ever done and it was all with a foam roller and the local product.
    good luck.
    What caused the Pacific War? A book to read: here

    http://middlething.blogspot.com/

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kempsey NSW
    Posts
    24

    Default Awlwood in use

    As I reported previously I purchased a can of the Awlwood gloss and one of the Primer from my local chandlery. Good service from the guys in Coffs Harbour.

    The product's consistency is that of slightly thick water, while the primer is more like the consistency of a solvent. Very thin, goes on well and covers well.

    Use disposable gloves as it's a bugger to get off anything it lands on. I inadvertently spilled a spoonful on my shirt and it was destroyed. When dry the damp patch shrank and went bullet-hard and could not be removed by conventional washing techniques. Use only OLD clothing when applying it. And don't let it drip on the rest of the boat, as it's like removing epoxy to get rid of spills and drips.

    Following the manufacturer's instructions to the letter it is a time-consuming process to apply, as it needs to be done in several thinly applied coats, washed down with warm water between coats.

    So the eight coats recommended on the Sabot's mast and boom took me several days to do, after hanging the spars from the roof of the shed to make this easier.

    I could have done it quicker, as it dries really fast, but they recommend overnight between coats to let it harden up, but it is possible to do wet-on-wet and layer up in a single day, but if it doesn't harden it can slump as it does so causing runs and wobbly bits.

    The stuff kills brushes. They are single use only, so it's not worth using anything good quality. It dries hard and really can't be removed from the bristles. Basically used a lot of el cheapo brushes from the 'packaged sets' often available in junk shops and hardware outlets for a few dollars a set.

    So, eight coats of each, I used 16 brushes. So they gotta be cheap. Think I paid something like $5 a pack of 6 brushes, and just used them as they came out of the pack, smallest to largest.

    And you have to prime before each coat, not just a single prime to begin with, unless you're doing wet-on-wet. In a controlled environment, like in a temp controlled shed, this might be possible, but it was too bloody hot after lunch to do a second coat as it tacked off instantly and this mean 'dragging' the brush and leaving brush marks in the partly dried surface.

    So I basically did one foot long sections of the spar, all round, then quickly moved to the next section and just kept going till the far end. Quick and cleanly are the watchwords, and double check for runs around holes and fittings, as once it sets hard it's a bugger to sand back. Ask me how I know this..!!

    It dries *incredibly quickly* - like almost instantly, so you have to move *very* fast to keep a wet edge. I was doing this outdoors under an awning in summer, so would not recommend this practice. Colder temp would be better. It was high twenties and low thirties centigrade when I did this job, to give you an idea.

    So you only pour out a small qty into a throw-away container. I used old beetroot tins I'd collected over the years to use for this purpose and for small batches of epoxy. Wipe the brim of the pouring spout as otherwise any residue crystallises and might contaminate the next batch. Throw the rag away. Never leave the lid off for long.

    So while it's a bit tricky to use, it does produce a hard, high gloss finish and, if it lasts like it's advertised, I will never need to do this again, as the spars live under cover when not in use.

    I would suggest this product is better for those who have used varnish before, or who are seriously keen to get the best possible finish and longevity.

    If you were re-furbishing an older boat with gloss timber outside, I'd rig an awning to keep the direct sun off to enable the wet edge to last longer, and apply it early in the morning so the temp is cooler. Read the manuals *closely*.

    I won't say "professional use only" but if I did, I doubt Awlgrip/Awlwood would sue me for defamation. As I've worked for a professional painter and know the tricks, I'd consider myself "experienced" at varnishing and painting.

    But if it works as well as the Coelan product in the Wooden Boat long term test, then I'd say it's fiddly application will, eventually, be a labour saver, if it doesn't need to be done again for 7 years, as it appears the Coelan can last.

    I'll be using it on my other boats, including exterior woodwork, so will eventually be able to report back on wear and tear over time.

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