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Bow Sprit

Sep 22, 2018
37
Catalina 30 Bristol RI
I need to refinish the bow sprit this spring before putting it back in the water. I am thinking of using system 3 epoxy instead of varnish. Anyone have any experience using this on exterior wood?
 
Oct 22, 2014
9,919
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Yes. Epoxy can help to give you a clear and water resistant finish. It is hard. It will fail if chipped. The damage areas can be refinished with nearly no difference in looks from undamaged areas. It is not UV protected so you will need to cover with a UV resistant cover... VARNISH.
 
Dec 28, 2015
476
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
I would much rather sand off varnish than epoxy when it fails. They all fail.
 
May 7, 2011
171
Catalina 30 3573 Lake Norman
Fly

Are you repairing or refinishing?
Epoxy isn't for a final finish because it’s not UV stabilized. It will eventually check, craze, crack, and especially yellow.
So you have to cover it.

https://support.systemthree.com/hc/en-us/articles/360004946393-Will-UV-light-affect-System-Three-epoxies-

Any hard finish will last longer than teak oil, but will be much harder to deal with when it fails (it will) or to annually recoat. Teak oil applies/wipes off “instantly” and all you need is to clean the sprit.

But if you want glossy bristol brightwork, then a hard finish is your choice.

You either easily touch up more often, even monthly, or more difficultly recoat less often, like yearly. There ain’t no free lunch!
 
Last edited:
Aug 1, 2011
3,448
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
I read something the other day that seemed to indicate that people are using epoxy powder coat on wood. It would be durable, but not very good with expansion and contraction. Might just have to try it and see.
 
Sep 22, 2018
37
Catalina 30 Bristol RI
Thanks everyone. It sounds like varnish or oil will be the way to go. It's the underside that concerns me. It's not easy to touch up unless it's out of the water. Maybe oil would be the easiest.
 
May 7, 2011
171
Catalina 30 3573 Lake Norman
You didn’t indicate whether you’re on a ball or in a slip. I’m pointy end in, so very easy to oil.
 
May 7, 2011
171
Catalina 30 3573 Lake Norman
COPIED from reply to inquiry to S1.

Brian Morgan
(System Three Resins, Inc.)
Mar 25, 8:49 AM PDT

You are correct, epoxies are not resistant to UV light. If you are trying to achieve a clear finish you will need to apply a UV resistant top coat over the cured epoxy. We manufacture two UV resistant top coats, the WR-LPU and the Marine Spar Varnish. Check out the Clear Finishing of Outdoor Woodarticle for detailed information on this process.
Best Regards,
Brian Morgan
Technical Support
 
Aug 10, 2014
303
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
I've done a little reading on epoxy+varnish finishes, but haven't done it myself yet. So beware that my advice is probably worth less than you're paying for it.

My understanding is that the epoxy+varnish system has a couple advantages:
1) Fewer coats, and shorter curing time - ~2-3 coats of epoxy + ~2 coats of varnish is reputed to get a finish that compares to ~8-12 coats of varnish. And you can apply the 2-3 coats of epoxy in a day, whereas most varnishes need ~24 hours between coats (some might be shorter in theory, but most are also pretty sensitive to temperature, so it sounds like it's hard to find a day when you can get 2 coats on)
2) The epoxy seals the wood, so (in theory) it won't expand and contract, which is a large part of what causes the varnish to fail. It won't last forever, but I'm told that a quick scrub with a Brillo pad and another 1-2 coats of varnish every once in awhile will keep it looking good (less frequently than would be required with varnish only, again because it's not constantly expanding and contracting).

Of course, #2 depends on getting the wood completely sealed, and that means that the original epoxy application has to cover every inch of the wood (including the mounting face(s), screw-holes, etc.). So it seems like it's probably a project that requires unmounting the target piece for a few days. Theoretically, after the original application, you should be able to do the Brillo+varnish refresh in place. Or so I'd think.

Others with more experience may correct me; if so, I'll learn something before I start in on cosmetic projects of my own.
 
May 7, 2011
171
Catalina 30 3573 Lake Norman
From a reply to an inquiry to S3:
Brian Morgan (System Three Resins, Inc.)
Mar 25, 8:49 AM PDT

You are correct, epoxies are not resistant to UV light. If you are trying to achieve a clear finish you will need to apply a UV resistant top coat over the cured epoxy. We manufacture two UV resistant top coats, the WR-LPU and the Marine Spar Varnish. Check out the Clear Finishing of Outdoor Wood article for detailed information on this process.
Best Regards,
Brian Morgan
Technical Support​
 
Nov 7, 2011
2,446
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
@AaronD You're correct. I read the links to the System 3 site posted by @weekendrken excited that this might be a solution for me but then found out you basically need to remove the wood to encapsulate it in epoxy.
This might work on some pieces of trim but removing the sprit requires taking down the mast. Not a solution for me.
@Fly By Night
I plan on oiling the sprit and will try the epoxy/varnish on things like the companionway boards and other easily removed pieces.
 
May 7, 2011
171
Catalina 30 3573 Lake Norman
I disconnected my sprit for a short period to do some work. Just tie off and tension jib/spin halyard(s) as a temporary "forestay."
I've read (but haven't tried) that the mast can be supported by only the lowers.
 
May 29, 2018
94
Canel 25 foot Jonathan Shoigama, japan
If you remove the (weight of) the boom and furled mainsail, the mast should be able to be supported by just the lower shouds.
However, if the boat is moored and a cruiser whips past leaving a heavy wake or if a sudden squall comes in your mast is at risk.

Gary
 
Oct 2, 2008
3,004
Pearson/ 530 Strafford, NH
I have removed the forestay furlers on both the boats I've owned by loosening the backstay and tightening a halyard to a forward cleat. My rigger does the same thing before they haul my boat so they can get the travel lift closer to the mast.
 
Dec 28, 2015
476
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
@AaronD You're correct. I read the links to the System 3 site posted by @weekendrken excited that this might be a solution for me but then found out you basically need to remove the wood to encapsulate it in epoxy.
This might work on some pieces of trim but removing the sprit requires taking down the mast. Not a solution for me.
@Fly By Night
I plan on oiling the sprit and will try the epoxy/varnish on things like the companionway boards and other easily removed pieces.
I recommend Ready Seal. I have a approx 1200 sqft deck decked with dark marrantti. I've used Ready Seal on it since day one. Dark Mahogany lasts the longest as does most darker stains as compared to lighter. Penetrating oil stain with no film build up equals fast and easy restaining.
 
Sep 22, 2018
37
Catalina 30 Bristol RI
1) Fewer coats, and shorter curing time - ~2-3 coats of epoxy + ~2 coats of varnish is reputed to get a finish that compares to ~8-12 coats of varnish. And you can apply the 2-3 coats of epoxy in a day, whereas most varnishes need ~24 hours between coats (some might be shorter in theory, but most are also pretty sensitive to temperature, so it sounds like it's hard to find a day when you can get 2 coats on)
This is one of the main reasons for my question. Being over an hour from the boat, and not wanting to remove the sprit, I question my ability to get enough coats of varnish on.
 
Aug 10, 2014
303
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
This is one of the main reasons for my question. Being over an hour from the boat, and not wanting to remove the sprit, I question my ability to get enough coats of varnish on.
You might be able to remove your forestay as suggested by @All U Get and @garymalmgren, backing it up temporarily with a halyard, and then perhaps anchoring the forestay semi-permanently to a forward cleat. And then you could take your bowsprit home for a few days of epoxy and varnish.

The forces on your forestay should be very low in your slip. Like @garymalmgren said, a wake or a squall might shake it around some, but even that stress should still be much lower than a gust with sails up in a seaway...

Crazy idea, if your forestay is too long to anchor to a cleat: You might be able to make a temporary bowsprit from plywood and swap that in for a few days.
 
Dec 28, 2015
476
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
How about Sikkens Cetol Marine?
I tried it for the first time on my Philippine mahogany bow sprit and floor grates. Its been about 8 months and I've been really impressed. I went against my rule of "no film generating products" but haven't seen any failure yet, especially with the floor grate that gets beat up.
 
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Nov 27, 2013
9
Catalina 30 Salem, MA
I used Cetol on my bow sprit and a few other places. Put it on about four years ago. I might need to do a few touch up places this spring, but it's held up really well. I plan on doing some other brightwork this spring, and will use it again.