Good finish for wooden rudder / daggerboard?

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by baldessariclan, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. baldessariclan

    baldessariclan New Member

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    Ok, am getting ready to make a new daggerboard and refinish the original wooden rudder. Both are mahogany. Looking for opinions / advice as to what products to use for finishing and how to apply / how many coats. Spar urethane / varnish? Good brands? Brands to avoid? Thin first couple coats?
  2. Randy Ricchi

    Randy Ricchi New Member

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    I sanded mine down to the wood, and then gave two coats of clear epoxy before finishing off with a couple coats of marine spar varnish. The epoxy was the stuff cedar strip boat builders use, i'ts thin and very clear. The reason for using it first is it's very,very hard (it will stand up to the usual dings and scrapes) and will completely waterproof the wood. You need to apply varnish afterwards because varnish gives good UV protection. Epoxy can't withstand UV rays on it's own.
  3. baldessariclan

    baldessariclan New Member

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    Is that some sort of penetrating epoxy you're talking about? What brand is it?
  4. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    I agree with Ritchie. I usually put on one coat of epoxy and then sand it. After that I put on one or more coats of varnish. Ritchie may be right about two coats. I may try that next time.

    I use the epoxy to cut down on the number of coats of varnish I need.

    I use West Systems Epoxy. I use the fast hardener, but they have a clear that is supposed to show through clear. I don't think it matters on a rudder or daggerboard, the clear is better for lighter grain woods.
  5. Randy Ricchi

    Randy Ricchi New Member

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    Whose Ritchie? :confused:;)
    I use U.S. Composites 635 thin epoxy resin, with the slow hardener. Very clear, no blush. You could use the medium hardener, but you'd probably need to wash the blush off between coats, and also prior to varnishing. The slow hardener doesn't blush at all.

    Randy Ricchi (Rick-ee)
  6. NightSailor

    NightSailor Captain

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    Ooops! Sorry about that, I should have quoted you. Sorry!
  7. Fred P

    Fred P Member

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    Here's info from a person who makes the boards. I'v done this twice with good results.

    Finishing instructions for unfinished mahogany blades

     Blades are supplied sanded to 100 grit. This
    may seem a little rough, but fear not. To avoid
    blotchiness, do not sand any finer before the
    following steps.
     Use good marine varnish. I have had
    excellent results with Interlux products, which are
    available from most marine supply stores. Epifanes is
    also excellent, maybe even better if you use it right,
    but it’s more expensive, harder to find, and harder to
    work with. Do not use the goop sold at hardware
    stores, even if it says ‘marine’ something on the can.
    The real cost of the job is the time you put into it.
    My time is worth quality materials; yours should be
     Use either a good quality badger hair brush
    made specifically for varnishing, if you are willing
    to take the time to take care of it, or disposable
    foam brushes if you aren’t. The only kind of foam
    brush worth using is called the ‘Poly-Brush’ – it has
    a wood handle and a very small-cell gray foam head.
    Most Sears hardware stores, marine supply places, and
    good paint stores stock these. The same manufacturer
    makes another item called a ‘Foam-Brush’ which has
    coarser foam and doesn’t work very well. The foam
    brushes with plastic handles sold in packages at
    discount places are WORTHLESS. I can buy a whole case
    of foam brushes for the price of one good hair brush,
    so that’s what I use.
     Hang the parts from a ceiling, closet pole,
    etc., at a comfortable level for you to work at. Try
    to do this indoors if at all possible. Dust can be a
    pain, but even worse is stuff like wind-blown dirt,
    cottonwood fuzzies, and bugs. Wet varnish seems to
    have a magnetic attraction for the deerflies and
    mosquitoes where I live.
     Thin the first coat by at least 50%, using
    the manufacturer’s recommended thinner. Put it on
    with the grain, brush it across the grain to work it
    into the wood, and then go over it very lightly with
    the grain to get rid of brush marks and bubbles.
     After first coat is dry, hand sand using 150
    grit paper until surface is smooth and all raised
    fibers have been removed.
     Thin the second and third coats 25%, fourth
    coat 10%, subsequent coats only if necessary to brush.
    On unfinished wood, eight coats will give you a
    pretty decent base, which if not abused will last an
    entire season. Use progressively finer sandpaper
    after each couple of coats, ending with 320 grit.
     Before each season, or if the finish is
    damaged, lightly sand and recoat with full-strength
    varnish. If cared for, this finish should last for
    several years before it will need to be stripped and

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