Features May 2009 Issue

Six-Month Checkup: Long-Term Boat Wood Finish Exposure Test

Testers rate 53 varnishes and varnish alternatives in our quest for the ideal exterior wood finish.

Practical Sailor closes in on its search for the best teak oil, best marine varnish, and best synthetic wood finish this month. Testers check in on the 53 coated wood panels on our test rack, which have been enduring the elements for six months. Testers rated the panels for single-season gloss and color retention and coating integrity. The test products included dozens of one-part varnishes, two-part varnishes, synthetic wood finishes and stains, spar varnishes, wood sealants and teak oils from makers like Interlux, Pettit, Epifanes, Le Tonkinois, Minwax, Ace Hardware, Star brite, and West Marine. The long-term evaluation aims to find the best exterior wood finish based on overall ratings for ease of application, gloss integrity and appearance, and how the coating fares over time under real-world conditions. At the six-month mark, this report offers our single-season recommendations for finishing teak decks, cockpit trim, toerails, and other exterior wood surfaces.

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