Attached are two photos of IDUNA’s skylight hatch after stripping off the old varnish and applying 6 coats of “varnish X” in 13 hours. The varnish schedule was as follows:


  1. Wiped 180 grit sanded bare wood three times with acetone,


  1. Applied 1st coat varnish X in 15 minutes, let dry one hour before placing hatch on boat,


  1. Sanded hatch with 320 grit paper,

  2. Applied four coats of varnish X - one coat every two hours,

  3. After letting last coat dry one hour placed hatch on boat,

  4. Sanded hatch with 320 grit paper,

  5. Coated hatch with finial coat,

  6. After one hour placed hatch on boat.

I am testing this product and will not mention the product’s name until I determine if it works or fails. According to the tech rep, I only need to re-coat once a year. The finish is similar to traditional varnish but remains flexible and is not as hard as traditional varnish. In my opinion, varnish produces a smoother deeper finish but one can only apply one coat of varnish per day. If varnish X works, then I will have to balance finish against workload.

Fair Winds,


Skylight Hatch 2 Product X as Smart Object-1.jpg

Keep us posted on " Varnish X " I’m thinking about trying something new also. Has anyone out there ever used Le Tonkinois from American Rope and Tar? I’ve talked to a few who had some luck with it and I got to see a sample. As far as how it wears and weatherability I don’t know.
On another note. The engine is in and we hope to launch on the 20th of this month.

Bob & Lois

BCC Jolie Brise

I am right in the middle of applying Honey Teak to a few pieces on Shanti. It looks great. Darkens the wood more than varnish, but it will bleach a bit I’m sure here in the islands.

If anyone is thinking of using it, be warned it is the consistency of water. So practice on something first to get the feel. I tried using foam brushes, but they hold to much HT.


The foam brushes also probably break down with the honey teak I’d bet… I’ve used it and like it, but got tired of Tom’s prices and convoluted measuring schemes… as well as the 2 part 2 part system (guess that makes it a 4 part system?) But it does provide a VERY nice finish, even if slightly orange-ish ala old Cetol. I think it holds up very well.

Curious to hear about Varnish X more…

Folks at G&B love the Colean.

Hey Ben, no the foam holds up fine. Saved a pot overnight in the icebox with the foam brush left in and used it the next morning. Foam just holds more varnish it seems than a bristle.

Back in 86’ when I started working yachts down here I ran a Gulfstar 60’. It had a huge cap rail around the cockpit. We put on 8 coats of varnish and topcoated it with 2 of clear Awlgrip. That lasted 2 seasons (as opposed to maintenance coats every 6 months). Including dragging massive amounts of luggage across it. I was sold on 2 part solutions “for the Caribbean”. Wait till you get down here. The sun is BRUTAL. So paint and varnish have half the life or less than in the states and northern climes. We are talking about needing the most bulletproof system around. Unless you want to spend your days sweating like a pig and trying not to drip sweat in your varnish.

I love the Caribbean…really :sunglasses:

oh i love 2 part systems, im sold too. Awlgrip and Bristol Finish for me. I don’t see any point in using one part paints/varnishes anymore. I just like to find products where I can get a break on the price… wasn’t able to work that out with Tom. Do you get it at a better price?

Hmm, maybe I was using a different kind of foam brush, mine all fell apart with the two part systems.

Ben, That was a GOOD move doing the alwgrip on the bulwarks!

Rod, How long do you expect it to take before you make a decision to come out of the closet with “X”? Is it a 2 part or one?

Two coats of Varnish X within as many hours.

Sea Hood Varnish X.jpg

Ahoy Varnishers, has anyone tried using that Minwax “wipe-on” polyurethane, gloss or satin varnish, on interior vertical or over-head wood surfaces ?

Watco and Wood Kote, also sell the wipe-on varnishes.

I need to continue with varnishing in the head compartment and scuttle hatch coaming, where the verticle and over-head surfaces are prone to sags and runs.

I have even considered using an Air Brush in these tight areas, would that work, has anyone tried it ?

I am using the Pardey style of satin on the large flat surfaces and gloss on the trim and touchable surfaces.

Some pieces of Teak trim, I remove first, then try to cherry color stain, and varnish them on a flat bench, to build the necessary 8 - 10 coats, but then when I re-install them, and re-glue in the wood bungs, my sanding to level the bungs, always smudges over around the bung and restaining the bung area, is not a satisfactory match.

Anyone have this problem and found a way to solve it ?


hey Doug, Never heard of “wipe on” varnish before. Did a quick google and came up with this:

They mention thinning with mineral spirits, so how about using penetrol instead.

Hmmm, interesting idea.

Thanks Doug!

Hi Doug,

For the interior overhead surfaces of Mijita, my FC, I rubbed in 7 coats of Formby’s tung oil penetrating varnish. Yes, that’s what they call it. It’s been about 4 years now and it still looks good. No brush marks, no runs, nothing like that. Just rub in a coat using a rag, and before new coats lightly buff the surface with a superfine scotchbrite pad.

Admittedly, I am in the San Francisco Bay area and not in Singapore, so I don’t know if it would hold up as well there.

Regarding your plug finishing problems. I replaced some interior flush cut plugs with button plugs. That way certain wood trim pieces can be removed from the boat for refinishing and one does not need to mess up a meticulous varnish job putting in and finishing flush plugs after reinstallation. Looks good too.

ron walton
editor: FC News

Ahoy Ron, nice tips , wish I had brain enough to think of them, too.

As for Ben’s love of 2 pak LPU varnishes, I have found only two draw-backs.

One was the need for near perfect outside, application weather conditions,

and second was that my Douglas Fir bowsprit that was Awlbrite LPU varnished,

near the end of it’s life started to get large bubbles or blisters,

which allowed water to penetrate or condensation to collect next to the wood and

started dry rot, at those locations.

Gary flashed on an interesting idea of using his favorite “Penatrol” as a thinner for mixing a “wipe-on” varnish, batch.

Does anyone know what the difference between Penatrol and Cuprinol, is ?

Could one be substituted, for the other ?

And T Y , Gary for the nice tip @ hardwoodlumberand more , such good info !

As an ongoing thought , has anyone tried that Colean (sp-?) varnish, yet ?



Cuprinol is a copper naphthenate (organo copper salt) oil based solution. The copper salt kills fungus and is used to prevent wood rot. Copper salts are systemic poisons, hence, as such, are very toxic. The oil based solution has a green cast to it. The color is similar to pressure treated pine. I would not recommend cuprinol for interior use nor mixing with paints or varnishes.

Penetrol is a paint/varnish diluent that cross-links when it cures, hence it is not an evaporating solvent. In addition, it makes paints/varnish flow better. As Ben does, we add a small amount of penetrol to our paints and varnishes to improve flow, especially on hot days. One of our boat friends uses the following schedule for interior wood - two coats of penetrol followed by two coats of satin varnish. The result look great, especially on Australian lace wood. Penetrol contains no UV inhibitors. It also can be used to seal metal surfaces - bronze, brass, aluminum, etc.


After testing the product one year, I am ready to discuss “Varnish X.”

Vanish-X is Crab Coat. Becker Labs is the manufacturer and Larry Mulderig is their technical support guy - http://www.crystalac.com/. Crab Coat is listed under “Product List” at his website. Becker labs develops and manufactures coatings for paper. Although they manufacture Crab Coat and Crystalac they are not too interested in dealing with the customer, hence Larry Mulderig is the person to contact. He owns and operates a cabinet business as well as does marine work. Following is what I know about the product:

  1. Product contains trace amounts of a solvent (~2%),
  2. Can be applied with nylon brushes, foam brushes or spray gun,
  3. Cleanup is with water but residual amounts of product remain in the brush,hence eventually, the brush must be replaced,
  4. Must be applied to bear wood but I coated a test sample over epoxy with success (After one year outside there is no evidence of breakdown.),
  5. Can apply a coat every two hours without sanding between coats,
  6. If the coat dries overnight, it must be sanded with 320 grit paper before re-coating (I use 220 grit),
  7. The coating is flexible but appears to be very hard when sanding,
  8. According to Larry, only three coats are required and the product will last three years without re-coating (I plan to apply a one every one or two years),
  9. No solvent (reducer) is required,
  10. A “skin” does not form on a can that is partially full,
  11. The first coat may appear blotchy but the color will even after the second coat is applied.

Crab Coat comes in clear and teak tint. The teak tint offers more UV stability. We use the teak tint. Last year a quart cost $45 and a gallon cost $125. We purchased a gallon then divided it into four quart paint cans. Blank paint cans may be purchased at a hardware store. About 1 1/2 quarts were required for 8 coats on the main hatch, seahood and skylight hatch. This week I stripped the main hatch washboards and the washboard in the aft side of the scuttle hatch - four coats on the main washboards and three on the scuttle hatch washboard.

The finished does not have the deep luster of traditional varnish but from a 5 to 10 ft distance it looks like varnish but does not have the maintenance of varnish in terms of re-coating. We applied the product to the main hatch, skylight hatch and seahood one year ago. The boat was stored under a cover on the winter. As of this writing, we see no evidence of break down in the coating.

I will post pictures this week.