Join the discussion 28 Comments

  • Kurt says:

    Hi Andy,

    im wondering why wouldnt you just leave the final finish as an epoxy finish. Why bother with Varnish in the end at all?


    • ~Andy says:

      Hi Kurt,

      Although the epoxy itself does give some UV protection, the additional coats of varnish provide a lot more. It prevents the epoxy from yellowing and preserves adhesion of the epoxy to the wood. Hope this helps!

  • Phil says:

    Hello this video doesn’t work and I am working on a wood rudder would really like to watch this video prior. Thanks!

    • ~Andy says:

      Phil, thank you for letting me know! Blip.TV (the site that hosted my videos initially) is really starting to disappoint me. So, I will be switching everything over to Youtube 🙂 I fixed part 1 and part 2 of the varnish vids; should work now!!

  • Chris says:

    Hi Andy,

    I love your videos! My question is, as a cheaper resin, can we use laminating resin instead of West System for the layup coats of the teak?


    • ~Andy says:

      Hey Chris,

      I wouldn’t try using anything other than a clear epoxy for the base coats. It doesn’t necessarily have to be West System w/ 207 hardener (there are other brands avail that may be less expensive) but it does have to be a “clear” finish. Standard epoxy hardeners have an amber color which would not be ideal for this. Clear hardeners are designed for this as well as working with carbon fiber where you’re looking for that true “carbon fiber” appearance 🙂

      I believe MAS epoxy and system 3 make suitable products, but my preference as you know is West System. It is a very reliable product and also contains some UV protection in the mix..

      Let me know if you have any further Q’s!~



  • Graydon says:

    Thanks for the great videos Andy. I used the epoxy/varnish combination as you described on the Africian Teak in my boat and it turned out great!

  • Brian says:

    Love the site…as soon as I can afford to I’ll send you lots of cash to keep on keepin on. I’ve got a 1979 Island Trader Ketch…very nice condition. Constant maintenance. Especially the varnish on topside teak…toe & taft rails, deck house trim and both mast are all natural and varnished. In SoCal the horizontal surfaces burn about 4 coats per year if left uncovered…so, we’re varnishing a lot.

    My questions…epoxy scares me. Does is separate/blister in some areas like a varnish? If you have to repair, how does it blend with color? Does it coffee over time? If I need to remove/strip it, will it be impossible or will it be similar to heat gun followed by chemical processes?

    Ultimately: How does the working life of laid epoxy coated by uv varnish compare to just traditional build up of uv varnish? Is it doubled? I would love to find a better way to keep lipstick on my girl and truly hope this is it.

    UROK keep up the good work.


  • Nick says:

    Hello Andy, thanks for sharing your experience with us! Can you tell me which paper you used on wet sanding ‘tween epoxy and varnish?

  • Dave says:


    Best wishes for the New Year! I stumbled across your site and pleased that I did. Great content!!
    I viewed your “Varnish Like a Pro part 1 & 2” and interested if this application is suitable for refinishing a pretty dinged up teak and holly cabin sole? If so, will the West System Epoxy fill the dings or would you suggest another filler? Thanks for taking the time!!


    • ~Andy says:

      Hi Dave,

      For an interior sole, I don’t know that this is something that I would use. It would certainly work, but rather than using a high gloss varnish for the topcoats, a poly based finish would be much more durable. Also, I’d look at something with more of a semi-gloss or satin finish. Personally not much of a fan of high gloss for interiors 🙂

      I’d recommend something like THIS

      If you decide to use epoxy for the base coats to fill, you’ll need to completely strip all existing finish to ensure a good bond and prevent blotchy-ness. Since the sole is most likely a plywood with teak / holly veneer that may be a little bit of gamble to do without accidentally sanding through the veneer..

  • Scott Reader says:

    learned alot. It’s the little tricks and tips that you can’t get off the the lable of the can that make the whole project professional. Thanks for taking the time to break down the whole prosess and explain each step. Armed with the whole though process makes me a better professional,.

  • Ryan says:

    Thank you for the great podcasts.

    Will this hold up on my crib boards?
    Any additional steps I have to take to ensure they hold up in the Louisiana summer sun?



  • Mike says:

    I just applied first layer of epoxy on a swim platform. First time ever using epoxy. I know my basement is rather cold… 3 hours later still very tacky. I am pretty sure I primed pumps correctly and mixed correctly. Should surface not be tacky at all before next coat is applied?

    • ~Andy says:

      Hi Mike,

      It’s best if it’s not soft. Basically when you can lightly touch it and not dent the surface it’s good. If you can no longer mark it with your fingernail then it’s set up a bit too much. What temp are you working in? Should be around 70F

      It will most likely still cure, but will take a little longer than normal. With this first coat, do not put a heat gun or lamp to it, will cause bubbling 🙂

  • Mike says:

    Way below 70 in basement. more like 50’s

  • alex says:

    Hello Andy,
    We are big fans of your videos. Our next project is the teak decking.
    We’re working on an outside cockpit table and after we did the epoxy with West System, we used Epifanes high gloss clear varnish. After 2 days there still are some spots that are a little sticky. Is it because of the varnish? Have you tried it with Epifanes?
    The same day we varnished some interior trims (that were without epoxy), and they dried out fine.
    Thank you,

    • ~Andy says:

      I’m guessing the varnish was a bit thick over the epoxy which is why it’s till a little tacky. It will cure, but will take a few more days 🙂 The varnish that was applied over bare wood absorbed into the wood somewhat creating a thinner film on the surface (which allowed it to set up faster). Once the wood is coated with epoxy, it no longer able to absorb into the wood, rather it begins to build the smooth film that you’re after!

      I have used Epifanes and in general it takes a little longer to harden than Pettit. It’s a quality varnish, just a little slower on the cure cycle..

  • Bill says:

    I found your “Varnish Like a Pro” videos earlier this year. Since then I’ve watched all of your videos and considered them the best I have seen on YouTube or on any other informative videos. Your presentation, techniques, and explanations are superb! Thanks, I’ve learned a lot from you.

    In January and February I used your Epoxy Varnish method on my Island Packet 40 toe rails and bow pulpit. It needed to be stripped again at that time. My problem has always been getting enough varnish on, and the time it takes. Here in Florida it takes about eight initial coats with a 2 coat touch up every six months. Most of the first eight coats are filling in the grain and provide some protection. With the clear epoxy, you can get a beautiful buildup and finish coat in one day (not the whole boat but 1/4 of it). Eight coats of varnish with drying time and weather can take weeks to months. The Epoxy coat looks so good you have to force yourself to keep varnishing it. It’s now July, and I have only gotten two varnish coats on and it still looks good. But I know what will happen, and I am starting to add more coats now.

    Thank Bill

  • Rod Thomas says:

    Hi Andy
    I made the mistake of preparing my teak aft caprails and applying the west system as described, then due to work commitments did not get back to the boat for 12 weeks. Sadly the West system has deteriorated to the point of having to start all over. I really should have followed your lead and applied the varnish a lot quicker. I was surprised at how rapidly the epoxy degraded. This was most definitely my mistake but have to admit to being surprised at the speed of the resulting error.
    I have the boom gallows in my workshop and have coated the gallows with West system also but because it is in the workshop the epoxy is fine and ready to take varnish. The issue I am having is how fully cover the gallows in one hit (4 sides) without marking the varnish as I try to get to all of the sides. Is there a method that I am missing??? I even tried hanging the gallows from the ceiling but that was not too clever either!!!
    I have top also agree with the various comments I have read. I Love your site my friend thank you. Rod (Solitude) Kadey Krogen 38 cutter..

    • ~Andy says:

      Hi Rod!

      Sorry to hear about the setback 🙁 Been there and it’s disappointing! As far as coating the gallows, unfortunately there really is no secret. I would thin the varnish slightly since you’ll be applying to some vertical surfaces (maybe 5% 120 thinner). You’ll have to do a few coats, so the first may be a little trying, but as you do each coat you’ll get a feel for what order to do. My guess would be to do the top first, then the sides to catch any drips and don’t worry about the bottom until the next day. Carefully coat the bottom and let that sit until the next day and repeat this process.

      Hope this helps!

    • Harold Breuninger says:

      I know this thread is a little older but I am wondering. I have 4” teak toe rail all around 44. ‘ sailboat. If i expoxy/varnish, i wont be able to get the epoxy on all sides of the rail because it is already attached to the boat with sealant etc…. am i setting myself up for failure ? Wont water just get in behind the wood at the hull to deck joint and pop the epoxy and varnish? Should i just yse varnish and touch up each year?
      Thanks for the great site!

  • Frank says:

    Hi Andy;

    I love your video on varnish like a pro. Before you start to apply the epoxy, what grain sand paper do you use? I called the the Western System and they said 100 to 120/ But, on your video on one of your video on “Staining” you mentioned 320 bring the grain out more.

    Thanks for the video

  • John says:

    Any tips on coating the backside of the board. Do you do a separate coat of epoxy? Not worry about varnish if it is out of light?

    Thanks for what you do!

  • Tony says:

    Andy. Loved the video. Question, you had to stop after first coat of epoxy. If you were able to come back same day would you just recoat or would you sand with 220 as you did when it sat overnight? Thanks!

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