Varnish Testing Over Lunch

For the next 24 months, the TotalBoat testing team’s varnish test will be dining al fresco, soaking up UV rays from the sun, getting snowed on, rained on and generally abused by lunch bags, water bottles and probably a few butts, too. The picnic table varnish test is underway and on Friday the team dragged the completed table outside of the JD lunchroom and set up shop for a lunch party. It was a celebration of the great idea and the forthcoming years of the table’s demise.

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We applied 5 coats of 9 different varnishes after initially coating the nasty pine with TotalBoat Penetrating Epoxy to really seal it well and protect against the elements. However, as we all know – nothing beats wood protection like varnish with UV inhibitors and we picked the top selling varnishes and put them against our own top varnishes. And now it’s in the hands of the gods as time and weather and lots of rays do their best to beat down the layers.

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At the very least it has been a great way to compare the different tints, the different “glosses” of each and the ease of flow and application of each one. We each have favorites. But which will outperform the others? Only time will tell and we plan on taking a monthly photo of the table to document how each panel fares.

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Stay tuned and place your bets in the comments below. Which varnish will win the test?

Here is the complete list of the varnishes we applied to the table:

TotalBoat Marine Wood Finish: Natural Teak
Sikkens Cetol Marine Natural Teak
TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish
TotalBoat Lust High Gloss Marine Varnish
TotalBoat Envy High Gloss 2-Part Varnish
Interlux Perfection Plus Two Part Varnish
Petit Captain’s Varnish
Epifanes Woodfinish Gloss
Epifanes CV (Clear Varnish)

5 thoughts on “Varnish Testing Over Lunch

  1. Why pine? Not exactly a marine wood unless you have a square rigger and want slippery decks. Would have been better to use a wood more suited to the marine environment.

    • True but we wanted it for lunches, not yachting and it was a project already in the works when we decided to test the varnishes and finishes. It will work on the pine but would be a better looking table with other materials. It will prove to be very interesting research, indeed.

  2. “Only time will tell and we plan on taking a monthly photo of the table to document how each panel fares.” Where can I find the monthly photos?

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