To Epoxy or Not to Epoxy?!, that is the question.

by Kim
(Northwoods of Wisconsin)

I have an old, 15' wood strip rowboat with curved hull and wineglass transom.

The exterior has been fiber-glassed.

The interior has not.

Time to strip, sand, replace ribs and refinish.

Question / concern: Do I dare epoxy coat the interior (and put a protective UV varnish over it) or will movement from expansion and contraction cause the hard epoxy coating to split and blister?

Just stick with varnish and paint?

Looking for a longer-term finish.

This boat spends the entire summer in the water, exposed to sun and rain.

Thanks for your knowledgeable input, before possible regrets down the road.

Comments for To Epoxy or Not to Epoxy?!, that is the question.

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Response to: "To Epoxy or Not to Epoxy" feedback
by: Kim

Great comments.

Thank-you, men!

I would love to saturate the wood with oil on a future, purely wooden boat.

That sounds like a gorgeous and natural way to go on an original job.

I'm doing this refinish for multiple "someone-elses" who will expect to see a varnished, end result.

You have confirmed my concerns re: coating the strips with epoxy and the likelihood of regretting having done so down the road.

Last thing I want to do is try to strip off epoxy if it cracks and blisters!

Thanks again..., -Kim

P.S. Thanks for the site, Mike!

to epoxy or not epoxy
by: cal

Kim if you like the boat and intend to keep it and it sounds like you are going to replace ribs I woulld suggest tung oil it has a wax in it it can be polished and gives life back to dry wood.

A picture of the boat may give you much more feed back on which way to go but in the years I have used products oil wax have been hammered into my head from other boat people that just want to get out there and I now think of it as my hard wood table my grand child drives his toys on it look like hell when he goes home, few drops on a cloth and its like new.

Sun light only makes it go deeper into the wood, fiber looks dry add a bit to a cloth as your fishing sailing.

There's something nice about natural, enjoy.

epoxy or not to epoxy
by: Anonymous

Hi Kim,
Couldn't agree more with Mike.

Any boat that age deserves far better than the final blow epoxy gives to old timbers.

I've seen this first hand several times.

There can be no doubt that epoxy used in new construction can be successful but on any ageing timbers it can often be disastrous.

If the timber is on the verge of rotting and you can't replace it because of cost then epoxy is better than nothing.

Don't ever believe better than that.

Prep her best you can.

Allow twice as long as you think you need and give her as many coats as you can.

Some of the filler coats by Interlux and Pettit can save you a few coats early on but the only sure answer is patience and varnish.

Believe it or not it can be quite enjoyable.

Best Wishes.

by: Mike

Hi Kim

My instinct tells me to just go with the varnish.

Many strip planked boats are built, these days, with epoxy inside and out.

This effectively makes them a core construction which is by nature strong.

However, any breaks in the protective sheathing can lead to devastating results which are difficult to rectify.

And as you rightly say the epoxy will need a coat of UV protective varnish.

Also, for epoxy to penetrate and seal effectively the wood has to be thoroughly clean, bare and dry.

My opinion, for what it is worth, is that several coats of a good quality, marine varnish will protect her just as well.

Start with a thinned penetrating coat and depending on how much sunlight she is subjected to, top up the surface (UV) coat regularly.

A well-built varnished strip planked hull will look wonderful.

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