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Marine Finishes— Keeping an Open Mind


Don Silsbe
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I have always declared myself a “Brightside Boy”.  That anything worth my time and effort in building, required a bonafide quality marine polyurethane.  One-part poly being the minimum, two-part poly being the best.  I used Kirby on my Fly Fisher 13, because I fell in love with a non-Interlux color.  It was soft as butter!  I kept asking paint suppliers if they had polyurethane IN COLOR, and the answer was always no.  Lately, that has changed.

 

A few weeks ago, I borrowed a little boat from my friend and mentor Don Rausch.  I wanted a good-rowing lightweight skiff, to try out a fitness program for myself.  He has health issues, and is out of boating and boatbuilding, probably forever.  I got the boat, and started rowing.  But it was sadly in need if a paint job.  I started using up half cans of paint, just like Don would do.  The green was something I didn’t have, so I am trying something new.  My local paint store answered “yes” to my polyurethane question!  Best of all, they can color match.  So, the green will be this new paint.  The white will be taken from Don’s supply of Rustoleum Topside Marine.  
 

Later on, we’ll talk about brushes, Penetrol, and not tipping.  But this post is long enough.  Go ahead, and tell me what you think.

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First coat was not thinned, and I did not use Penetrol.  I rolled it on, using a foam roller.  I tipped one side, and not the other. I cannot tell a difference!  For the second coat, I am tempted to do all unthinned and untipped. 

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Second coat looks pretty good.  Any brush marks you see are from the primer.  I will probably experiment with a touch of Penetrol in the white Rustoleum Marine Topside.  I think these foam rollers are the key.  They don’t seem to make bubbles like a velour roller does.

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I have found that you need a really soft, fine bristle brush for tipping as the paints are much thinner than house paints and such. The obsessive painter will spend a lot and get badger hair. For my Lapwing it wasn't an issue for me.  As the boat is ship lap planked in the classic style, semi-gloss and a few brush line was not an issue, but a goal. For all of B&B's other designs this cheapskate would buy badger hair. I have no desire to buy painting equipment, learn a new skill and deal with the health hazards of spraying.

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@Hirilonde— I have several Redtree and Corona brushes.  But this “Amber Fong” that I bought at my local Benjamin and Moore paint store is becoming my favorite.  (See opening photo.) Best of all, it costs about a third as much as the badger hair brushes.  If this boat had a lapstraked hull, I’d have to use a brush.  These foam rollers are wonderful.  (Opening photo)

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Today, I applied my second coat of white.  I used te badger hair brush.  The tips were soft, but much of the brush was stiff.  My preference is for a soft brush.  The Amber Fong has longer, more flexible bristles.  The Redtree had slightly finer tips, but the brush lacked the flex that I prefer.  Mostly, though I used the brush for corners and wiping the lip of the can.  I did not tip either coat of white.

 

Here is a sequence showing the rolling/no-tip process.  First of all, I thinned the paint with a retardant (Penetrol), 10% by eye.  The foam roller left bubbles, but I waited.  The retardant did its job.  Over time, the bubbles and orange peel disappeared.  There is a slight amount of orange peel, but much less than the marks I would have left if I had tipped it off.

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@Todd Stein,  It didn’t go quite as well today.  The green polyurethane’s bubbles didn’t disappear as quickly, even though I added Penetrol.  It was sort of lumpy.  I tipped off the forward half.  (second photo)  This is the first of two coats.  We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.  I might get to take my ROS for a little spin on Route 220 (grit).

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I finished this paint job today. You need to know up front that I was not as particular with this job as I have been with my boats.  The previous job was sloppy— there was a lot of “good enough” in it.  And I don’t know that I will ever use Rustoleum Marine Topside paint on mine.  Don had three cans of it.   So if it doesn’t concern him, it shouldn’t concern me.  That paint, by the way, is simply the standard Rustoleum minus the rust inhibitor.  It is high gloss, and is easy to work with.  It is the fact that it will be as soft as butter that I won’t use it.  I am interested to see how the green off-brand polyurethane works out, especially as relates to abrasion.  I think the problems I had with it in the interior were because I was thrifty with my addition of Penetrol.  Penetrol and the foal rollers were the real winners in this trial.  What got me started on these rollers was this video.  

 

They do not tip off, they only roll.  This winter, I will repaint the Epifanes yellow on Local Honey. So this little green boat was in preparation of that.

 

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