Active Active   Unanswered Unanswered

Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

One part science, five parts experimentation. Every wood boat veteran has their secret recipe for a showy finish. Share your trials and triumphs.

Moderators: Al Benton, Don Ayers, Don Vogt

Post Reply
fullcircle
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:25 pm

Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

Post by fullcircle » Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:46 am

Ok I have narrowed it down to one of two varnishes that I will use on my restoration project. I just wanted to know what everyont else thinks. Z Spar Flagship or Epifanes?

ed laning
Posts: 269
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:10 pm
Location: spring lake, mi

Post by ed laning » Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:43 am

I've never used Epifanes. Owners of some of the nicest show quality boats swear it's the best. I have tried many of the main brands and have always come back to Z-Spar Captains Varnish. I think it has a high quality gloss, good UV resistance, good flexibility and it is reasonably forgiving in application. That being said, I bet you will be pleased with Z-Spar Flagship as well. Ed
1978 22' CC Dory outboard

User avatar
Al Benton
Club Executive Team
Posts: 3549
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Post by Al Benton » Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:52 am

Tom,

There's not much difference in the application of any of the brands that I have used, however, the Epifanes seems to hold a wet edge longer than Flagship. It seems to do better on vertical surfaces as far as controlling sags although this may be my imagination. Epifanes recommends applying more coats than Z-Spar does. This may be due to the amount of UV additives that each product has. The Epifanes is probably a little clearer than other brands.

Al

User avatar
John DeVries
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:47 pm
Location: George, IA

Varnish choice

Post by John DeVries » Sun Oct 22, 2006 8:50 am

Tom,

My recommendation would be to try both on stained scrap wood and then pick the one you like best. I would also add Z-Spar Captains and Interlux Schooner to the test group. Schooner doesn't seem to like lacquer thinner (it reacted like Zip-Strip) for a post-sanding wash, so if you do try it, use a milder solvent.

I've been alternately praising and cursing Epifanes for about 15 years. It's a demanding varnish that won't give you much leeway as far as proper viscosity or application environment/technique, but when everything is "working right", produces a gorgeous finish.

Remembering our "vermillion stain" dialog on the ACBS site, I'm curious . . . what did you finally go with for a stain?

John

User avatar
Al Benton
Club Executive Team
Posts: 3549
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Post by Al Benton » Sun Oct 22, 2006 2:30 pm

If you use Schooner then also use their Brushing Liquid #333. A quart can goes a long way if you don't waste it cleaning up equipment, etc. Wipe down sanded surfaces with it before applying the next coat of varnish and a quart can will last through 7 or 8 quarts of Schooner.

I'm thinking the Epifanes may cure to a little harder surface which may take to polishing nicely if you go that far. To me it finishes nice as is.

Al

fullcircle
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:25 pm

Post by fullcircle » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:05 pm

John, have had no response on the vermillion stain. I found a small section of what seems to be the original varnish/stain under the windshield rubber. I did a test panel of the Chris Craft stain and I plan to see how close it is to the color. I also did a test panel with stain then cpes, and also cpes and then stain and it seems to be very similar results. I might have to come up with a custom blend if the color is not close enough. My next step is to varnish the panels with the two brands and then compare the color to the original sample. Now I am not 100% sure that the boat was not refinished with the windshield removed so I am tring to find some more areas on the boat with the original color.

JacobErdey
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:31 pm
Location: Hammond, LA
Contact:

Re: Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

Post by JacobErdey » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:22 pm

Well, here's an old thread for me to revitalize and get the boating community heated about different opinions :lol:

So, as I approach the varnishing stage of my project, I can't help but start imagining this beauty once she's all varnished up and ready for the water, but for the life of me I can't decide what varnish I want to use. And I know everyone has their preferences...and believe it or not, I'm not at all asking this to stir anyone up haha...but that being said...here goes....WHAT IS THE BEST VARNISH TO USE ON A RUNABOUT?? (Hull sides, transom, and decks)

And by best, I mean the most pleasing to the eye. I'm not concerned about difficulty of application, I can manage whatever I have to. And as much time and effort as I've put into this thing, I'm no longer concerned about the price of the varnish. I just want to do it once and do it right. I've had some experience with Epifanes clear gloss on our cabin cruiser brightwork and was pleased with it, but I'm not sure if it may actually be too clear on the runabout? I just don't know whats best to get the right Chris Craft look.

I think I've narrowed my preferences down to 4 possibilities: 1. Pettit 1015 Captains Varnish 2. Interlux Perfection Plus 3. Interlux Schooner Gold 4. Epifanes high gloss clear

I'm all-ears. What y'all think??
Current Project: 1950 Chris Craft Sportsman 18'

joanroy
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:46 pm

Re: Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

Post by joanroy » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:12 am

I use Captains. Nice amber tone, good flow, sands nice, probably closest to what CC used originally. If I’m down to bare wood I stain with Interlux filler stain, seal with Interlux sealer, finish with Pettit Captains. Happy Varnishing!

User avatar
Matt Smith
Posts: 858
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Reedville VA,
Contact:

Re: Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

Post by Matt Smith » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:55 am

This is a personal preferance thing. The katzs Marina finish which is amazing, is Pettit. I have used all of them, and Captains fits me best. But thats me. You need to try them all. You will know when its right. Like running shoes. They wont make you faster or run farther.
1948 25' Chris Craft Sportsman
1958 Chris-Craft 17' Cavalier
1937 16' Special Racer
1968 40' Rice Trawler
1968 11' Crab Skiff
2018 Hole in my head

http://www.WoodyBoater.com

User avatar
steve bunda
Posts: 409
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:59 pm
Location: wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

Post by steve bunda » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:46 pm

Yup , Matt is right, Kind of like Beer , Miller, Bud, Import , it is what you are comfortable with and all will get the job done. Most or all varnish problems or fails are due to other factors and they do not include the varnish . Books have been written about the proper ways to varnish and prep.

User avatar
tkhersom
Posts: 917
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:56 pm
Location: Edgecomb, Maine

Re: Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

Post by tkhersom » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:44 pm

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. :D
VARNISHADDICT.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Troy in ANE - President CCABC

1957 CC 21' Continental "Yorktown" (Mom's boat)
https://www.chris-craft.org/boats/22625/
1958 CC 38' Connie "American Beauty"
https://www.chris-craft.org/boats/22607/
1985 Formula 242LS "Gottago"
1991 Formula 36PC "Band Aids"

Life Is Too Short To Own An Ugly Boat

User avatar
Bilge Rat
Posts: 228
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:02 pm

Re: Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

Post by Bilge Rat » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:47 pm

Looks like Troy is pumping varnish!

My only time that I used Epifanes was on a Chris Craft I restored about 20 years ago. Keep in mind that paints and varnish formulation was way different back then than today because of Volatile Organic Compound laws requiring manufacturers to limit these from their products. That said, I found the Epifanes gave the deepest looking gloss after at least 12 coats BUT on a hot sunny day, you could (and someone did) dent the varnish with a fingernail!

Just my 2 cents. I would do a trial of different manufactures on some scrap wood as suggested.
1966 Lyman Cruisette 25 foot "Serenity Now!"
1953 Chris Craft Sportsman 22 foot "Summerwind"

jfrprops
Posts: 2027
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 10:41 pm
Location: Powhatan Courthouse Virginia

Re: Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

Post by jfrprops » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:35 am

love it bilge rat...after TWELVE fricking coats anything will dent! Us two coat guys never have that problem...lol.....

I am sticking (literally) with Epi.....John in Va.
1980 Fairchild Scout 30
19?? custom Argentine Runabout 16'
1954 Whirlwind deluxe dual ckpt 16'
1921 Old Town Charles River 17' (founding Captain, James River Batteau Festival)

User avatar
Bilge Rat
Posts: 228
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:02 pm

Re: Z Spar or Epifanes Varnish?

Post by Bilge Rat » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:16 am

A couple more cents...

I've used Schooner 96 varnish now on 6 different boats, some cases more like 14 coats to get that final coat right. None of those remained soft enough to easily dent once cured.
1966 Lyman Cruisette 25 foot "Serenity Now!"
1953 Chris Craft Sportsman 22 foot "Summerwind"

Post Reply