Do Spars Need Epoxy?

I started my Skerry last summer and she is almost complete (seems like I've been saying that for about six months now; but then spring has finally sprung)  I really want to launch her by early summer.  We still have to sand the final epoxy coat on the interior bright finish and the exterior hull is completed with several coats of paint.  After reading numerous posts about orange peels, dust and other wooden boat finishing obscenities, that in the end, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.   At this point, I just wnat to finish her and sail her.  Final epoxy sanding will be much easier on me now because after obsessing over the imperfections, folks who view her in the garage tell me she's already a beauty and why don't I launch her yet.  Well, the final sanding and varnish of the interior hull will be done before that.  So, a long winded question:  Just how necessary is it to epoxy the spars?  Seems to me that several coats of varnish and sanding should do them just fine and I'm wondering what the consensus is out there.  Epoxy is just too finicky.  Pls advise.  Thanks folks,   bob h.

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RE: Do Spars Need Epoxy?

Bob,

Just varnish is fine as long as you put on enough coats, make sure that you put them away dry and regularly inspect them for incipient rot. Epoxy undeneath is less long-term maintenance.

As far as finickiness, just roll and tip 3 to 5 coats of epoxy and sand the final one to 220. That will get rid of bubbles, orange peel, etc. and give you a nice smooth surface for the varnish. It sounds like you may be obsessing before actually doing (that happens to everyone). Once you've done it, you'll see how easy it actually is.

Good luck,

Laszlo

 

RE: Do Spars Need Epoxy?

Thanks Laszlo, you always provide useful tips.  I have three coats on the interior now and think I'll sand that to 220 as you suggest.  Then the varnish.  As for the spars, I guess I'll go ahead and put a coat of epoxy on them just to seal them.  I was just trying to eliminate an extra sanding, but in the end it'll be worth it.  You're so right about obsessing before the fact.  Guilty here.  Maybe next year I can make the OkoumeFest.  Thanks again.   Bob H.

RE: Do Spars Need Epoxy?

Bob,

I just finished epoxying a mast and can give you the full benefits of my inexperience. Not sure how long the spars of the Skerry are but I can tell you that you should do them in a vertical position. My mast is 17' and I first coated it in a horizontal position over my workbench. Since epoxy is pretty thin and runny, a large percentage of the goop quickly migrated to the underside of the mast, leaving a lengthwise ridge of drips/runs on the underside. A lot of it also dripped off onto my Saran wrap covered bench. I did the subsequent coats outside, leaning the mast against the house and doing it half at a time. This worked much better. I should point out that I glassed the mast and needed to fill the weave so I was using a fair amount of epoxy.

Also, I don't think you need or want to sand out to 220 before varnishing. I know of at least two varnish makers that say to not go past 120 so that the initial coats can get a "bite" into the epoxy. I put on 5 coats of varnish and see no scratches. Less sanding, yay!

Dusty

 

RE: Do Spars Need Epoxy?

Dusty, thanks also for your input.  The tip about vertical application was a big one because as sure as God made little green apples, I was going to do them in a horizontal hung position.  Thanks a million for that one.  I'll consider the 120 grit too on the final epoxy; I'm just afraid of taking off too much and getting down to bare wood again!  Like I said, I've got three coats on at this point and would like to be done with that part.  But the "bite" issue makes sense.  Thanks again......bob h

RE: Do Spars Need Epoxy?

Bob,

Unrelated, but can you share whet wood you went with for your spars?

John

RE: Do Spars Need Epoxy?

John,  It may be perfectly related, not sure.  Not an experienced builder here, so I built the Skerry at one of the CLC schools last summer from a CLC purchased kit.  According to the manual, the spars (mast, boom and sprit) are spruce.  The tiller is spanish cedar.  Following is a quote from the Manual, page 31:  "Spars om the Chesapeake Light Craft kit are made out of Sirka Spruce, Northern white Spruce or cypress.  For the home builder, Northern white spruce (basically the same material you see in construction grade 2x4s) is arguably the best, being lighter than Sirka or cypress and the least expensive.  You can root around the lumberyard and find clear spruce if you're patient."  Hope this helps.  bob h

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