Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

A caution:

CLC ought to offer Interlux Brushing Liquid 333 and strongly recommend its use for anybody purchasing Schooner Gold.  I can't imagine anyone using the stuff without a thinner. 

On Saturday I applied what I hoped to be the last varnish coat to the hull of my 17LT. I'd used regular Interlux Schooner varnish in the past, but switched to Schooner Gold after the regular stuff was apparently discontinued. I neglected to notice this from the Interlux site:

"Schooner Gold is different. It's not a regular varnish and it's not like Schooner. Developed to apply and perform like a professional varnish, Schooner Gold has a VERY high viscosity, giving it a very thick appearance in the can."

Indeed. After using Schooner Gold without any thinner, I will definitely need to apply at least one more coat. I fought with it for three hours. It goes on thick and does not self-level like regular Schooner. My foam brushes skittered across it when I was tipping. I've got sags. And I used a lot. There was no other way.

It's cool; my boat is going to be fine. But it will cost a little and take some extra work.

Unless my experience is unusual, nobody should expect to use this product straight out of the can.

I only hope I choose a good ratio when I thin the stuff for the next coat. 

27 replies:

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RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

Thanks for the warning. I'm getting some 333

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

very thick and and a lot of sanding is needed to get the sags out.        your warning got to me a week late

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

I'm glad I read this.  I just ordered my boat kit and accessories today.  When I order paint and varnish, I will remember this.

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

Thank you for the heads up on this. Be careful with that 333 - it's very volatile! I use it to wipe down the boats between coats of varnish, then soak my rags in water to avoid spontaneous combustion. I finished my latest boat with Minwax Helmsman Marine Urethane. I've heard it doesn't last as long as varnish, but it's a lot easier to apply, requires fewer coats, and seems to be smoother and shinier than varnish. It's also half the price. -Wes

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

twofootartist, I use Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane on my front door, which is mahogany.  I agree it is very easy to use, but I have to use it every year because the sun really degrades it.  I assume the marine version has more water and UV protection?

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

I'll let you know in a year. It's so easy to apply, I wouldn't mind renewing it once a year. Minwax claims it offers the same UV protection as varnish. My hull is painted, so only the deck is finished bright, and I don't have a lot of deck rigging to remove.

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

Just found out today: Interlux has backpedaled on discontinuing the original Schooner varnish.  Retailers will have it again in a few weeks, April 2010-ish.

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

With a really thick varnish, get rid of the foam brush.  High viscosity varnish will require far too much varnish on a foam brush for it not to drag.  Either roll it and tip it out with a bristle brush, or just brush it on.  I've always liked a nice angled 3.5" Purdy for varnish work.  

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

I was a house painter in a past life and have always used nothing but Purdy brushes. Which one are you using for varnish? Bristle or nylon? 


RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

From the interlux website 

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!


 I've used the XL all purpose nylon/polyester blend as well as the china bristle.  I prefer the china bristle for varnishes.  If you want to go crazy, you can pick up the ox-hair or find a nice badger-hair brush.  Very expensive, but about as close to perfection as you can get in a paintbrush.  Like I've said before, there are many ways to apply varnish... this is just how I do it. 


RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

For a while now, too long, I've held my nose and used foam brushes because so many people have recommended them.  But it's awful how wasteful they are.  I hate buying something made of wood and plastic that is in only a few short hours going to become waste.  I know it's only a drop in the bucket, waste-wise, but it's just in general a terrible way to approach doing work.

Guess it's time to opt in and start using decent brushes for my boats.

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

Okay, here's what I know.

CLC switched from Z-Spar Captain's Varnish to Interlux Schooner Varnish a couple of years ago because the quality and properties were exactly the same, but Interlux was a little cheaper.

With great suddenness, Interlux discontinued Interlux Schooner and replaced it with Schooner Gold.  The stated reason was improved UV resistance.  

Gold is pretty thick, though so we're switching back to Z-Spar Captain's Varnish.  We used that on every CLC boat for more than 10 years.

We don't stock 333 thinner because it cannot be shipped.

For their part, Interlux is throwing her into reverse and bringing back the old Schooner varnish, at least that's the rumor.  For now:  The tried and true Captain's Varnish.


RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

Thanks for that info, John. I already bought 2 qts of the gold from you and a quart off 333 from a local source. I have the thin rollers now and I think I will buy a good brush and give it a shot. I agree about tha wastefullness of the foam brushes. They also seem to sop up too much material and become useless real quick.

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

I have some gripe with CLC on this issue.  Part of what led me to expect Schooner Gold to behave the same way as Schooner was based on its naming--I just assumed that it was "Schooner, but better!"  That was mildly foolish of me, and my foolishness was compounded by the fact that when CLC started to sell the stuff, as far as I can recall, they cut-and-pasted the text that accompanied original Schooner varnish on their site and applied it to Schooner Gold.  It even said of Schooner Gold something like "This is the stuff we use ourselves," which I'm not sure I believe.

Whoo, got that off my chest.  Looks like this (admittedly minor) issue is about resolved.

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

>>>>>Part of what led me to expect Schooner Gold to behave the same way as Schooner was based on its naming--I just assumed that it was "Schooner, but better!">>>>>>>>


Well, we did too----Interlux represented it as such---but we were wrong, and I apologize.  Happy to trade any unopened cans of "Schooner Gold" for Z-Spar Captain's Varnish with you or anyone else who has concerns.  

Thinned slightly with Interlux 333, the Schooner Gold DOES perform admirably.

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

FWIW, I never had any problem with foam brushes soaking up too much varnish. Could be a technique thing - just barely dip it in.

As far as waste goes, those wooden handles are eminently recyclable. Among other things, they form fittings in my composite dinghy mast. So it's not as bad as it seems, especially if ou consider the thinners required to clean reusable brushes.



RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

John thanks for your willingness to make right on unopened can of Gold

to bad for us enthusiastic idiots who rush to get things done and now have to waist our money and time sanding the mistakes off our projects

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

First coat of Gold, thinned 25% with 333, rolled on and tipped out with foam brush. I'm pretty darn happy with the way it went on. Levels nice, manageable runs, will need very light sanding befgore next 

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!


RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

Done a lot of varnishing...on many boats and while I was restoring antiques.  All varnishes I've tried, and that's most of them, need to be thinned out about 25%, no mater how they are applied.  A number of thin coats result in a fine finish. Thick coats only lead to lots of sanding, sags and grief.  This applies to my favorite boat varnish, MINWAX indoor/outdoor Helmsman Spar Urethane, too.  Varnish on.  Jer

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!


Can you tell me a little more about your experience with your favorite varnish, urethane?  How to apply?  Thickness?  # of coats?  any color to it?  durability?

I bought two cans of Schooner Gold and, novice that I am, would prefer an easier finish if there is one out there.

Thank you.

Paul in Phoenix 


RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

Paul in PHX

The above url about covers it, except that I've found my favorite varnish to be as good as any I've tried and it stands up well on my kayaks which get considerable use and go to boat shows at least once per year.  I pay around $12 per quart for the stuff  at Home Depot or Wal-Mart, instead of the many, many more $$ for "special marine finishes".  Best test is try it for yourself.  I put on up to 10 thin coats, wet sanding with 400 grit paper between coats and use a fine foam roller, then tipping out with a foam brush, for a show-quality finish on my boats.  Good luck.  Jerry in Sun City West, AZ

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

Why are you guys wasting your time with schooner and then thinning it?! Varnishing with the right product means nice and easy work and the best finish possible. Ive been building cedar and mahogany high end canoes and rowboats for 20 years now. I also do alot of interior work in my home with Pettit Varnishes. Why put up with expensive interlux formulas that change every year or so to comply with their company overseas "visions" where all their money goes. I've been using Captains varnish, and Flagship varnish forever now. Captains gives you a better end result in less coats than the schooner and Flagship varnish has almost 10 times the UV protection than Captains does for only a few bucks more. You cant go wrong, now interlux has recalled thier new compass varnish, which is basically the same as schooner just with some agents to make it kick faster. You'll see a recall on that next I bet. Guys, do yourself a favor and try, just try the Pettit varnishes and you'll never ever go back to paying more and getting less out of the interlux products.

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

Are the Pettit and Z-Spar varnishes one in the same? I ask because I did some Internet research on the Pettit website and the product description sheet for "Pettit's Captain's Varnish" states it's "Z-Spar Captain's Varnish".

RE: Interlux Schooner Gold is thick!

FYI The "original" schooner varnish is back and available at Jamestown for those who still want an Interlux product. I have used many many gallons of both the original Interlux Schnoor and Epifanes Clear Varnish. I have had very good results with both but have a strong preference for Epifanes it needs no or minimal thinning, depending on conditions of your room and experience level, except for initial coats. The directions on the data sheet are correct. As for Schooner Gold, Interlux. I will no longer use any Interlux products after the recent and ongoing fiasco with the Gold and Compass products clearly Interlux is not being a good corporate citizen. They have recalled the compass product as of a 3/26 posting from " A representative from AkzoNobel, the parent company, said they don’t have a timeline just yet for when the product might return to the shelves" 

but no mention of it on the website, talking today with the manager of my local West Marine she stated that yes it had been recalled and the Compass product on the sehelf is "new replacement stock" looking at the cans they appear to be exacly the same?

As for the Gold product it absolutely needs lots of thinning (beyond the 5% max on the label) on any significant sized wet edge, or regardless above 75 or so degrees.         ambient.

Lastly (almost done with my rant) who knows what the "New Old Schooner" really is? I don't believe I will be shelling out for the field evaluation re-launch. I am sticking with/going back to a monogamous relationship with the industry leader (my opinion of course) Epifanes. The oh so important finishing step on your project is not the place to save 10? dollars.  

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