Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dickinson, Tx. / Denison, TX
I find the term "Spar Varnish" incredibly misleading, especially Min-Wax. Min-wax is probably the lowest grade of any kind of exterior finish I have ever seen.
It is pure crap and has cost many people many hours of hard labor in prepping a surface only to have their Spar Varnish finish fail.
Epifanes is a very high quality "marine" varnish and if properly applied, it should last around 2 years, even on Gulf Of Mexico, including south Texas to south Florida. After 2 years, it should only require a light sanding and 2 coats on top of that.
The two things about a quality finish is firstly price. A good varnish brush - $20+, The proper thinner - $20, the Epifanes itself, I think around $45/qt.
I used to be a protective coatings inspector for 25 years, mostly steel structures, but the same basic facts apply: 90% of all coating failures are due to poor surface preparation. The other 10% is a combination of different factors including not following the manufacturers instructions. The manufacturer wants you to succeed. He knows what he is doing. He knows a lot more than your woodworking buddy across the street. There are no short cuts to a quality finish.
If you dont want to invest the time or money in a quality clear coating such as Epifanes, the best alternative is paint. And, there is nothing wrong with painting if that is what you want.
Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Denison, Tx