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Discussion Starter #1
Found some marine grade ply for my decking/rails project. What brand/type spar do you all recommend? Any and all tips for the project are more than welcome!

Zack
 

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Jamestown Distributors has everything in this category (jamestowndistributors.com). I've been using Interlux Schooner for my wooden station wagon, but they have many kinds, depending on your preferences, and lots of video how-to support.
 

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If you want the best- that's Epiphanes. Not sure a raft really warrants that level- but it's your money. I use Minwax Helmsman- works well for the application at 1/4 the cost

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I use Epiphanes for all the above waterline wood on my drift boat. However, on the floor and rails of my raft I switched to exterior enamel house paint. The house paint is cheaper, dries faster, provides better UV protection and does a much better job of keeping water out. Spar is NOT recommended for anything below the water line. So far the paint is outlasting the spar 2:1

For plywood I like to seal the edges with epoxy prior to painting with spar or house paint. I used slow set (2 hour) epoxy adhesive thinned with denatured alcohol. Check out the wooden boat building sites for more detailed instructions. The epoxy seals the end grain, you can use auto body filler or two part wood filler to fill voids. Since epoxy degrades with UV you want to cover it with spar or paint.
 

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I started with Marine grade boards 4 years ago and originally SparVar'd them. First coat lasted 2 seasons. Second coat lasted 1 season.

This year, using the same boards, I lightly sanded and put on Monstaliner DIY Truck Bed liner. I picked this one over the others because it has a UV additives in it and you can tint it whatever color you want.

So far with 7 trips, including a Gates of Ladore trip they are holding up beautiful. I went with the dark grey and they aren't over heating and they have just enough traction that you won't slip, but you can still kneel on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I started with Marine grade boards 4 years ago and originally SparVar'd them. First coat lasted 2 seasons. Second coat lasted 1 season.

This year, using the same boards, I lightly sanded and put on Monstaliner DIY Truck Bed liner. I picked this one over the others because it has a UV additives in it and you can tint it whatever color you want.

So far with 7 trips, including a Gates of Ladore trip they are holding up beautiful. I went with the dark grey and they aren't over heating and they have just enough traction that you won't slip, but you can still kneel on them.
Did you sand off all of the spar?
 

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Did you sand off all of the spar?
First time I refinished them, I did. Let me tell you how big of a pain that was.
When doing the truck bed liner the manufacturer said I didn't need to. I decided to do some mild sanding in hopes of the liner holding up longer.
 

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First time I refinished them, I did. Let me tell you how big of a pain that was.
When doing the truck bed liner the manufacturer said I didn't need to. I decided to do some mild sanding in hopes of the liner holding up longer.
Did you spray or roll on the liner? Thinking about going that rout now!
 

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I used Valspar Patio Paint. It's designed to stick to concrete but sticks to plywood too. $25 a gallon at Lowes. It has grippy particles in it that act as non-slip. Cheap and effective, I chose white, you can get any color you want. It doesn't come off and you will not slip on it.
 

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It's Varnish!

It ain't spar, it's spar varnish!
A spar is a structural element of a sailboat's rig, like the mast or the boom. Spar Varnish is used to finish the spar and protect from weather and sun. It looks nice for a while but does not last very long. That's OK because you have a boat that cost you a lot of money to go slow and offers its rewards in being able to operate it and cover little ground without the use of fossil fuels, but it makes you look good while you do it. Kind of like a Raft. I use Minwax Spar Urethane which is a relatively cheap and widely available spar varnish, though it is technically not a varnish. It gives relatively poor results that do not last long. But it is kind of cheap and can be applied with those disposable foam brushes. High quality SPAR VARNISH (Epiphanes is the class act of the lot, FYI) lasts longer, protects the wood better and should be used with a high quality VARNISH brush which is religiously cleaned in Mineral Spirits and dried thoroughly between uses. The cost of the varnish and brush and mineral spirits is greater than the cost of Carlisle oars. So as nice as it is to use a real, genuine spar varnish and apply it with finely honed skills every 6 months or so, the crappy Minwax stuff wins out with the Working Class where I reside. I choose to buy Carlisle and Minwax and then upgrade to Cataract Oars with the money I saved in the varnish. For the most bang for the buck without regard to the aesthetics, use a Garage Floor/Porch/Deck latex paint and mix in a little fine sand like commercial playbox sand for the first coat. Apply a second coat without sand to make the sand adhere and give little love to your knees. If beauty were all that mattered, the world would be filled with Wooden Boats, regularly varnished with Epiphanes.

Peace,
the Capt
 

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I like the idea of the monstaliner that thaGoat mentioned. I'm in the process of redecking my trailer and was wondering:

a) does any of the liner stuff transfer to the raft under any conditions?
b) how does a lighter color hold up? (non-black).
c) personal experiences of people that have used this over non-marine grade plywood

Any other recommendations. I'm really looking for something that will last for years to come.
 

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I like the idea of the monstaliner that thaGoat mentioned. I'm in the process of redecking my trailer and was wondering:

a) does any of the liner stuff transfer to the raft under any conditions?
b) how does a lighter color hold up? (non-black).
c) personal experiences of people that have used this over non-marine grade plywood

Any other recommendations. I'm really looking for something that will last for years to come.
a) I haven't take the frame off to look yet, but the boards are not sitting on the boat. Only the frame. Also, I made sure to give it enough time to cure properly to avoid that. Being that it's a 2 part process it seems to be pretty solid.

b) No idea. I'd ask Monstaliner if they have insight on that. My guess is that the color is mostly for pigment purposes. The hardness comes from the actual resin.

c) I'd guess that if you do a really good applying the liner that the wood should be protected. At the same time I'd rather only do this once, so using higher quality wood might be worth the $$$.
 

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I wouldn't spend money on marine ply for a trailer... I also wouldn't spend the money on it for raft decking unless I wanted to finish it clear. It's 3 times as much as ACX and uses the same glues. The difference is in the ply makeup (varying forms of "sustainably harvested" hardwoods) and it's void free. It may outlast other forms but it might not - that depends mostly on care and what difference is there is likely a few years following decades of use.

ACX works just fine, especially for a trailer. If you want to go a step up go to MDO (medium density overlay) which is fir based ply with minimal voids and usually has a high lamination count, so it's stiffer and bit stronger than typical acx. It costs a little less than twice acx. It is also covered with a paper final layer that prevents checking. It's frequently used on signs and such that spend their life in the elements.

It's your money, but unless you're looking for a bright varnished finish marine plywood for a trailer or raft decking is a waste of money.

I just modified my trailer and in the process put on new trailer decking, I used 3/4" ACX and covered it with two coats of left over deck sealer - I can't recall the product but it wasn't Thompsons! I think it was a Valspar product...anyways it still looks great and is a nice mix of grip/slip. I may keep adding coats to the sides and try to get that slicker for loading the boat, but I definitely don't want the middle too slick or I'll end up in the river when unloading.
 

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Flagship has a lot of UV inhibitor, and so does Helmsman spar varnish.


Now I know we are talking about varnish. A spar is a mast or spreader on a sail boat.
 
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