Monday, January 31, 2011


The brand of varnish a boat owner uses on brightwork is an intensely personal choice.  Should you be walking down the dock and see someone applying varnish, you may ask what they are are using, but you should never then make a comparison with what you use.  Commenting on someone's varnish choice is akin to commenting on their choice of a spouse.  Whatever thoughts you may have, you must keep them to yourself.

The varnish we have been using on Eolian ever since we came to be responsible for her care is Interlux Gold Spar #95.   I'd like to be able to tell you that we tested 20 brands, talked to everyone on several docks and did intensive internet research before settling on this choice.  I'd like to be able to tell myself that.  But I can't. 

Instead, I chose this brand because it was available; we kind of found each other.  But after living with it for more than a decade, #95 is a choice I have become comfortable with.  It is predictable.  I know how to take advantage of its strengths and how to work with its weaknesses.  

Then last summer as we prepared for the annual brightwork extravaganza, disaster struck.  Good Old #95 was not available, anywhere. 

It was off the shelves.  
It had been... discontinued! 

I literally felt jilted.

I was unprepared to be thrown back into the varnish marketplace.  All I wanted to do was buy a can of Good Old #95 and get to work, but that was just not to be.

First there was denial:  "If we call enough stores, we will find one that stocks #95..."  Nope.

Then anger:  "How could they do this to us?!  We have been loyal customers.  What about all the loyal customers??!"  But of course, this led nowhere.

Finally, we reached a reluctant acceptance.  And we timidly entered the cacophony of the current varnish marketplace.  There were claims: "Smooth!"  "Silky!"  And promises: "One coat will last all year!"  "Applies itself while you sit in the shade and drink a beer!"

But in the end, we went with the recommendation from Varnish Luke* - a guy who flies under the radar, making a living by doing brightwork for folks at Shilshole.  We used Petit Flagship.

It's too soon to tell if this will be a long-term relationship.  Or a one year stand.

* Name changed.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...