“Whatever’s Handy” and why you shouldn’t use it:

I want to take a minute to talk about this. I have worked on many projects where owners and captains have used “whatever’s handy” on their teak.  For example; varnished helm, Cetol caprails, oiled handrails, some old polyurethane they found in a locker somewhere slopped on as a repair for cracked varnish, all on the same boat.    Do not do this! You are setting yourself up for a ginormous and expensive nightmare later.

I understand how it happens, you buy a boat and the previous owner had all these cans of products left over, you want to save money, and you don’t want them to go to waste (hell Eileanach had a bunch of Cetol, Epiphanes, and polyurethane in her lockers when I got her). That, or you go to the store looking for something and they don’t have it so you get whatever they have or some store associate convinces you to buy this or that. It happens, and when you’re out sailing and have to get something then ok but when you stop for any length of time strip it and redo it with the same medium as the rest of the boat.
Here’s why:
Different products have different lifespans and if everything is different everywhere then it will result in constant, almost every day, maintenance. As you repair one failed area a new one will pop up immediately. If you’re in port, have time and can afford buying a full quart or gallon of a bunch of different finishes, then ok but if you are sailing now you have to have all of these partial cans of products taking up space all over your boat. Let’s just hope you can remember 6 months or a year from now what you put where because most finishes are not compatible with one another. Sure, it may lay on top of it ok but will flake off the first chance it can get. Also, you have to remember the solvents, cleaners, waxes and everything else that has a negative reaction for every single product on board.
If you are in port for a while, or especially if you just bought a boat or are refitting yours get rid of all those partial cans the last owner left or you bought in a hurry. Hell, talk to other boats in the marina and they probably will buy those partial cans. You won’t make much but every bit helps, right? Now strip your boat and do all the bright work with the same product. It sucks to do that, I know, but the benefits are huge. When you go cruising buy a gallon or two of it. You will be set for years and years and not have a million leaky old have cured cans of whatever taking up space. You can print one MSDS (material safety data sheet) for it and keep it by the product so there’s nothing to remember. You will no longer be doing constant unexpected maintenance every day. Simply set an easy to follow maintenance schedule and follow it.
I break my boat up into three areas and keep products accordingly.

Interior
Bright work
Deck

Do this and your teak nightmare will turn into a lovely dream to be cherished for years

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