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TOPIC: Helmsman Spar Urethane

Helmsman Spar Urethane 7 years 3 months ago #16622

  • MarkS
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I tried something new recently, and am very happy with the results (so far anyway). I was shopping for UV resistant polyurethane and having trouble finding some. I ran across the stain I wanted to use and actually bothered to read the label for a change! It recommended Helmsman Spar Urethane (by Minwax) for outdoor usage where UV and moisture protection would be a factor.

While I'm sure it won't replace 40 coats of varnish on a classic wood boat, after 4 coats I had a hard, beautiful finish I'm happy with. Also appears to be very hard. (Used it on southern pine, but now feels more like a hardwood.) Mineral spirits was required for brush clean up, but worked well.

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Mark

Re: Helmsman Spar Urethane 7 years 3 months ago #16654

Looks great and easy to find. I'm liking it.

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Re: Helmsman Spar Urethane 4 years 2 months ago #86389

  • 63 Sabre
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Mark, I've been using that stuff for years on my boats. Don't let the purists know you're using it, shame be on you. The stuff is great. I put 17 coats on my Century in '07 and never had to touch it since. I have 3 coats on my Shell Lake project I'm working on now and you can shave in the reflection. It's hard as a rock also. Here's my top deck. I used Minwax stain and then the Helmsman poly. Did some sanding in between coats.
Cal
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Re:Helmsman Spar Urethane 4 years 1 month ago #86404

Great looking finnish there Cal. I have used this product also and have allways been happy with the results.

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Re:Helmsman Spar Urethane 3 years 11 months ago #88727

I'm getting ready to tackle the wood refinishing in my Delmar. Have a question for those guys who use the Minwax Helmsman Spar urethane. I recently used this on another project (firewood box) and I found it was pretty thick to work with using a brush. Also found that it tacked up very fast, and in the case of the woodbox, by the time I got it all varnished and was back to the first area of application, going over that at all would either lump up the finish or at least show a line where the overlap was a lot thicker. So, do you folks normally thin this product with min spirits before brushing it on? One website I found recommended thinning 50% and applying with a soft cloth pad instead of a brush.

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Re:Helmsman Spar Urethane 3 years 11 months ago #88754

  • 63 Sabre
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I never thin the stuff. I find that if you put it on too heavy on a vertical surface it will run. A couple thin coats work best with light sanding in between. I brush a small section and then brush another section feathering the new into the previous before it "sets". Don't try to get a smooth glossy finish when brushing, the stuff flows to a gloss by itself. If it's lumping up you're waiting too long to feather into it. A second coat requires it to dry completely, at least a day. Don't rush it.
Try different techniques on some scrap wood.
The above pictures of my wood deck has I think 3 coats.
Good luck.
Cal

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Re:Helmsman Spar Urethane 3 years 11 months ago #88831

Thanks Cal.

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Re:Helmsman Spar Urethane 3 years 11 months ago #88835

I have used poly on some large furniture finishing projects. found that it cured much slower in cooler temperatures. slower cure times allowed all the bubbles to come to the surface.warmer temps and low humidity make for faster cure times.the bubbles would get trapped I found slower is better. In between coats, I sand with 220 to get rid of any bumps. some times I would have a couple days between coats. The first coat sanded back down to the wood. The first piece had 10 coats . the second only 5 when compared the that one looked much better than all the extra coats. after the 3rd or 4th you will start to see them smooth out. the final one I did with 000 steel wool . I thought the end result was as nice or better than factory made furniture. My ex still enjoys it very much...

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Re:Helmsman Spar Urethane 3 years 11 months ago #88838

  • Nautilus
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I noticed the beautiful finish on the furniture when I was over at your X's house the other night. Looks great!

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Website: NautilusRestorations.com

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Re:Helmsman Spar Urethane 3 years 11 months ago #88986

NICE! Hope you got the complimentary penicillin shot. Do you still have your wallet?

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Re:Helmsman Spar Urethane 3 years 11 months ago #89146

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Be nice now! :)
I used Helmsman on a bar top refinish. At the recommendation of a friend that had used it on a desk project. Three coats, scuffed with a pad between coats. The only issue was some tiny air bubbles around the edges where the top and the edge rail met. Not really the fault of the product, it was hot days and maybe to much brush action stirred in more bubbles than could float out before it set up. Other wise it looked miles deep.

Yea the whiny purists will talk trash about you using "modern" products on a old wood boat. But most have never held a brush, just a pen to write big checks to the guy that convinced them to do things the old time consuming way. You don't think if they had epoxy and urethane back in the 20's and 30's they wouldn't have used them? Hah...

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Boats: 76 Chrysler Conqueror S3, 61 Larson Playmate. Outboards: 76 Chrysler 105, 70 Chrysler 70, 57 Evinrude Bigtwin 35, 80 Johnson 35 looper, 74 Chrysler 45, 67 Mercury 650SS, and others.

Re:Helmsman Spar Urethane 3 years 10 months ago #89969

Guys, I have had more than my share of experience with a lot of different varnishes. I have used Helmsman on a few projcts including an old Boston Whaler 13' seats and coaming boards. It held up pretty well considering I put on about 5 coats. I also did the cockpit trim on a Century 270 Raven. 5 coats and one seaon on the water and it started to peel in places. But this was out in the Iowa weather that summer and under a cover. I do not think I could blame the Helmsman on that. I like using it as it flowed nicely and had a decent shine and depth build up.
I did a 1968 Century Resorter 2 years ago and thinned my first cost 50% with Captains Spar by Interlux. Then the second coat I thinned 25% and did that coat 24 hours later. You want the first tow coats to saok into the stain and wood to seal it properly. 3rd coat was followed after four days and no sanding in between coats. 4th and 5th coats, I bushed full strength with scuffing between coats, no sanding. Then after the 5th-12th coat I started to sand with 320 grit and gave it a good flat sanding and then followed up with scuff pads on corners and edges. After 12 coats, this has given me a beautiful finish. It is expensive, but does seem to last. I did this on my Century Ski Dart back in 1998 and have only had to put 4 refreshing coats on since then to keep it very nice.
tried Epiphanes and Flagship by Interlux, but I cannot get it to flow nicely with my brushing technique. I was told to get a small pan of water and heat teh Epiphanes to 98-100 degrees F and Epiphanes will flow a lot better. Maybe I will try that on an Aristocraft Topedo that I am doing now. I am on coat 6. I know that the Captains, Epiphanes and Flagship is expensive, but I spend a lot of time sanding, and want it to last. So if you go through 6 quarts of varnish on a boat refinish, the extra $120 seems like a good investment to me. I do think that it all goes back to what we can afford and are personally comfortable with. BTW, I am amazed at how much restoration product prices (Paints, Stains, Varnishes, Fairing Compounds, Resins etc) have literally gone trough the roof!

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