Changing Varnish

For many years now the rudders for the Sage Marine boats have been varnished with Interlux’sJet Speed‘ and ‘Compass Clear‘.  Details on the varnishng process are outlined in two posts from December 2014 –


These past couple of weeks I’ve been varnishing the latest batch rudders from JO Woodworks and the cans of Jet Speed & Compass Clear were running low.  In ordering new cans I found my usual wholesaler doesn’t have Jet Speed.  I searched around the Internet and no one has Jet Speed.  I contacted my Interlux Rep to find out, sadly, Jet Speed has been discontinued.

brushing 1


Interlux recommended replacement is a product called ‘Clear Wood Sealer‘.  All good BUT –

  • it is a two part product meaning you mix in a catalyst … this requires mixing cups to ‘make a batch’ and throwing out unused mixed varnish.
  • the cost is THREE TIMES that of Jet Speed

Another option is to use only Compass Clear, which brings up another BUT: it would take longer to varnish the rudders as its dry time is twice that of Jet Speed.

So … we are now going to be varnishing future rudders with  Epifanes varnish products.  Specifically we will use Wood Finish Gloss and Clear Gloss.

The cost is just a little more than when using Jet Speed (a LOT less than using Clear Wood Sealer) and will save time as Wood Finish Gloss requires no sanding between all coats (if the next application is put down within 72 hours). A light sanding is needed between coats of Clear Gloss.  This means the new varnishing protocol will be: three coats of Wood Finish Gloss, on top of the two coats JOWoodworks applies, followed by a minimum of two coats of Clear Gloss.  Finished rudders will have a minimum total of seven coats of varnish.

– Dave

One thought on “Changing Varnish

  1. Bob McGovern says:

    Hey Dave. Odds are Jet Speed is just Compass Clear with some additional ‘driers’ added, They are typically metal compounds (like cobalt, cadmium, or manganese) which act as catalysts in oil-based (alkyd, tung, linseed) varnishes. That’s the real reason old paints contained lead, BTW — to speed drying. You can buy a can of ‘Japan Drier’ at many hardware stores. A little bit goes a long way! Don’t want to spray it obviously, and wear long gloves to keep it off your skin.

    Might be worth playing with, if you have some Compass Clear hanging around.


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