I had a very bad experience with the Varathane water-based stuff. And the guy who recommended it to me had an even worse time with it!
He had used it successfully before on several boats of his and recommended it as an easy-to-use, low-fume alternative to the other polyurethanes and varnishes. So I used it on a paddle, gave it several coats, looked good. The first time in the water it got soft, started turning white and peeled off just like the skin on a popped finger blister would! I was stunned. It told him about it and he couldn't believe it, having had good results before.
Later he varnished an entire boat with it (a new can, I am assuming) and the day he tested it in the water, all the parts of the hull that were under water turned white, just like my paddle. He had to scrape and sand all that stuff off and start all over. I guarantee you he was not a happy camper.
The only thing we can think of is that Varathane changed the formula. Moral of the story: beware of this product and test on a small item before using it on your prized paddle.
Hardshell Kayak Sail Rigs
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