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  1. #1
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    Feb 2013
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    Waller County, TX, USA
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    Default Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    Is this legit? I happen to have several gallons of this stuff. I could probably scrounge up white primer and paint too, but if Spar urethane will last as long or longer than paint, Id rather use it for the natural look. Is there anything needed aside from putting it straight on? Should I soak the wood with oil or stain first? Just want a low maintenance finish.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
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    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    I haven't used Spar Urethane on my bee hives, but I have used it for outdoors items. It makes nice wood look good, that's why I have used it, but it is definitely not as durable as paint. I have to re-apply about every two years in my area, and I suspect it might be even more by you because I believe it is UV rays that make it degrade the most. Re-applying is not that easy, You have sand prior to re-applying. I do not recommend it as a low maintenance finish, but it does look nice if you don't mind the work.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2013
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    Waller County, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    Maybe primer and paint is a better choice. Exterior grade latex should do the trick.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
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    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    That's what I use.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2013
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    Midland, MI
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    577

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    Take this with a grain of salt as I am a first year beekeeper with no long term experience.

    I have my bait hives all finished with spar urethane. I use this as coating for custom oars and paddles which are obviously subject to water exposure. If the oars hold up year after year, i don't see why it won't work on bee hives. I did use a stain, but only for easthetic reasons. Some of my bait hives are all pine and I just don't care much for such a light color. This is a human preference and I suspect the beews care very little. They are used to living in "ugly" tree hollows and the like.

    I suspect that the urethane will last every bit as long as the paint, and it will probably look better as white paint doesn't look so great after a while.

    Like I said, I am new to this, so you'd be well served to wait for one of the more experienced folks weigh in.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Earlysville, Virginia USA
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    96

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    I would not use it either. I believe that latex paint will breath a bit and thus alow moisture from the hive to excape slowly while spar urethane is totally waterproof and thus will be more likely to loose its bond to the wood if there is exess moisture from the bees. I have not found spar urethane will last that long outside without new coats. Sure looks great though!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    2,492

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    There is a big difference between a boat oar and a beehive. The beehive sits in the sun, wind, rain, snow and sleet every single day, you use an oar or paddle once in a while and store it inside the rest of the time.

    Spar varnish will hold up for a couple years, but ask anyone stuck with the job of maintaining woodwork on boats and they will tell you there is no low maintenance clear wood finish. Every single one, including expoy resin, comes off in a few years, and you have to scrape, sand, and re-finish pretty much every other year if you want it to stay nice.

    Use a good alkyd primer, good quality exterior paint, and keep any eye on them, and you can make boxes last almost forever if you re-paint before it peels. 7-10 years is typical.

    And no, the bees don't care unless you paint them black and cook them out in the summer!

    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    966

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    I grew up around boats in the Pacific Northwest.

    When exposed to the weather varnished trim need to be redone every couple of years.
    I'd stick with wax/rosin dipping or paint.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    Quote Originally Posted by brazosdog02 View Post
    Is this legit? I happen to have several gallons of this stuff. I could probably scrounge up white primer and paint too, but if Spar urethane will last as long or longer than paint, Id rather use it for the natural look. Is there anything needed aside from putting it straight on? Should I soak the wood with oil or stain first? Just want a low maintenance finish.
    I've used Helmsman spar urethane on cypress and and pine boxes for 3 years. It takes preparation to make it last - sand the wood, then three thick coats of urethane, sanding lightly after each undercoat. I only have a few which need re-doing. I can see where I skimped on sanding or urethane on those. It's probably more work than you'd want to do on a large scale, but for a small number of hives, it's worthwhile.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
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    2,374

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    Any of you use oil (such as linseed oil) as a covering?
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    I use exterior, uv protected spar varnish, but I soak the box exteriors with all the watco danish oil they will take first, until the end grain and knots won't take any more. Let it dry a few days then two coats of spar varnish. Four years and they still look great. But we don't have any summer rain so maybe that helps. I haven't seen any need to redo every two years, except maybe for the landing part of the bottom board which gets the most intense sun and rain, those look like they could use a refinish. My telescoping covers have a galvanized metal top. The honey supers don't stay on during winter, so the main hit is on the two brood deeps, which are holding up well. The natural wood look is worth something, especially for us hobby beeks I think.

    If I was equipped to do so, I would switch to wax dipping I think.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Portland, Oregon
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    966

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    I probably should have mentioned that I was in WETsern Washington.
    One year a friend counted 180 consecutive days with some form of precipitation at some point during the day.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,594

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    Yacht "brightwork" would typically have about five to seven coats applied to completely fill the grain. Well maintained boats would have a minimum of one coat applied each year. Some boats received a coat of varnish at the end of the season as well, but that is rare from my experience.

    It will require constant spotting and re coating to maintain the look you're hoping for.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    3,770

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    I've used it on a handful of home made nuc's. It's held up VERY well. That said, the prep was pretty comprehensive. The boxes were tight. Joints were filled before sanding. A light (natural) stain was applied twice over and then four coats of the spar finish. They were made 3 seasons ago and a few have been out all year long (splits, wintered over nucs's, etc.). One of the boxes sat on top of a 10 frame medium upon which sat a cover with a low spot. That nuc has some gray areas that need to be sanded down and touched up but the coating around it is solid. If you don't mind the work, go for it. They look awful pretty sitting there showing their natural grain!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Oshawa, Ontario
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    200

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    I have a couple of 1/2 log benches at the cottage.
    Nothing lasts forever, expecially a clear finish.
    What I do is wait until enough has peeled to make it worth my time, then scrape the flakes off and splash more on.
    It gives it a neat look when you urethane directly over the weathered wood without sanding, and provides sufficient protection.
    If you have the stuff anyway, give it a shot.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    876

    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    bph 5.jpg
    April 2012

    I did my cypress hives Jan 2009, 2 coats of stain and 3 Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane Indoor/Outdoor,sanding inbetween. They still look like the day I finished them. My hives do get some shade they are not sitting out in a field, and I have not noticed any moisture problems. I do not know how long it will last but I have a table that I finished the same way, that sits out in my yard 5 years ago. It is looking dull but it is not peeling or anything like that.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
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  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane instead of paint?

    Well, if you have it, it's cheaper than buying paint!

    I'll skip the clear finish, no need to show off all the knots and questionable corners on my boxes! I do have a couple that are completely clear, but paint works for me.

    Peter

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