Halcyon Water-Based Marine Varnish
Halcyon Water-Based Marine Varnish
TotalBoat Halcyon Marine Varnish video
Totalboat Halcyon applying amber to a boat
TotalBoat Halcyon applying clear to non-marine project
TotalBoat Halcyon finished boat
TotalBoat Halcyon picnic table
TotalBoat Halcyon shiny adirondack
TotalBoat Halcyon conference table
TotalBoat Halcyon bench
Halcyon Water-Based Marine Varnish

Halcyon Water-Based Marine Varnish


Durable one-part, water-based marine varnish dries to a UV-stable, gloss finish that accentuates the wood grain and improves clarity — even after multiple coats. Dries super fast, so you can apply up to 5 coats in a day, without sanding between coats. Low-odor, low-VOC formula cleans up with soap and water. Resealable, easy-pour pouch prevents messes and waste. Choose light amber gloss, clear gloss, or clear satin finish.

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  • Dries to a hard but flexible amber gloss, clear gloss, or clear satin finish on all types of wood
  • No mixing or measuring, and won’t skin over while you’re using it
  • Easy to apply by brush, roller, or spraying — no thinning necessary
  • Allows rapid recoating in just 1 hour @ 72°F — no sanding between coats (up to 12 hours)
  • Apply up to 5 coats in 1 day, finish faster, and set sail sooner
  • Multiple coats of Halcyon Varnish provide the preferred, rich amber tone of a classic, marine spar varnish.
  • Halcyon Clear Varnish imparts a natural-looking finish to light-colored woods & accents the grain and character of darker woods
  • Use Halcyon Satin as a final coat over Clear Gloss or Clear Amber Gloss for a sleek satin finish
  • Extremely low VOC content of less than 75 g/L
  • Low odor means no harsh fumes, making it great for indoor use
  • Excellent UV protection, abrasion resistance, and gloss retention make it ideal for exterior use
  • Long-lasting, hard finish resists scratches, solvents, and abrasion
  • Comes in a resealable pouch that prevents skinning over and product waste
  • Water-based formula means easy cleanup with just soap and water
  • For interior use and exterior use above the waterline
  • Compatible with 1- and 2-part varnishes
  • Cured Color & Finish: Halcyon/clear amber gloss, Halcyon Clear Gloss, Halcyon Clear Satin
  • Sizes: Pint, Quart, and 4 Quarts
  • NOTE: Satin finish is not available in 4 Quart size

Choose a classic, clear amber gloss, clear gloss, or clear satin finish

TotalBoat Halcyon marine gloss varnishes give you a choice on how to finish your brightwork or other marine woodwork: crystal clear, or with a slight amber tone. Both finishes accentuate the wood grain, and eliminate the cloudy haze associated with applying multiple coats of other wood finish products. Halcyon and Halcyon Clear Gloss also offer greater clarity, abrasion resistance, and UV protection than traditional marine varnishes. Want the clarity, durability and UV protection without the gloss? Our new Halcyon Clear Satin varnish is ideal for creating a sleek satin finish that’s perfect for interior and exterior wood. For the best finish and depth, just apply build coats of Halcyon amber or clear gloss, and use Halcyon Clear Satin for the final coat.

Get your gloss (or satin) on in hours—not days or weeks

Compared to conventional varnish, TotalBoat Halcyon Water-Based Varnishes provide a fast application, faster drying times, and the fastest, easiest cleanup so you can finish varnishing your brightwork in a matter of hours. No more days and sometimes weeks of stripping off old varnish, coating, waiting hours for it to dry, sanding, recoating, more waiting, and more sanding until the gloss or satin finish is truly finished.

Halcyon Marine Varnish adheres so strongly, and dries so quickly there’s not much time for the dust to settle. You can recoat in as little as 1 hour at 72°F. Finish faster, set sail sooner, and enjoy your boat and the compliments you’ll get on your beautiful, glossy brightwork. Halcyon means happy, which is what you’ll be while using it due to its low, low VOC content and no noxious fumes. You’ll be really happy when you see how easy it is to maintain the beauty with just 1 to 2 quick coats annually.

The only thing hard about it is the finish

When it comes to varnish coatings, hardness affects durability. TotalBoat Halcyon is very hard for a one-part varnish, and is made to last. It resists scratches and abrasion without yellowing, gloss loss, lifting, cracking, clouding, dead spots, and other issues commonly associated with conventional oil-based varnish.

To develop an easy-to-use, eco-friendly marine varnish hard enough and UV stable enough to withstand assault from humans and harsh weather, flexible enough to move with wood as it expands and contracts with weather and use, fast drying to allow multiple coats (up to 5!) in one day, with very little odor, an extremely low VOC level that practically ensures compliance (always check local regulations, of course), and easy soap and water cleanup, we had to think so far outside the box, we ended up thinking outside the can, too, and put Halcyon in a resealable, airtight bag. This way, it won’t skin over while in storage, nothing gets wasted, and it’s always ready to use. With Halcyon’s ease of use and convenient packaging, glossy beautiful brightwork is truly in the bag.

Easy to get along with, and works well with others

TotalBoat Halcyon’s advanced water-based formula is simple to use and very forgiving, producing beautiful, consistent, level results with just a foam brush. It flows on easily and is much easier to work with than oil-based varnishes, synthetic marine wood finishes, and even other waterborne marine polyurethane finishes.

Best of all, Halcyon is compatible with other 1- and 2-part varnishes, so it can be applied over properly prepared existing varnish that’s in good condition—no need to strip off the old varnish first, which will save a lot of time and elbow grease. Here are a few more ways Halcyon varnishes make the task of varnishing brightwork and other woodwork easier than ever:

  • Easy surface prep, just clean, sand, and wipe bare wood or previous varnish in good condition
  • Easy to pour, no mess
  • Easy to store, resealable bag prevents waste and ensures varnish is ready to use when you need it
  • Easy to work with, no mixing or measuring, no thinning, easy to apply, dries phenomenally fast
  • Easy to recoat, after it dries, just apply another coat—without sanding first, within 12-hour window
  • Easy on the eyes, with a beautiful, long-lasting, UV-stable gloss that resists scratches and abrasion
  • Easy on the nose, doesn’t stink! (unlike conventional oil-based varnishes or synthetic marine finishes)
  • Easy on the environment, very low VOC content limits exposure to volatile organic compounds
  • Easy to clean up, just use soap and water
  • Easy to keep clean, just wipe down cured varnish with water
  • Easy to maintain, just clean, scuff-sand, and apply 1-2 quick coats annually


  • Finish: Gloss (Clear or Amber); Satin (Clear)
  • Gloss DOI (Distinctness of Image): >90% @ 60°; >77% @ 20°
  • Product color (uncured): Milky white, with a pinkish tinge
  • Finish color (cured): Halcyon (clear, slight amber), Halcyon Clear Gloss and Clear Satin (clear)
  • Application: Brush, roll & tip, or spray
  • Application temperature: 50-90°F; relative humidity 0-90%
  • Surface prep solvent wipe: Denatured alcohol (only on bare wood, or after 24 hours)
  • Thinning: Not required—even for the first coat. To create desired flow, thin with water up to 20%


  • Cleanup: Soap and water
  • Wet edge working time: 45-90 seconds
  • Dry time to recoat: 1 hour @ 72°F
  • Overcoat without sanding: Up to 12 hours
  • Total number of coats: 2-3 coats, minimum
  • Accelerated application: A maxiumum of 5 coats per day, if desired. Always wait 12 hours after applying Halcyon or Halcyon Clear, and before sanding.
  • IMPORTANT APPLICATION NOTE FOR HALCYON CLEAR SATIN: To ensure the best finish clarity and depth, we strongly recommend that you use Halcyon Clear Gloss or Halcyon Amber Gloss for build coats, and use Halcyon Satin only as a final coat.

WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including n-methylpyrrolidone, which is known to the State of California to cause developmental toxicity. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov

TotalBoat Halcyon Varnish – All Finishes – Technical Data

Halcyon & Halcyon Clear Gloss Varnish SDS

Halcyon Clear Satin Varnish SDS

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply Halcyon over TotalBoat Gleam Varnish or Lust Varnish?

Yes. Make sure to sand with 320 grit to scuff the surface first, ensuring a strong bond between the 2 varnishes.

Can you apply Halcyon over other varnishes?

Yes, Halcyon Water-Based Marine Varnish is compatible with other 1- and 2-part varnishes, so it can be applied over properly prepared existing varnish that’s in good condition—no need to strip off the old varnish first. Some people choose to build base coats with their preferred specialty varnish, and topcoat with Halcyon for clarity and durability.

Is Halcyon more durable than regular oil-based varnishes?

This is a very hard finish once fully cured. While it does not have the classic golden color of oil-based formulas, using it as a finish coat over such varnishes will provide the best of both worlds. Halcyon won’t yellow, and it is durable enough for exterior wood applications like outdoor furniture, doors, moldings, plus the brightwork and trim on boats it was originally developed for.

Can this water-based varnish be applied over epoxy resin?

Yes, it can be applied over cured epoxy. Before you varnish, you must remove any amine blush from the epoxy system, and sand the surface with 320-grit to provide a surface that varnish will stick to. This varnish may be applied pretty thick, up to the point where it starts to drip or sag. It will self-level.

Can it be used on teak?

Yes. Halcyon varnish works well on teak. We recommend sealing with Totalboat Wood Sealer varnish primer first then apply 6 to 8 coats of Halcyon and it should last for a while.

Is this water-based varnish durable enough for the brightwork on my boat?

Varnish begins to fail once moisture has penetrated down to the wood. That’s why so many coats of varnish are recommended. With Halcyon, you can apply 5 coats per day, and a maintenance coat or two per year. It dried to an extremely hard, durable, UV resistant finish. It is also an excellent alternative to marine wood finish products.

How do I apply Halcyon?

Apply by brush, roller, and tip, or spray. We recommend smooth, even coats (3-5 mils wet) of un-thinned varnish. Recoat after 1 hour at 72°F, or when the surface is tack free. For up to 12 hours, Halcyon can be overcoated without sanding. For best results, use 320-400 grit sandpaper before the final coat to remove any dust or inconsistencies in the varnish. Detailed information can be found here.

Does it need thinning?

No, thinning is not required, even for the first coat. However, Halcyon may be thinned with water, up to 20% (maximum), to help create the desired flow.

Can it be sprayed?

Yes, Halcyon Water-Based Varnish can be sprayed. Thin up to 20% with water, if necessary.

Does Halcyon dry clear?

It depends on the finish. You can choose between light amber gloss, clear gloss, or clear satin finish. For the best finish and depth, apply build coats of Halcyon amber or clear gloss, and use Halcyon Clear Satin for the final coat. Keep in mind that Halcyon appears milky-white right out of the bag, but cures to a clear or clear amber color, depending on the formula.

Do I have to stir this varnish before using?

Massaging and gently agitating the bag before pouring is the most effective way to mix TotalBoat Halcyon. However, Halcyon Clear Gloss and Halcyon Amber Gloss do not require a lot of heavy shaking or stirring to be ready for use. For Halcyon Clear Satin, we recommend massaging and shaking the bag prior to dispensing.

What is the working time?

Depending on the temperature and environmental conditions, you have only 45-90 seconds to maintain a workable edge, so it is recommended that you work diligently.

How many coats do I need to apply?

We recommend building a minimum of 2-3 coats. More coats will improve the gloss finish and depth of the grain.

How long do I need to wait before recoating?

You can recoat in as little as 1 hour, and apply up to 5 coats in 1 day, without sanding between coats (always wait 12 hours after applying Halcyon or Halcyon Clear before sanding).

What is the coverage of this water-based varnish?

80-100 square feet per quart @ 3 mils wet.

How do I maximize the performance of Halcyon Water-Based Varnish?

Once cured, Halcyon can be cleaned regularly with mild soap and water. For any scratches or damage that may occur, tape off around the area and sand lightly with 320-grit sandpaper until the damaged varnish has been sanded away. Remove any sanding residue. Apply 2-3 new coats of Halcyon to the area. Apply 1-2 maintenance coats each year.

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