letting varnish cure

For those of you with varnished hulls... how long did you let the varnish cure before splashing your boat?  I've completed the varnishing on my C16, and only need to carve the seat, fit out all my foam in the cockpit, and reattach all the deck rigging before I'm ready for water.  I applied the last coat of varnish (Epifanes Gloss) on Monday night, and wonder whether I should wait another week, or get 'er wet this weekend.  I'd like the varnish to be hard enough so as to prevent gouging the heck out of my baby on her sea-trials!



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RE: letting varnish cure

I took mine out a couple of days after the last coat. I should have waited another week. But I just couldn't wait.

RE: letting varnish cure

Very good question and I hope we get some responses to varnishing in general.  Getting a good finish has proved to be the most difficult part of the whole project, for me at least.  Probably because this makes the final statement about the boat and your workmanship.  So I would be interested in anything regarding varnish from application, curing time, sanding between coats, HOW TO KEEP DUST OFF - I HATE DUST!

Well all that said, I took one of mine out a couple days after varnishing and it clearly was not fully cured given some of the resulting scratches and gouges - and I'm generally pretty careful around stuff that will scratch the boat.  I should have waited longer as said in the previous post.  Most varnishes state they are dry to the touch somewhere around 4 hours, dry for recoating between 12 to 18 hours, and "dry" withing in 24 hours.  Well that may be dry but it is not cured.  I did a quick web-search and didn't find anything specifically about full curing time.

I have noticed that the varnish off-gasses fairly strongly for a good week after applying a coat, based on the strong odor in my garage.  The odor starts to diminish after that which may be some indication of the curing process.  So after this long-winded response, I would say a couple days is probably not adequate, but getting the boat wet shouldn't hurt it - just be extra careful about scratching it - and that includes putting it on/off your racks for transportation which seems to be one of the worst places for scratching for me.  Beyond that anything else is purely speculation based on observations like off gassing odor.  

Hope others with more varnishing experience will chime in here because I have tried different types of varnishes, applications, sanding, polishing, you name it and I have yet to be satisfied with the final result.  It is sad after you spend so many hours building what I consider to be a work of art, and then you are satisfied with all the effort, except the very last step.  It may look good from a short distance, but up close the varnish makes a very large statement.

RE: letting varnish cure

My boat is what I expected it to be..a learning experience. Each step was an adventure. The varnishing was indeed frustrating as the Schooner Gold was a bear to work with and my basement is not the best place to have been doing that.

That said, I think it looks pretty good and I intend to use the heck out of it. Next winter I figure I'll take the rigging off, sand it down and revarnish, giving it a month or so to cure.


RE: letting varnish cure


Most people that look think I'm being picky.  My problem is mostly dust.  Otherwise it looks good.  I did the same thing, while I was finishing the new build I sanded my other boat down and refinished it.  This is one of the great things - you get to get rid of all the old scratches and put on a new finish.  I agree Dan - give it a month to fully cure, but that wouldn't keep me from using the boat sooner.


RE: letting varnish cure

Ok, so I'm going to wait until Memorial Day weekend to splash.  That will give me 12 days after the last coat before she goes in the water.  That will also give me ample time to make adjustments to cockpit fit... so that by the time I hit the water the kayak should fit like a glove. 


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