Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

I'm varnishing my boat. I'm putting it on thin to avoid runs & sags but alas I still do get them. So the problem is this, the majority of the varnish is ready to scuff sand in 12 hours or so but the drips, because they are thicker, are not. If I try to sand them out they just gum up and make a bigger mess. I could just wait until the problem areas dry but I am wondering just how long that is going to take. I have already waited 2 days and they still are somewhat "gummy". I looked at the remainder of the varnish in the jar I used to dip out of and there is barely a skin on the surface after 2 days.  BTW, the varnish is fresh, just opened the can. I'm using Z-Spar Captain's Varnish. I have not thinned it or added anything else to it. It has been hot here but also very humid. Could the humidity be affecting the drying time?

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RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

I use a brand new utlity knife blade to slice the drips flush with the surface, then sand. I just finished varnishing my Shearwater hybrid. I used Epifanes varnish, applied with the thin, yellow foam rollers from West System, and tipped off with a foam brush. Virtually no runs using this method.

 

Cheers,

Pat

RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

I wait until it is dry as I can get it, but use a utility knife to get the glob or sag off, then sand.  But you gotta be careful with the sandpaper or the Scotchbrite pad or it will beave behind a dark color, which is permanent because it gets into the saft varnish.

RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

I bought a nice carbide long handled scraper and that works very nicely to take off the mistakes.  A lot more forgiving than a utility knife.  I'm sure I would end up doing more damage to the boat or myself with one of those.

RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

Varnish is a very thick finish. most people make the mistake of putting on heavy coats. multiple thin coats with thinner works the best for me. I also dip the brush in thinner, ever so often. this keeps the drag to a minimum. to finish with varnish is a slow process. leave alot of time for a coating.

RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

Thanks to all for the very helpful suggestions. The runs are a lot harder today so they are coming off easier. I know I need to work on my technique for applying varnish ... there seems to be a lot of differing views on that subject but I guess at the end of the day we each have to decide what works best for us, in a given situation. And of course, p-a-t-i-e-n-c-e is key.

RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

My can I keep the varnish in lets in too much air, for there is always a skin on top, even after only a day.  The stuff is getting thicker, but I don't want to throw it out and start a new batch cut with thinner.  Can I just add some thinner to the mix?  It goes on too thick in its present state, makes slabs, or globs.  I read about dipping the brush (or foam brush) in thinner once in a while.  I am down to the 4th application, soon I will be done!  See the post, MY MATUNUCK, it is coming along nicely.

RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

To keep the varnish left in the can fresh, carefully put about a table spoon of thinner in before resealing the can.  The trick is to have the thinner float on top of the varnish, so put it in gently and don't stir, shake or disturb.  The thinner keeps air from contacting the varnish surface and the varnish will be like new next time you open the can, even if it is left on the shelf for a long time.  Also, it works best to thin varnish and apply in thin coats.  It will avoid those pesky runs and drips.  I thin about 15-20 percent and apply about ten coats, rolling on with a fine foam roller and tipping out with a foam brush, wet sanding between each coat, for that show-quality finish.  Good luck.  Jer  http://gallery.me.com/jermcmanus

RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

Another way to keep varnish from hardening because of air in the can is to use clean stones, marbles, or other non-porous objects to displace the air.

Using this method, I was still able to use a small can I had opened over a year ago.

 

Rich

RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

Thank you, Rich and mtsailor.  Those are some great pictures mr mt.  If it weren't so late in the summer/season I would consider going on that kayaking tour of Lake Powel.  Your boats look great.  As for the varnishing, I made a new batch this morning with penetrol and thinner, 10 percent each.  Works pretty good when it is fresh.  So I can add thinner as I go, safely, then, and not mess up my finish?  And add marbles or rocks to the can?  Odd.  I am now using a plastic tub to store it in, which has a good seal on it.

RE: Yeah .... ANOTHER varnish question ;)

No matter how good the seal, varnish will still harden over time if there is air in the sealed container.  If you fill the container to the top, there won't be a problem.  If not, the rocks or marbles will bring the varnish level to the top.  Sounds weird, but it works!

 

Rich

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