paint on varnish or varnish on paint?

 Hi guys, greetings from wet and cold England

I am getting to decision time on my Shearwater 17 Build and I think I am going to paint the hull in "oxford Blue" and varnish the deck

My Question is do you Varnish the whole kayak first then paint the hull ?

As the hull will need repainting from time to time and if it has Varnish on top of the paint we may have issues ??

would appreciate your advice





5 replies:

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RE: paint on varnish or varnish on paint?

Remember, paint is just colored varnish in the basic sense. You usually varnish wood to provide UV protection, among other things. You'll varnish over the epoxy because standard epoxy doesn't have UV protection unless you buy the expensive stuff that has the additives (I forget which west system number that is) (varnish costs less then the special resin). I would paint the hull first and sand out any paint that runs onto the deck, then varnish the deck, taping the edge well because any varnish over the paint can give it a yellow tint and curdle if they don't like each other. The biggest problem I usually have is the epoxy leaving a blush that I don't completely get off and no matter what I'm put on over it, it never cures or sets right and I have to strip it and do over (sometimes several times!).

RE: paint on varnish or varnish on paint?

Hey Mike.   I would varnish first.  Reason being if you made the mistake of getting varnish where the paint will be, no big deal.   If, however, if you paint first and get paint on a future varnished surface, the paint will get "into" the grain and be a big problem to remove, ie: Lots of additional sanding.  That's my 2 cents worth...   ~BRUCE~

RE: paint on varnish or varnish on paint?

cheers guys, appreciate your reply,

worthy warning Bruce, thanks


Just waiting for the temperature to get above freezing to give it a go !



RE: paint on varnish or varnish on paint?

When deciding which to paint first, my guiding principal is to always do the "presentation side" last. In this case that would be the deck as you don't want your beautiful paint work damaged by turning the boat upside down to paint the hull.

You also have to remember that traditional varnish is simply boiled lindseed oil. Not a very high tech finish and not at all durable over the years, but due to the nature of traditional boat works, it serves well as all you have to do is slap on a new coat of varnish when the old one dries out and cracks.

But new age paints do not do well over old world stuff. So I suggest you paint the hull first, let it cure well, and then mask off the hull and do the deck in a good, expensive, UV stable finish with plenty of wet sanding between coats to give it that mirror finish. It's that part of the building process where the extra time and effort put into your project really pays off with a gorgous finish.

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