Back in November I essentially finished and paddled my Auk 17. I am now getting around to varnishing it. I am using foam brushes, Interlux spar varnish, thinned with Penetrol. I put on the first coat, and it turned out decent. I used the scotchbrite pads and scuffed up the surface. The finish was smoother, but not as smooth as I thought it should be. The second coat turned out better. I used 400 grit and wet sanded, I was much happier with the surface. I haven't started the third coat, and have a few questions I'm hoping for help with before I start.
1) So far I have used foam brushes from box stores, and when I bought foam brushes from a well established woodworking store during the epoxy application, they were more money, but when I used them to tip the epoxy, they didn't seem to do any better than the cheap ones. Should I try to find better foam brushes...( if so where )... or should I continue with the cheap ones.
2) The holes are drilled for the foot pegs, but they aren't installed yet, I didn't want to fill the screw heads with varnish, and worry about drips around them. I haven't drilled the holes for the deck cord, (not sure if I want any yet ), but if I do, I didn't want to fill those heads, or varnish around the tabs either. When should I install the pegs, or should I have already ?
3) I plan on 4 or 5 coats. After the last coat, if there still are some surface flaws, what is the best way to smooth them and maintain or re-gain the gloss finish, without having to re-coat...that seems like it could be an endless circle.
4) Last question...I'm taking my time putting the varnish on, but not too slow...should I at any point be adding more penetrol to the mix to keep it thinned?
I know it's a boat and should be paddled, not just looked at, but I would like it to be my best first time work. Thanks everybody!!!!!