Re: How many coats of var

Posted by Steve Miller on Aug 18, 2004

For a bright finish I would go to 220 on the wood.

One coat of resin is not enough (my opinion). The first coat will just soak into the wood. It will not leave a surface coating. Over bare wood I like to do two coats, sand then apply a third coat. Sanding will remove a lot of the second coat before the hull is smooth due to the uneven way the wood will absorb the goo. The third coat will be a good base for varnish with a light sanding.

Think of it this way: 1st coat soaks into the wood. 2nd coat evens out the first since the wood will absorb unevenly. Sanding smooths it all out. Go to 220. 3rd coat puts an even seal on the hull since sanding is likely to expose some wood grain.

If you are glassing the hull then use whatever number of coats are needed to fill the glass cloth. Lots of posts here about doing that without using too much epoxy.

I only wet sand every other coat on varnish since even 400 grit used too aggressively will remove most of the varnish you just applied. Use a 3M pad (as fine as you can get, fake steel wool, not a kitchen pot scrubber) for the other coats. Just knock the gloss and dust bunnies off. When you get a nice looking coat of varnish over a wet sanded coat, minimum 4, then you are done. More is better.

Add a few ounces of Penetrol to the varnish. I prefer a good natural bristle brush for varnish on small areas but for large areas like a canoe then I'd use the white foam rollers (4", round end, Home Depot or Lowes). They apply varnish fast and smoothly. Heresy I know!

Do small sections (few square feet max) and tip with the same roller. You can also tip with a clean foam brush. Very light pressure! Use the roller like a brush. After you have spread the initial roller load then go one direction - dry to wet - only. Don't go back and forth. Tip after every other section.

Good luck and post pix when done!

In Response to: Re: How many coats of var by Aaron J. on Aug 18, 2004