Re: Varnish Suggestions

Posted by jennifer & terry on Sep 8, 2004


Let me preface anything I say with the caveat that finishing boats, or anything else for that matter, is a bit of a black art. Some techniques work well for some folks and not for others. Steve's comments about penetrol seem reasonable. Personally, I like a varnish that flows out flat and very thin and dries faster, rather than more slowly, particularly on vertical surfaces (which are inevitable if you're varnishing the entire boat at once). Otherwise would, in my opinion, lead to more runs and sags. But this may be my ingrained preference, based on a boyhood job of helping a sign painter varnish yacht transomes after he applied the gold lettering.

Anyhow, to make up for the lack of time due to using lacquer thinner, I work FAST. REAL FAST. For an entire boat, I would use at least a 3" brush, applying the varnish THINLY and against the grain then quickly tipping off with the grain. I would also maintain a wet edge to the sheers and then down to the chines. By this I mean I would do the deck first to the sheers, then do each side, then the bottom. The wet edge will be a bit gummy at the sheers and chines when you come back to it, but the thinner will let you get away with this and drying should not be a problem. Any surface roughness at these joints will dissappear after a rubdown. If you miss a spot, forget it and get it on the next coat. Barring very hot/humid weather, and assuming at least 10% thinning, you should be able to recoat the following day after a rub down with nylon 3M pads or a wet sand.

But Steve's technique may be superior. I've only used penetrol for paint, so I can't comment on it. I suspect that either method will yield a varnish that will flatten out better when it's applied, but I worry the penetrol may retard drying on the vertical panels and lead to runs. I can't be sure of that. terry

In Response to: Re: Varnish Suggestions by Peter on Sep 7, 2004