Five coats later

Almost finished with SW17 except I have a few problem spots in my varnish:>( I wet sanded between each coat first using 400 grit then to 1500grit. I used foam brush and put on as thin as possible without streaks, still a few dust specks. I tried the 1500 to smooth out and then polishing compound (very smoth them) but could not high gloss back. If I use just polishing compound boat gets better and still keeps the shine but still the dust specks sticking up. I'm not looking for perfect, yes I will be putting it in the water and she will get banged around a bit but I would like her but smooth and glossy.



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RE: Five coats later

I'm at a comparable stage with my Ches 17LT, Phil, and so I know what you are aiming for!   I am up to coat #3, two to go.   I applied the varnished, unthinned (the last coat will be thinned about 5% and then left unsanded), with a very thin disposable foam rollers and tipped-out with a 1" foam brush.   Then light, fine, w&d sanding.   Yes, a few specks in there too.   I guess with your question - and the same applies to me, too - it depends on whether the dust specks are in there from the very first coat(s) or if you are acquiring fresh ones each time you apply a new coat of varnish.   If #1, the only way out would be the unthinkable task of sanding everything back and starting again - which would almost certainly lead to a recurrence of the same problem.   If #2 and the dust specks are new to each coat, you need to be scrupulous about cleaning-off the sanded deck before applying the next coat, and keeping the air in your workshop as clean as possible.   I vacuum the floor, lightly hose it down (it's a concrete garage floor so I can do this) then spray a light mist into the air from a high-pressure garden sprayer.   THEN wipe-off the deck with a tack-cloth.   I also make sure my body, hair, and clothes are as clean and dust-free as can be after all this exertion!   I don't use varnish straight from the can and/ or tip excess back into the can from the roller tray, as both can contaminate the varnish with specks of various kinds.   Extreme - yes - and still a few specks get through, which I just have to ignore!

Cheers and good luck! 



RE: Five coats later

What is your objective:

1) Glossy (as in shiny)

2) Smooth (as in speck and ridge free)

You can one without the other, or both.

If you want smooth, there is no alternative to meticulously clean shop and repetitive coats with sanding in-between.
If all you want is glossy, just put the last shiny coat on and foget about it. You can also usecar polishing paste for an easy shine.


RE: Five coats later

Would I polish out with rubbing compound and or polishing compound? What's best by hand or with a buffer? On a different subject, I practiced rolling today in a pool (live in NNY so everythings still frozen up this way) with help I was able to do a couple of rolls on my own. Still need alot of practice but will feel more confident after I get it down solid. Anyone else hone up on thier skills before they put in for the first time of the season?


RE: Five coats later

I'd just make sure the last coat of varnish is quite smooth. Then I'd give it light sanding with fine sandpaper. At that time you will have finish that is smooth but dull. As far as water resistance this is as good as it gets - making the finish shinier will not make the boat any faster. Now, for the finishing touch just use any good quality car polish. I use Turtle Wax on my boat. I give it several coats of wax once a year at the beginning of the season and it lasts through fall.  Wax will not mask minor scratches the way varnish does, but then again, wax is sooo much easier to apply.

RE: Five coats later

I enend up wet sanding final coat with 1500 grit. She was very smooth but dull. I then bought a buffer and buffed out with polishing compound and then a coat of wax. Now I have a smooth and glossy finish. Now I just have to outfit her and she is done. Time to work on the overdue Honey due list I have been ignoring.

RE: Five coats later

Those of you who have used wax, and later tried to re-varnish, did you have any trouble getting the wax off completely so that it did not cause problems with fisheyes? I have avoided waxing so far because I was a little worried about how difficult it might be to get completely clear of the wax once it was on there.... And some waxes might be more or less problematic than others perhaps?


Ogata (eric)

RE: Five coats later

I do not think you are using enough varnish nor fine enough grit to polish your varnish.  Do a google search on polishing paint.  A local boat restoring expert here who does the sort of boats you see at Lake Tahoe type shows uses up to 30 coats of varnish then sandpaper up to 2000 or finer then multiple grades of polishing compound until the stuff glows and shines.  No big secrets as the car guys regularly do this.  Most of the paper and compounds are available at auto parts or auto paint stores.  Also he uses filtered varnish and a regular paint roller to do the 30 coats.  The trick is to get enough surface build to take all the sanding and polishing and still leave a decent amount of varnish on the wood.  

 As a side note I would never wax varnish to make it glossier.  It just spells big trouble when you want to add more coats of varnish later to a hull that is going to be beat up.   


RE: Five coats later

I know some people object to waxing the boat, however I never had any problems with it. When times comes to re-varnish, I simply sand the boat, then re-varnish. Sanding removes all the wax + some varnish. You need to sand anyway, wax or no wax, otherwise new coat of varnish may not stick so well.

I agree that many, many layers of varnish + repetitive polishing in-between will produce beautiful coat. However, we are talking efficiency here. Waxing gives the same end effect with the fraction of the labor. Moreover, since your boat will scratch you will need to reapply the varnish anyway, often, so the wax labor savings will continue.

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