Wet sanding between varnish coats

I just applided my first coat of varnish to the deck of my North Bay XL. I read that I need to wet sand between coats. I have seen everything from 220 to 400 grit. Which grit do most people use?

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RE: Wet sanding between varnish coats

I found it more productive to just scuff the varnish up a little with a scotch-brite pad between coats until I had built up at least 3 coats. If you are getting the coats on thin, it doesn't take much sanding to go through. The scotch-brite gives the next coat a little bite to sink its teeth into. I think I wet sanded with 320 after the thrid coat was on. Then it was a matter of applying additonal coats and wet sanding lightly until I got one that I was happy with (around number 6) Or maybe I just got tired of varnishing around there:)

I read a tip on someone's blog to have a helper follow you around when varnishing to check for holidays so you can cover them before it is too late. I might try that next time if I can find someone dumb enough to help out!


Ogata (eric)

RE: Wet sanding between varnish coats

I've sprayed on three, four coats of varnish with a HVLP sprayer, but the finish has an orange peel texture. I'm assuming the spray coats are thinner, so more will be necessary to equal the brushed on ones.  Question is the orange peel, will the normal wet sanding between coats take care of this, or do i need a major sanding, and start over ?

RE: Wet sanding between varnish coats

I spray 3 heavy coats, wet sand smooth, spray 3 more heavy coats wet sand, and 1 light coat.  Wait a couple of weeks and polish it out with 3m polish.  Kind of a pain, but gives a smooth finish for someone who cant brush.


RE: Wet sanding between varnish coats

I was taught to use steel wool, tack cloths and then a foam brush.  Did that on my last yak (planning to do so on my next) with great results. 


RE: Wet sanding between varnish coats

Steel wool is fine for land-based installations, but a bad idea for boats. It leaves behind tiny bits of steel dust which will eventually rust.

RE: Wet sanding between varnish coats

I had the same question on the last boat I made, so I just went ahead and did a little test for myself, and I can say in no uncertain terms that, in my case, where I compared 220 (dry sand using orbital) vs 400 wet sand, that the 400 wet sand gives a far superior finish.  I came to the conclusion that the varnish does not fill the scratches left behind by the 220.  It does not appear to fully fill the scratches, but rather it "follows" the topography of the surface scratches, although it does smooth them out some.  Don't get me wrong, it still looks very nice, but to the discriminating eye, it is quite obvious that the surface finish is not as glossy as that of the 400 wet sand. 




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