Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Varnish Tips From A Novice

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by Larry S, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Larry S

    Larry S Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Greenvilleguy wanted Dr. Joe and myself (or any novice) to chronicle our learning experiences on the Tip Forum. I'm not sure we can add any knowledge to the forum, but maybe we can help other novices and give the experts a good laugh.

    I'm writing random thoughts. If this sounds like rambling, that's because it is.

    I'm using Eipfances varnish. I thought I could do the job with one quart. I'm now into my third quart. I'm getting three coats from a quart of varnish. Following the manufacturer's recommendations as far as thinning and sanding.

    Use really expensive brushes or cheap foam brushes. If you use foam brushes, don't try to clean the brush. Lay down one coat of varnish, then toss it. I'm using 1 1/2" foam brushes.

    I've heard or read that when laying down multiple coats of varnish, you must knock the gloss off the previous coat before applying the next coat. I didn't do that with the first three thinned coats. I wanted to build up a varnish base. I only sanded between coats after I started putting down straight varnish.

    Varnish three ribs and the planking between the ribs. Walk around to the other side of the boat and take a look. Missed spots and sags will be easier to see because of the different lighting.

    When sanding, don't remove any more varnish than necessary. Remove only the gloss and any sags or runs. Don't get in a hurry. Look back often for sags or missed spots. If you discover a bad spot after the varnish has started to cure (you've lost the wet edge) leave it. Wait for the varnish to cure before attempting sanding. With the cool/damp weather I'm having, it's taking four days between coats.

    I'm sanding with 400 grit paper. The hardware store was out of 400 so I had to buy 320. I like the 320 better. It removes more varnish without clogging. It's still fine enough to not leave sanding marks. Change sandpaper often. The sanding should produce a white powder. When the sanding starts to put out little worms (or anything besides white powder) it's time to change paper. If a bug lands in the fresh varnish, leave it. Sand the bug off after the varnish is cured. You will be left with some bug legs which will blend into the wood.

    I hope this helps other beginners like myself. I'm sure I will have more so called "tips" later.
    asher1756 likes this.

Share This Page