How much varnish will I need?


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
For a Sixteen foot OTCA

I plan for a 7 coat finish.

1st 50/50
2nd 75/25

3, 4, 5, - 90/10


6, 7, - 90/10 or perhaps full for last.

Plan to use epiphanies varnish.

7 coats? Why so many coats? I use epiphanes and one quart per canoe. I put on four coats similar to your ratio. the first coat is a sealer. Second coat just starting to build up. Third coat looks halfway decent. Fourth coat suits me. You can get a deal on a case from Jamestown Dist.
Regards, Dave.
I agree that four coats would be sufficient for a quality and protective finish. However I am hoping that the additional coats will give the final finish a certain amount of depth. My plans could always change though.

What am I missing? Why the mixing of the gloss and satin?

As for what I do, (and each builder/restorer will tell you something different) to finish the inside.

Strip/clean/bleach/clean/replace wood/sand/sand/sand.

Oil with 50/50 tung oil/low oder minerial sprits, 1 qt max.

Coat 1 - 75/25 varnish/thinner - my preference is Interlux but I've also used Pettit and Captains, but they go on "diffferent" and don't last as long in the can.

Coats 2-4 - 100% varnish, sanding between coats. Done.

But to make it look pretty, spend extra time on the trim. The decks and thwarts are the 1st things most folks see and remember.

I do the thwarts/yokes inside on a stand, with pins in the ends so I can rotate the thwarts. Thwarts get 4 to N coats, whatever is needed to get a perfect finish. Do all the normal anti dust activities, and I use foam brushes to apply the varnish, I rotate the piece to prevent runs.

Decks are also prefinished before installiing, again, 4 to n coats to get a prefect finish, though here it isn't quite so important. After the canoe is trimmed out and all coats of paint are on, I put a final coat or 2 or N on the rails and decks, again, enough coats till I'm happy with the results.

Forgot you asked for quantity - figure on 2 qts. You could probably do just the ribs/planking with 1 qt but to also do all the trim with multiple coats, you'll need a 2ed qt.

Oh, you didn't ask but, the same goes for the painting of the canvas, about 2 qts marine paint. Roll it on and tip it with a brush, most of the 1st 3 coats will get sanded off as you block sand it to get it smooth, coats, 4-5-N should get you a nice smooth top coat.

If you want the older look of satin, use gloss on all coats except the final. The colloidal silica that is in the satin varnish will tend to cloud the grain if you use too many coats. Final with satin will look nice and hide some of the dings and other beauty marks that an old canoe gets.

Remember that each coat adds weight. Better to do 4-5 coats now, then sand and touch up the varnish every 2-3 years than add weight and thickness now.

My humble opinion!
Thanks Mike,

I'll try this sometime.
To date, I've stuck with all gloss, except for on a stripper where I tried satin, and didn't like it.

4 coats of good varnish should do it.

One place to pay special attention is the are just below the gunnels. There is a high tendency for sags to develop. Check a few more times than you think that you should! And then go back and do it again.