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Thread: Varnishing and Holidays

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Varnishing and Holidays

    I just finished doing some glass repair and a couple coats of varnish on my Cosine Wherry. I seem to always find some holidays that I missed initially. I have sanded the boat, vacuumed it, cleaned with Thinner and then with a tack cloth. I think my tack rag was a little too damp, because it made the boat have enough color that it makes it hard to see where the varnish missed, but I had a problem even when I didn't use the tack cloth. I have to look at it in all kinds of lighting to see where the finish is dull, and I still miss a few spots. Any suggestions on lighting or technique to avoid holidays. It's going in the water soon, but I will probably re-varnish this fall or next spring.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    I think that some dust the boat with a fine coat of talk. That helps you see and maintain a wet edge.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    I always seem to have problems with my varnishing on July 4th...

    That being said, As you build coats it gets tougher to see your wet edge and any holidays. One trick is too have a small clip on lamp at hand to scan around the areas you have covered to look look for holidays and lace curtains. It can be a bit of a dance between the brush, your container of varnish and the light, but worth the effort to catch holidays.
    Last edited by Paul Schweiss; 06-25-2022 at 10:00 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    Run the brush in a pattern, first across the grain in overlapping strokes, then with it. This helps get an even coat without gaps. Don't sweat it too much, you'll get them with the next coat anyway.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    That Paul guy does seem to know what he is talking about.
    I don't worry about holidays until the final coat. I roll on the final coat with a thin roller cover...then brush it out. tic tac pattern.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    I could take a photo of the varnish on my boat that would show a perfect finish. You would praise my varnishing prowess. But because a photo is limited to a small area, you would't know the truth. I comfort myself in knowing that the wood is protected due to multiple coats and, most important, I won't notice any of it after I launch the boat. Too many other things to distract.

    Jeff

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    873

    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by Ski-Patroller View Post
    I have to look at it in all kinds of lighting to see where the finish is dull
    Are you using a "raking" light source? If not, get a long skinny light and mount it verticallly on a lightweight adjustabe stand, preferably one that has gimballed attachment point. Place it right next to the hull and sight along the hull. You'll need move it with with every small section that you've varnished because of the curvature of the work surface. Just keep on checking with every little section you varnish. Tedious, but this practice has eliminated holidays from my work. Now about those sags and curtains.....

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    +1 on the criss cross application. Lay on the finish across the grain and pull it out with the grain. Easy to see. Start your next "against" stroke half a brush width into the your last "with" stroke.

    When you say your tack rag was damp, what are you using? I use commercial tack rags; the cheese cloth ones impregnated with sticky stuff.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    it's better to miss a spot than to have drips and runs
    gawd folks do go ape chit over theatre

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    My entire boatbuilding life has been a holiday from varnish. They have this thing I call "paint."

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    I only varnish if I'm getting paid. My boat is varnish free, or will be when the last of it finally peels or gets scraped off.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    My entire boatbuilding life has been a holiday from varnish. They have this thing I call "paint."

    Tom
    Professional level painting is actually harder than varnishing. With varnish, one's eye is distracted by the wood pattern; That will hide some sins. A good painter could paint a car with a brush.

    And that was done in the old days. There were specialized car painting brushes.
    Last edited by pcford; 06-27-2022 at 09:09 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Professional level painting is actually harder than varnishing. With varnish, one's eye has the actually wood pattern. That will hide some sins. A good painter could paint a car with a brush.

    And that was done in the old days. There were specialized car painting brushes.
    I don't aspire to professional level anything as far as boatbuilding goes. I suspect for my purposes, painting is both far more durable and far less hassle to apply for a workable finish and reduced maintenance.

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Hull, QC, Canada
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    Default Re: Varnishing and Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    My entire boatbuilding life has been a holiday from varnish. They have this thing I call "paint."
    Ha! I'm retired from varnish.

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