Varnish Dust Prob. Solved

Posted by Chuck on Dec 5, 2005

A couple weeks ago I posted a message looking for tips on how to reduce problems with dust when varnishing my Chesapeake 17. After cleaning my garage as best I could I still had an unacceptable amount of dust in my varnish when I applied my third coat. Although I received a lot of good tips I decided to construct a varnishing tent in my garage. (See the below link for photos.)

Basically I bought some 1 1/4" PVC tubing and the appropriate elbow, Tee, and coupling fittings and built a collapsable frame 18' x 6' wide with two additional cross supporting tubes between the ends. I glued the fittings only on one side so that I could take the whole thing apart and store in 6' lenghts for the next project. Attaching 8 screw in hooks from my garage ceiling I suspended the frame about 6'5" high or about 1/2" more than I am tall. I then draped several 10' wide by 20' long sections of 6 mil clear plastic over the whole thing. Duct tape and some clamps closed up the overlaps. I duct taped a 12" x 12" home A/C system intake filter over a 8"x8" hole cut in one end. A series of weights and other objects were used to keep the plastic sheeting overlap pressed down tight on the floor. Prior to varnishing I thoroughly vacuumed the inside of the enclosure, the kayak and mopped the floor inside. Then I wiped down the kayak with a clean rag dampened with lacquer thinner. Next I hooked up my garage vacuum hose through a hole in the plastic on the opposite end and ran it for about 30 minutes prior to draw out air from inside and hopefully dust and lacquer thinner vapors too. Finally, after carefully entering the plastic sheeting overlap at one end to avoid stirring up anymore dust, I was able to apply the varnish. The 4th coat came out great with very little dust particles anywhere. Then after wetsanding with 400 grit and repeating the whole inside cleaning procedure the 5th coat came out beautifully. So, for about $65.00 in materials and a days work to set up the tent, I solved my dust in the varnish problem and can use it again when I build my next craft.


Chesapeake, VA