Varnish Technique

The first varnish I have ever applied is now on my Skerry.  I got the first coat of  Interlux Schooner Varnish (high gloss) on this weekend.  Most of it looks supprisingly good, but some panels dried with a little texture.  I think this happened because the varnish was beginning to thicken up in my container as the garage was very hot.  Later panels came out better as I learned to pour less out at a time and work faster.  The garage is going to be hot, now until September.  Opening the doors would raise the risk of dust getting kicked up by the breeze.  The texture is hard to photograph, but you can get an idea from the pic below.  It shows in bright light.  If I close my eyes and run my fingertips across it, it is generally not detectable.

1)  I'm thinking this needs more than a wet sand.  120 grit?  220?  Should it then be followed by a wet sand, or should I just hold that for future coats?

2)  For future coats, would it be helpful to store the varnish in the         refridgerator?  Next to an AC vent?  I would not want to create condensation in the can.

3)  A previous poster mentioned an aerosol that replaces the air in a partially used can of varnish to reduce skimming.  What is that and where can I get some?

Thanks!  Hooper Williams - Brevard, NC


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RE: Varnish Technique

I assume that you will be applying at least three coats and possibly as many as five. Every wet sanding should smooth it out. I'd wet sand it once, apply a coat, and form an opinion based on that experience.

I think I ran into different problems with each coat of varnish (especially when applying Satin). By the fourth coat I was getting a bit better at my job and decided to quit while I was ahead (or maybe only OK).

Perfection matters a lot less than you now think it does. Once your boat hits the water, it will start accumulating scratches, dirt, and (on my lake) calcium carbonate deposits. It will always be beautiful, and once you see the varnish/paint as mainly protective, it will be a more useful and fun boat.  

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