Varnish Advice?

Hi all,

I'm finally at the point where I'm almost ready to start varnishing my PMD!

I'm going to be using Epifanes clear varnish because its what I could get locally.

The instructions on the can advise thinning the first three coats - by 50% at first, decreasing to 15% by the third. They seem to be referencing bare wood, though... Is this thinning necessary for coating epoxy? I'm going to be working in fairly warm but humid conditions, if that makes a difference.

And, at the risk of sounding like an idiot, do you just brush it on? Or use a roller and tip it out with a foam brush like epoxy? How much varnish am I going to need?

Thanks in advance for your help


6 replies:

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RE: Varnish Advice?

   No experience with Epifanes Clear but I used Epifanes RapidClear on my Goat and highly recommend it.  It is a semi-gloss that can be recoated in 5 hours with no sanding between coats.  I put 5 coats on the interior in 7 hours total time over 2.5 days.  It is available from Jamestown Distributors if you cant get it locally.

RE: Varnish Advice?

   A good place to start:


RE: Varnish Advice?

   Thanks for that video link - I hadn't looked at the kayak videos...

I already have the Epifanes clear varnish, but still wondering whether to thin or not?

RE: Varnish Advice?

During OkoumeFest the varnishing instructor said the preliminary thinning was unneccesary over epoxy.

All the guides I've read on varnishing say that thinning of the initial coats is to economize when the varnish is penetrating into the wood. The thinner mix allows better penetration and it's more economical to let the wood soak up 50% varnish than 100% varnish. Obviously "soaking into the wood" is not a factor when you're varnishing epoxy.

RE: Varnish Advice?

Thank you so much for your reply, Chenier!

That's what I thought might be the case, but really wanted confirmation before forging ahead!

Thanks again,


RE: Varnish Advice?

   i used the epifanes clear varnish.  it is quite thick out of the can, so i thinned with about 2 to 1 with epifanes thinner.  it went on very well.  if you're in a hurry, i woulld check at your local West Marine.  mine stocks the epifanes thinner.


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