Set up for Spraying the Varnish on a kayak?

I'm almost ready to start varnishing my kayak project.  I have a pretty decent (Fuji 5) HVLP spray gun set up that I've used for cabinets and furniture.  I thought that it might be faster and easier (maybe better?) to spray the kayak -- but I'm looking for tips on how to set things up?

Normally when spraying cabinets and furniture I have the piece sitting on the stand-- but I was wondering if it might be better to hang the kayak some how and spray all surfaces... Or do people generally spray the the deck and sheer panels in one go and then later turn it over and spray the hull?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated -- or if people think its a bad idea, I can always try with foam brush.

Thanks again,


4 replies:

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RE: Set up for Spraying the Varnish on a kayak?

   First I've never sprayed varnish.

I'd spray the hull first, then when dry,flip and mask off just below shear and spray the deck.

The deck is what you notice more so that's the order I'd do.

Hanging sounds interesting if you can figure out how

RE: Set up for Spraying the Varnish on a kayak?


If things don't go to your liking, apply more

   I learned when varnishing that there's always another coat!

RE: Set up for Spraying the Varnish on a kayak?

Hi Dave, 

a high grade marine varnish applied with a foam brush actually brushes quite well and with a little practice, can get you a perfect glass-like finish.

i don't really think that you are going to pick-up an advantage by spraying and it may actually increase your work.  i have done spray work before including paints and clearcoat.

i put the varnish in a different category than marine paints with respect to getting a high grade finish with brush application....   it's much better.

the key things to get a showroom varnish finsh are:  technique, temperature/envronment control, multiple thin coats, dust control.  i don't think any of these things change with a spray and with spray you now have to control and clean the machine and it can be challenging to deal with some of the smaller bits and touchups that you will have to address in kayak building and maintenance.


RE: Set up for Spraying the Varnish on a kayak?

   Me ?   I use a real brush and marine varnish like I've done since the 70s.  I'm challenged by drips.  But here is one boat that Nick S. sprayed. You can see how he set it up.


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