I'm about to start varnishing my Shearwater Sport and I have a few questions that I hope you experts can help with.

1.  Prepping the surface for varnish - start with 120 grit, or is that too coarse?  I don't trust myself with an orbital, so I'll be hand sanding.  Maybe 150 or 180?  I think I understand that the final sanding before the first varnish coat should be 220, yes?

2.  I know I need to varnish the cockpit.  But any point in varnishing the fore and aft interior compartments or the bottoms of the hatch covers?

3.  How to varnish the fiddly bits, like the hatch sills and the cockpit coaming?  Will a foam brush get into those tight spaces, or is bristle better?  And speaking of the fiddly bits, any tips for getting sandpaper in those places for the final sanding before the varnish?





2 replies:

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RE: Varnishing

1. It depends on just how smooth your epoxy is. 20+ years ago I had to start with  #80 to get all the drips and runs. These days I start with #220. Practice applying epoxy really helps.

2. I don't, but I store my kayaks indoors where the never get direct sunlight.

3. I use foam brushes for both. The easiest way to do the final sanding is to do it before the coaming is attached:

Build up the coaming on a plastic sheet so that it will take the correct shape but not stick to the hull.

Once the coaming has cured, take it off and sand, apply the epoxy fillet, etc. You could even varnish it all except for the bottom edge which will need to be glued to the hull.

On the hull, do all the filling and sanding and varnish prep while you have easy access. Then when everything's ready to go, glue the coaming on. It sounds like it's too late for this for your current boat, but plan ondoing this for the next one.



RE: Varnishing

Laszlo - Thanks for the advice.  Yes, the ship has sailed (so to speak) wrt the coaming. 

I'll start the final sanding tomorrow. 

Florida Jim


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