Varnish Work - SailNet Community

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Old 10-18-1999
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Varnish Work

I am working on the varnish interior of a 1972 Swan 40. I am tempted to use a varnish remover, since there is a lot of wood inside, but I've never used it before, and I don't want to make a mistake. Do you have any recommendations?

Rodrigo Lopez

Sue and Larry respond:

Are you sure you need to strip the interior varnish? If the finish is not lifting, try sanding it with 120 to 180-grit paper first to see if the existing finish remains adhered to the wood. If so, varnish the interior according to our recommendations in the "Maintaining Beautiful Brightwork" article. If not, we don't envy you. Try a heat gun and putty knife/scraper first, and only use chemical stripper as a last resort as it's ultra-messy.

The key to a successful finish is to have a stable base for the varnish to adhere to in the beginning. No matter what method you choose, it's going to be a long drawn out process.

Good Luck

Sue & Larry

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