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post #1 of 12 Old 03-11-2014 Thread Starter
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Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

I have a dinghy board I have coated with clear epoxy, system 3.
The idea is to get a good base coat of epoxy then finish with lpu or varnish.

I'm having a bit of an issue getting the surface to be good enough.

After the first layer of varnish I sanded with a long board and still had some shiny spots. If I continued with the long board the epoxy would be all gone so I went with a piece of paper in my hand.

That worked better but still some shiny spots.
How critical is it to get all the spots out.
I plan on putting at least one maybe two more coats of epoxy.
Will it level out eventually.

I expect that the shiny spots will mess up the final finish, yes, no.

I'm committed to the epoxy base so if you could keep this thread on tract as to how to get the best epoxy base and how good it has to be I would appreciate it. I suspect a better job can be had with an all varnish approach.

In a related issue see the piece of sandpaper, it clogs pretty fast. Any way to keep that from happening?
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After Longboard (Small).jpg   After hand sand' (Small).jpg   after more hand sand (Small).jpg   too much hand sand (Small).jpg   Standpaper clog (Small).jpg  


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post #2 of 12 Old 03-11-2014
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Re: Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

Can you even get a varnish to adhere to an epoxy? I should think you will need to continue on with clear epoxy. And why would you want to put varnish, a much softer and fragile coating, over a durable and hard coating like epoxy? Am I missing something here?

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Last edited by capta; 03-11-2014 at 11:05 PM.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-11-2014
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Re: Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

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And why would you want to put varnish, a much softer and fragile coating, over a durable and hard coating like epoxy? Am I missing something here?
Epoxy turns yellow if exposed to UV. If it is outdoors it needs protection or it won't last a season.

I have not had any problems varnishing over epoxy. I varnished over epoxy on a boat I used to own extensively, galley counters, backsplash, as well as the dining table. It looked great a decade after it was done. I used Epifanes gloss, a hard varnish.

David

Use a slow hardener and the epoxy should level better before it sets. I gave up on fast hardeners years ago as it doesn't give enough working time.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-11-2014
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Re: Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

If you have let the epoxy cure between coats it is important to get rid of glossy spots, but you need to remove very little epoxy to do so. I have used a green scotch pad with good results, just dull the surface to give the next coat some bite. more coats will level things out well.

Varnish looks great over epoxy, and as noted above will give it the UV protectin it needs. Wet sanding after the last coat of epoxy followed by 3-5 coats of varnish will give a very deep glossy finish.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-11-2014
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Re: Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

Dave, did you use a sanding sealer first? If not what you're doing is essentially using the first coat of epoxy as a sealer. You'll need to build up from there.
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

I would put the first coat on and let it kick. Then lightly sand out the air bubbles before putting the second coat on. Once the second coat is good and tacky but not yet kicked ad the third coat. Ad a fourth coat the same way you added the third coat if need be. This should give a smooth finish.
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

I concur, scuff sand with a pad, then coat with varnish as usual.
What you are doing with the epoxy is trying to get a flat and level surface, I contend you should do that with the much easier to lay and sand varnish.

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post #8 of 12 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

My trick is to use a slow cure epoxy. Mix it in a cup and use a heat gun to convert it from a thick syrup into a liquid thats a lot more fluid like. Dump it out, spread it with a toss-away brush and it will self level to a sheet of glass appearance. DONT do this this in the summer or you will have a real mess!!! Kicks too fast w/ the added heat. Also this is good for level surfaces where the epoxy wont run off downhill. I did some sliding hatches with this technique and sanding was minimal to get a slick finish. Almost looks like gelcoat after paint.

Practice with a small batch on a piece of scrap somewhere 1st. Just heat the epoxy till it thins... if its runny, your done heating...

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post #9 of 12 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
Can you even get a varnish to adhere to an epoxy? I should think you will need to continue on with clear epoxy. And why would you want to put varnish, a much softer and fragile coating, over a durable and hard coating like epoxy? Am I missing something here?
this is very very common....

we did this to our h28 masts...reasoning being the epoxy is a great sealer, adds strength and abrasion resistance but has very little if any uv resistance

we used west systems...sanded rough so it wouuld grip the varnish better.

then varnish

we did 4 coats epoxy and about 6-8 varnish on my spruce masts....lasted a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time...with not even a touch up for the first 3 years...

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post #10 of 12 Old 03-12-2014
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Re: Smooth epoxy base for clear coat finish

If you didn't wash with water between coats of epoxy, the stuff clogging the sandpaper could be blush. Anyone think it would help adhesion to apply the first coat of varnish while the last coat of epoxy is still tacky? I'm not sure about that one.
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