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post #1 of 21 Old 01-07-2009 Thread Starter
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Varnish Pain

I've volunteered to varnish some pealed ceatoled teak wash boards for a friend.
How hard can it be?

It is turning out to be a project.
I scraped to wood. Sanded etc.
Followed the can directions, West Marine Epiphanies spar varnish.
4 buildup coats etc.

Any cool tips on how to support the boards so i can get all 6 sides at once.

I've been trying to do one side at a time and that is not working too well.

Also I'm using 220 paper dry for sanding between coats as per direction. A quarter piece lasts about 3/4 of a square foot and gets clogged. Is that about right?
What is good to clean off the dust before coating?
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post #2 of 21 Old 01-07-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I've volunteered to varnish some pealed ceatoled teak wash boards for a friend.
How hard can it be?
Why do you think he asked you?

Quote:
It is turning out to be a project.
Your friend already knew this.
Quote:
I scraped to wood. Sanded etc.
Followed the can directions, West Marine Epiphanies spar varnish.
4 buildup coats etc.

Any cool tips on how to support the boards so i can get all 6 sides at once.
No
Quote:
I've been trying to do one side at a time and that is not working too well.
Be careful not to have any drips on the sides.
Quote:
Also I'm using 220 paper dry for sanding between coats as per direction. A quarter piece lasts about 3/4 of a square foot and gets clogged. Is that about right?
Yup.
Quote:
What is good to clean off the dust before coating?
Tack rag.


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post #3 of 21 Old 01-07-2009
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Varnish is a black art best left to the masters of the Caribbean.

No thoughts on six sides at once -- with varnish patience is a virtue. Then again, you might try to support the boards with some 1x2s on edge and do one surface and all edges at once, let dry, sand, varnish the second surface, etc....
Buildup in the paper may be because you aren't letting it dry sufficiently.

I've been told by them that knows that a really good brush is critical. There are also techniques that border on black magic -- e.g. one Rastamon that did my companionway used to put the varnish in the frig for a few minutes before he applied it. My guess is that this was to slow down evaporation of solvents (?) allowing more time for the finish to "float". He also used to thin the first few coats to get good penetration of the wood and he claimed that six coats was the minimum needed for a good job.

Good luck. When it comes out well there's nothing like it!
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post #4 of 21 Old 01-07-2009
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To support them I normally use one of two techniques
Either make a rack to stack them on out of scrap wood with long drywall screws or brads driven through the rack so you can set the part on the points of the screws, normally on the rabbets on boards, or the parts that are covered in mounting.
Doing it that way you have three (or four) tiny little pinhead spots that should be invisible when you're done, and if you're concerned with them you can hit each spot with an artists brush when everything else is done.

Other method is to drill small holes on 'invisible' sides and stick brads in the holes, then tie string to them and hang them from the rafters so they hang visible side up.
My coaming boards have two small holes in them where I used wood screws to hang them.

If you have screw holes etc, use those holes to hang the part.

Normally I have as many scraps of plywood with screws driven through them as I have parts to varnish.

For me old brushes seem to work best, new brushes always seem to have loose bristles they shed in your nice new varnish. And I just can't seem to get a decent finish with foam brushes.

Good varnish, and good brushes combined with carefull prep is the key.

Ken.
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post #5 of 21 Old 01-07-2009
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Most varnishes only require sanding after a hardening period of around 7 days. You may sand some coats eg after say the second to remove the bits that lift up and after the 5th and say 11 th but it would be a light sanding with probably a much finer paper say 400. It sounds like you are taking too much off and it may not be hard enough in the temperature you have. They are washboards not fine furniture.
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post #6 of 21 Old 01-07-2009
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David,

If you're after really good, durable varnish, try reading my post in this thread:

Finishing a Cockpit Table

Varnish work takes patience, time, and good quality materials.

good luck,

Cap'n Gary
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post #7 of 21 Old 01-07-2009
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Lots of coats so you do it once every 2 years. Like 15 coats or more.
I hung my trip pieces with nylon sail thread from the shower curtain. After it dried they required some touch ups, but it was only the width of a thread.

Do not drip varnish on the tub or tiles, it'll take 6 months to get it off.
Do not sand in your spare bathroom, dust will attach itself to the walls, ceiling, mirror, everything.

I've flicked the sandpaper every 30 seconds or so, and it helps slow the build up, but increases the dust in the air. Wear a mask. Sanding varnish takes a lot of paper.

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post #8 of 21 Old 01-07-2009
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Originally Posted by merc2dogs View Post
To support them I normally use one of two techniques
Either make a rack to stack them on out of scrap wood with long drywall screws or brads driven through the rack so you can set the part on the points of the screws, normally on the rabbets on boards, or the parts that are covered in mounting.
Doing it that way you have three (or four) tiny little pinhead spots that should be invisible when you're done, and if you're concerned with them you can hit each spot with an artists brush when everything else is done.

Other method is to drill small holes on 'invisible' sides and stick brads in the holes, then tie string to them and hang them from the rafters so they hang visible side up.
My coaming boards have two small holes in them where I used wood screws to hang them.

If you have screw holes etc, use those holes to hang the part.

Normally I have as many scraps of plywood with screws driven through them as I have parts to varnish.

For me old brushes seem to work best, new brushes always seem to have loose bristles they shed in your nice new varnish. And I just can't seem to get a decent finish with foam brushes.

Good varnish, and good brushes combined with carefull prep is the key.

Ken.
Great advice. If you are sanding after the required drying time and find that your sandpaper is loading up badly, then either your miscalculating the cure time or you are using poor quality sandpaper. Wet sanding makes the job a lot easier, and applying some heat with a hair dryer for a couple of minutes will speed curing. Use a good quality automotive sandpaper.

Ideally, if you have the equipment, i'd hang the pieces and spray them, rather than brushing. even a cheap hobbyist air-in-a-can airbrush will make the job a lot faster and easier.
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post #9 of 21 Old 01-07-2009 Thread Starter
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This is what I have so far. I'm still getting some shiny spots that follow the grain lines. This is after about 4 coats. What do I do next? It feels smooth to the touch.
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post #10 of 21 Old 01-08-2009
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I varnished my toe rail on my Endev this summer. 42' boat and the toe rail is about 6" wide. It already had 2 coats from the PO so this is over coating.

I think you are sanding way too much. A 1/3 piece of 220 paper lasted about half the job. You only need to barely scuff the surface and if you put the coat on soon enough after the previous coat you don't need to sand at all. I used Flagship and their product specialist said a scotchbrite pad would be fine unless it has sat for a week.

I use foam brushes and go slow.
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