Join Date: Sep 2004
Thanked 28 Times in 19 Posts
Rep Power: 13
What's important is that the varnish soak into the wood. I don't think the exact mixture is terribly important at this stage of the project. The thinner is is the easier it will find its way into the pours of the teak. You'll need to do several coats of the thinned product before moving up to near full strength.
Tricks I learned from a West Indian rasta-man varnisher (he'd kill me if he knew I was sharing his secrets): He only uses Epifanes varnishes and he cuts it with Interlux 333 in a mix of a cap full of 333 to 3 oz or so of varnish -- the exact mix is "art" and requires a "sense" of how the drip should come off a stir stick. He puts the varnish in the frig for a while before he thins it. (My take on this is that he cools the product to slow the evaporation of solvents and increase the "float" time, and he thins the cooled varnish to increase it's flow-ability). He'll use either a high quality ($40) 1/1/2" badger brush or a $1 1 1/2" foam brush. Your choice, but he never seems to get the $40 brush clean enough so that it won't leave dust in the final coat after it's been used once. If he wasn't so short of cash, he'd probably have his own brushes which he'd keep soaking in diesel between jobs.
He uses varying grades of fine sand paper as the coats progress and he's a stickler for dust prevention. Inside the boat he'll wet sand everything to prevent dust from arising. He cleans everything, including the surrounding areas with water before he starts applying varnish. Hatches are closed, fans are off and people are kept out of the boat while varnish is wet.
Also, please note that it's important to have Marley tunes blasting in the background and to sing the lyrics at the top of your voice while applying varnish. I think the vibrations of the music help shake the floating varnish smooth. A few totes of ganja probably help to steady the brush stroke, but I've never seen it done, so who knows?
Good luck with your project and remember -- Varnish is Art, some would say Black Magic.