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Old 01-01-2012
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How much varnish?

I have a dinghy with a 20' wooden mast (spruce). I took it down to bare wood and am now varnishing it. It is an unstayed and very bendy mast. Should I be worried about too much varnish on it? Just wondering if I can overdo the varnish and maybe how many coats is ideal.

Thanks for any advice or input!
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Old 01-01-2012
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Generally 3 coats with light sanding between ... 4 is ok...

Too many coats will get too thick and crack with loss of protection.
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Old 01-01-2012
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A good brightwork schedule is To start thin and sand between coats. I like to use 220 grit on the first couple of coats, then 320-400 grit paper and wet sand on the remaining 4- 6 coats.

Personally, I thin the first coat by 25%, the next coat by 20%, the third coat by 15%, 4th cat by 10%, 5th by 5% and the last coats virtually unthinned. Rebecca Wittman recommends a ten coat varnish schedule. Others recommend 6. I like a happy medium- 8. However, I sail in a seasonal fresh-water northern environment. In a southern saltwater region with a boat in water year round, I'd go 10-12 coats. Yeah, it's more time consuming but it beats doing it twice as often.

3 coats is fine for interior work, but not for a mast.
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My can of Spar Varnish says "Do Not Thin" right on the label..
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Old 01-01-2012
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Then you might want to buy better varnish.
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If i use 10 coats should i worry about it cracking with the bend i get in the mast? I don't mind lots of coats. I just don't wanna do it again because i put too much on.
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I can't say for sure for a mast....Cracking due to flexing is possible. I alway use 6 coats minimum on all exterior wood
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I would do 4 coats to begin with, this gives you a good foundation. Depending on your local climate and or exposure, add 2 coats either once or twice a year. Of course with all the sanding and thinning as others have mentioned.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hookturn View Post
If i use 10 coats should i worry about it cracking with the bend i get in the mast? I don't mind lots of coats. I just don't wanna do it again because i put too much on.
With the thinning and sanding schedule previously outlined, you won't have a cracking problem.
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I would do 4 coats to begin with, this gives you a good foundation. Depending on your local climate and or exposure, add 2 coats either once or twice a year. Of course with all the sanding and thinning as others have mentioned.
The fact that you have to recoat once or twice a year should tell you that 4 coats isn't enough. If you do 8 coats, you don't have to add two coats once or twice a year. You have to add one coat every two years.

More work now always means less work later when it comes to brightwork.


Damn, it's always tempting to cheat, though. I get done with coat number 3 or 4 look at the shine, and say to myself, "that's good enough, isn't it?"

Then I look at other boats, and the same people doing the same thing year after year, and grumbling about how they have to varnish year after year, and realize that good enough isn't either good or enough.
Sigh.


Don't even get me started on the blasphemy of cetol.
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