UPDATE: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

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toomanysplinters
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UPDATE: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by toomanysplinters » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:51 am

Hello,

I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm hoping to cane my seats this weekend, while on vacation, and am wondering if should hold off and wait until I have the frames varnished. They currently have two coats of epoxy on them. If there's any real benefit, other then ease of varnishing, I will hold off.

Thanks,
Scott
Last edited by toomanysplinters on Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cruiser
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Re: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by Cruiser » Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:24 pm

I did quite a bit of reading about how to finish the cane .... you are opening a whole can of opinions here, I am thinking.

I will jump in with both my $.01 worth.

Since you have epoxied the seat frames, it would seem the priority will be to protect that epoxy, although it is strong and wear resistant ... UV will destroy it pretty quickly. Cane is pretty tough and (from what I read) only requires minimal protection.

Most everything I read suggested highly thinned spar varnish or oil for the cane part ... of course there were lots of differing opinions on that, as well . I did finish a cane seat using spar thinned 50/50 and that seemed to work very well. It stayed flexible, and retained enough surface friction to be comfortable and let you stay in one place (on the seat).

You may consider finishing the frame, minus the final varnish coat ... complete your caning .... then put the final coat of varnish on, finishing up on the cane, at the same time, but using a thinned coat. I suggest this mostly from a work order p-o-v ... it saves ones varnishing session.


Brian

toomanysplinters
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Re: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by toomanysplinters » Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:27 pm

Thanks Brian,

I attempted to cane my seats this weekend after they were varnished, but my varnish never fully cured. I fear that i may have put the varnish on too soon after the epoxy (about a 24 hours). I'm guessing I'll need to remove the unset varnish and try it again.

Could this be the reason why my varnish is not setting? Are there any tricks I can try to get this to cure? I'll be travelling for work for the remainder of the week, but would like to try and get one seat frame revarnished before heading out.

Thanks for any help/tips.
Scott

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Jim Dodd
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Re: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by Jim Dodd » Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:54 pm

Hi Scott

What epoxy are you using ?

Some epoxies will "Blush" this is a film that develops while curing, making it difficult for the varnish to dry.

You can remove the Blush BEFORE varnishing with water, some will also use vinegar.

If you are using a Blush free epoxy, just give it more time to dry.

I my experience I should have removed the varnish, cause it peeled later.

Good luck !

Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

toomanysplinters
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Re: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by toomanysplinters » Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:03 pm

Thanks Jim,

I'm using Raka, but forget the which product of theirs I'm using. It is supposed to be a blush free finish though.

What's the beat way to remove the varnish. Sandpaper?

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Cruiser
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Re: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by Cruiser » Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:22 pm

A trick I have used before, is to get the piece out in the sun ... I am not sure why this works, but I have had success doing just that when the varnish gets stubborn.

Wait for a sunny day and just get it out there .... I hope this works for you, it sure saves a lot of work.


Brian

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Jim Dodd
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Re: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by Jim Dodd » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:54 pm

Hi Again Scott
If you used RAKA's 350 Non-Blush hardener, your OK as far as epoxy.

Spar varnish does take longer to cure ! Brian may be on to something.

I'd just give it more time, before stripping it off.

Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

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Jim Dodd
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Re: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by Jim Dodd » Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:26 am

Scott !
Keep us posted !
We'd all like to hear about your results !
Thanks !

Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

toomanysplinters
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Re: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by toomanysplinters » Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:32 pm

Thanks all.

I was hoping to get one of the seat frames re-varnished before leaving for my trip, but I ran out of time. When I got home, I resanded one of them and reapplied the varnish. That frame seemed to be dry with the exception of two small areas (strange). I sanded those areas wiped them with some Naptha, and once dried, I reapplied varnish. I think that frame is ready to go... finally.

The other frame on the other hand... was going on 1-1/2 weeks. It seemed to be getting tackier as the days passed. I gave up waiting on that one yesterday and sanded to back down to the epoxy. I reapplied the varnish and today (24 hours layer) it's still a little tacky, but it seems drier than before refinishing and it's been pretty cool.

I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again for all the responses.
Scott

toomanysplinters
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Re: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning? UPDATE

Post by toomanysplinters » Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:11 pm

Hi again,

I thought I'd give you all an update on my seat frames.

I think my problem stemmed from not giving the epoxy enough time to cure before applying the varnish. After stripping the varnish off of both seats and letting it set for a another week, the new coat of varnish cured normally.

Here's a picture of seat one right after caning...
Image

And a little teaser of the rest of the canoe...
Image

A few more months and I'll be getting it ready for the water I hope... Finally!

Thank you for such a great site and wonderful source of inspiration!

Scott

KenC
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Re: UPDATE: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by KenC » Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:18 pm

Nice work ... that is gorgeous.

Is it your own design, or were you working from a set of plans?

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Jim Dodd
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Re: UPDATE: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by Jim Dodd » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:43 pm

That is one sweet seat Scott!
And your deck is nothing to sneeze at either !
I'd go for a peek at the rest of the canoe !

Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

toomanysplinters
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Re: UPDATE: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by toomanysplinters » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:36 pm

Thanks Ken and Jim!

I bought the plans for the seats from Green Valley. They're easy to follow and fun to make.

The seats still need to be mounted to the inwales and I need to varnish the whole canoe before it's ready to go.

I do have a question on seat height though. We took it out in mid fall this year for a quick paddle and tried to use milk crates as seats. With 2 guys about 200lbs each we found the canoe way too top heavy. It was much more stable when we removed the crates and knelt down, but I don't think I can (or want to) set my seats that low. The canoe is a 16' Prospector. Any suggestions on a good comfortable height?

Here's a couple more pictures without seats and varnish.

Image
Image

Thanks again for the complements.

Scott

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Jim Dodd
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Re: UPDATE: Should I Varnish Seat Frames Before Caning?

Post by Jim Dodd » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:49 pm

Scott
I always start by hanging my seats low.
It's easier to shorten the hanger brackets, than to make new ones that are longer.

By hanging them low, you can add cushions, or telephone books, until you get to a comfortable level. Then trim brackets and you are there.

Again nice work !

Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

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