Varnishing

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WMegl
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Varnishing

Post by WMegl » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:43 pm

I am varnishing my seats made out of walnut and I followed the Epifanes directions on thinning with mineral spirits:
First coat: 50% (That really worked great. The reduced varnish really soaked into the wood.)
Second coat: 25%
Third coat: 15%
Next four coats: 0-5%.

I'm finding that the 0-5% reduction is very thick. It starts to set up very quickly and is difficult to brush on smoothly.

I'm thinking ahead for the final varnishing of my Redbird and am wondering what the forum members who use Epifanes are doing for thinning when they varnish their cedar stripper?

Thank you.
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Cruiser
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Re: Varnishing

Post by Cruiser » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:29 pm

That is the correct schedule, but I have found that when it is warmer, the final recommended coat of almost full strength, is very difficult to work with.

I just go back 1 step and add a splash (say 10%) and then apply, the coat is a little thinner, but you gain some time to work the varnish.

Also, I wouldn't overthink the thinning process, I stay "about" the recommended proportions, but I only eyeball the amount, I am not convinced anything more accurate is required.

This is just my opinion based on using the product ...

Brian

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WMegl
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Re: Varnishing

Post by WMegl » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:39 pm

Brian: Thank you for your reply.

Your answer is what I was expecting. I will thin with an amount of mineral spirits that I find workable. I would imagine that since I am applying less varnish every coat, I can make up for it by applying more coats.

Thanks again.
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Re: Varnishing

Post by Cruiser » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:51 am

If you consider the amount of thinning you are doing, realistically you don't require additional coats. The 10-15% thinning used on subsequent coats, after the first 2 coats, doesn't have significant effect on the thickness of the final coats.

I wouldn't put additional coats because you are thinning the last coats of varnish a bit ("a bit" = ~10%). Epiphanes is quite thick and thinning is almost mandatory IMO.

If you are planning 3-4 coats, I would stop at whichever last one has a good finish .... unless this boat will see a lot of use and be in the sun a LOT, in which case I would go at least to 4. I trip 3-4 times a year, repair scratches after each trip ... do a new coat of varnish once the bottom offends my vision of how pretty the boats should be (usually about 2 years). Normally, I will stop after 3 coats, unless I am not too happy with the results, in which case, I do a 4th to try and do better.

Brian

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WMegl
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Re: Varnishing

Post by WMegl » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:08 am

Brian: Good information.

Thanks.
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cedarphile
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Re: tips for great varnishing

Post by cedarphile » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:36 am

I learned long ago that to get a perfect varnish job, you need to prepare the surface perfectly, use a tack rag, strain the varnish and heat it up to about 120 degrees F.

I don't care how well you've vacuumed the sanded surface, there are still tiny particles that only a tack cloth will pick up. If you neglect this step, the particles will float to the top surface of the varnish and show up in the final finish.

Paint strainers can be purchased at any place that sells paint. Even an unopened can fresh off the shelf should be strained.

Heating will do wonders in making varnish flow out. You want the can warm to the touch but not so hot that you can't comfortably hold it. I bought a Mr. Coffee coffee maker at a thrift store for $5. A quart can fits nicely on the warming surface and heats the can to 120 F in about 10 minutes. Loosen the lid on the can before heating as all liquids expand when heated. As an added benefit, I can have freshly made coffee in my shop when I'm not heating paint.

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Re: Varnishing

Post by Cruiser » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:15 am

As we go along we all learn little tricks that work for us to get the finishes/effects wanted. I also use a tac rag prior to varnishing, but i am a little leery of heating the varnish itself that hot, I warm the shop and make sure the boat itself is warm ... that seems to let the varnish flow sufficiently. The varnish behaves a bit like epoxy in that if you heat it, it will flow better, but setup faster, so you have less time to work it.

If we are talking about prepping a surface to be varnished, I would say prepping the room is as important as any other step in the process. After fully cleaning the work area, I drape poly sheets on the ceiling and walls ... then just prior to starting, I will use a water sprayer to dampen the floor.

Most folks have fluorescent lamps in the shop area and they have a static charge when operating .... what do most folks do when they leave the shop, turn off the lights .... releasing trapped particles back tot he air .... and you know where a lot of those can end up. Putting the sheets up under the lights prevents this, also the sheets have a static charge as well, which are quite effective at collecting and holding any airborne particles.

To avoid creating an explosive atmosphere and to help the varnish setup quicker, I also crack the door and keep a fan running on low.


Brian

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