Varnishing--this n that

I’ll be taking the Tripper out soon and I got it out and cleaned it up. After the mud washed off I saw the thwarts were beat up. Now I’m varnishing.

I always wonder how much to sand. Those places that turned grey after the old varnish was gone, it’d be nice to sand back to virgin wood. But that means removing a lot of wood. How far do you go?

I just sanded off the flakey varnish until there was clean dry wood. Then I got out the varnish.

I had 80% of a can of varnish on the shelf. I find varnish hard to store. I had the can upside down on the shelf. Like varnish does, the surface had hardened. When I stirred it, that was my mistake. There were small lumps and particles, and it was too thick. I poured some off and thinned it. It went on better than I expected, and it is only a first coat.

Is there a way to store varnish?


I would have used polyurthane
jack L

stored varnish
Once the can has been opened a film starts forming on the surface. Storing the can upside down helps, but doesn’t fully prevent the film. I’ve read that squirting in an inert gas as you close the lid (displacing oxygen) prevents the film from forming but I’ve never tried it. At the point you were at (80% can with some film particles in the varnish) you should filter the varnish before applying. Throw away paper filters with mesh panels in them are cheap and remove just about all of the particles.

I would have bleached the wood before applying the varnish to reduce the gray.

Nothing really practical.
There’s an inert oxygen-displacing gas you can buy to spray into the can when you close it, but I always just try to buy small cans sized to the job. Is it pricier to buy pints than to throw away half a quart? It is wasteful and frustrating when a usable amount of expensive product goes bad on the shelf.

You could keep transferring the leftovers to smaller and smaller jars, I suppose. And they sell disposible paper funnel/cone-shaped strainers for removing lumps at the paint store.

There’s a lot of meat on the Tripper
thwarts, so if you want to sand the grey off, you have a margin to work with.

But does the grey matter? (Brain reference.) If it is firm to the thumbnail, you can just varnish over it.

maybe a layer of thinner
I read the advice to pour a layer of the recommended thinner on top of the varnish without mixing it in. That’s what I did but I haven’t tried to use the varnish yet.

The gas tktoo mentioned
Is called Bloxygen. Works as advertised. I’ve tried all sorts of methods to save partial gallon cans, this is the best I’ve come up with.

Curious, why turning is supposed to help
Don’t you get exactly the same amount of air in the can upside own as you do right-side up?

Plus, on a can that’s been stored upsidedown the skin will be within the liquid, once you turn it rightsideup (assuming the skin is not tough enough to hold all the vrnish above it once righted). So, when you stir, you will you not dislodge pieces of the skin and make a bigger mess than simply removing the skin from the top of a can stored rightsideup up?

I second the motion
To use urethane, but I would go with water-based outdoor urethane. It goes on better, is much easier to repair and is non-ambering. I’m not sure the shelf life is any better, but I’ve never had it form a crust.

UGH! Second coat is running
I guess I screwed up.

I filtered the varnish for the second coat, but I didn’t thin it. Drip/runs are sagging down the pieces, which are hung up on end. Not pretty.

I guess I will let it dry and then try to scrape off the drip marks with a putty knife before they completely harden.

They were looking good after the first coat. Now I made myself some work!


Is it possible that you brushed on too
much with the 2nd coat? Varnishes are formulated so that they are less inclined to run, and “want” to level.

As a former President once said,
Ah feel yo pain! I hate varnishing. It’s not easy because it is so gooey and you have to apply it in extremely thin coats.

More than likely, you applied too thick a coat. Yes, you will have to scrape all that off, let it harden enough so you can sand it smooth and start again.

I have three wooden boats in need of varnishing right now and I dread what’s coming.

sand between coats Chip …
… just sand those run marks out as you sand the rest of it , then re-coat with a fairly “dry” brush next time .

A dry brush means you don’t carry alot of coating in the brush and requires you to dip it more often , plus it takes more time and work to pull it out … but the end result is a thin coat . A thin coat takes more work to apply than a thick coat .

A thick coat is what happens with varnishes when using a “wet” brush , and most often the result will be runs .

There’s always the possibility varnish can become to old to use .