Varnishing Tips

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tysman52
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Varnishing Tips

Postby tysman52 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:44 am

Any of you out there have any advice for getting a nice finish?
I have decided to do the two part perfection plus.
1-What grit sandpaper in between coats?
2- Final coat better with a brush or varnish roller?
3- Polishing- I saw Skip used wool. Any tips?
4- How many coats with the 2 part?

Any other pearls? I have my deck on and will be staining and hopefully varnishing soon!
Thanks!

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Milhouse
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby Milhouse » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:45 pm

JT - You can't say you have the deck done and not post pics on your thread!: :D :D :D

Varnish is the most difficult finish I have tried to apply and I dislike it a lot :D :D

Biggest tip - Ensure your epoxy is CURED, not just dry. Be sure to remove the amine blush. I used West Systems 105/205 and I only waited a week and my varnish would not dry I had to sand it off and it was a nightmare! I think the minimum is 2 weeks after epoxy to apply varnish over it. I hear that 105/207 may have less amine blush but I would still wait 2 weeks because it SUCKS if the varnish does not dry. Read this post

As to your questions:
1. I use 220 then I wipe down dry and then wet (water is OK) and then I use a tack cloth (not a tack cloth fan but Varnish is a PITA).
1a. DON'T rush the sanding, if it gets gummy WAIT a day or more, else you will make it worse
2. I still have not got it perfect but I get nice wetout with a brush ($$$ badger hair brush)
2a. use brush thinner to get it to wet out and flow else you will have brush strokes

3. I have rubbed out with steel wool but I you will not have a glossy surface as you will get without a rubout. If you do use wool I
recommendLiberon 0000 steel wool
3a. I still get dust nibs so I need to try to get into a more dust free environment
4. I have only used Epiphanes

Get a brush spinnerand a brush comb

Watch this video and this video and this one too on cleaning your brush

More vids and vids

I recommend you practice on something other than your deck first.

Attached is a pic of my dash and im still not 100% happy with it after LOTs of coats and messing around and learning via trial and error...
Attachments
dash2.jpg
Jim
16' Ski Boat Restoration
17' Overnighter Sloop

I'd rather have a $h!tty meal than an $h!tty resume because a totally awesome resume will feed me steak one day - Steve Poltz

tysman52
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby tysman52 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:49 pm

Jim-
Thank you for the very detailed explanation! I will get some pictures of that deck posted before I screw it up with the varnish!

JT

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sscobra
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby sscobra » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:29 pm

JT, I followed the directions on the Perfection Plus can to the letter. My memory is not what it used to be and I don't have a can of it in the shop anymore, so I can't check it. I know I used 320 grit but can't remember for sure if I did it between each coat. If the can said to do so, than that is what I did. I used the thin yellow foam rollers that Glen-L sells to put all the coats on and I put them on as thin as I could. I would do a small section than tip it very lightly with a foam brush. I put 6 coats of the clear on the hull. If you put on very thin coats and tip them, than the finish comes out very nice. I still wasn't satisfied so that is why I polished it. Polishing is whole different animal and is very labor intensive. Before trying to polish the finish, I sanded it flat with 500 grit (which I think was a mistake, probably should have started with 800). I worked my way up in grits from 800 to 3000 and then finished it with a 5000 grit polishing pad. Then for the polishing stage, I first tried to use various foam pads on my rotary polisher. By rotary polisher, I don't mean the typical car polisher that you would use to wax your car! I used a serious Porter Cable polisher. I had no luck with the foam pads. It didn't produce much of a polish. Talking to a car painter friend, I then used a wool bonnet on the polisher with 2 different stages of rubbing compounds. That produced a very nice shine, but what a mess. You get rubbing compound and wool fibers everywhere, so wear a mask! Then a switched back to the foam pads and used two polishing compounds to finish up the polishing. Skip
Built the Glen-L Monaco, 2016.

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hoodman
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby hoodman » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:35 am

A lot of folks have had trouble getting Epifanes varnish to dry over epoxy. I know at least two people that have used Captains varnish over epoxy with excellent results.

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Jimbob
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby Jimbob » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:59 am

Here's my take on the varnish.
I took a different approach than most. I sprayed all coats of varnish on my boat. (I didn't trust myself with the roll and tip method.) The many thin sprayed coats seem to dry faster. If something gets in the varnish, it gets sanded off before next coat.
Whatever varnish you use make sure you follow the instructions on the can.

This is how I did it.
I used Epifanes varnish and their spray thinner (naptha) thinned 25%.
I sanded with 220 grit between each coat after waiting at least 24 hours. (varnish drys slow)
They recommend 320 grit between the final two coats.
The final finish is obtained by sanding up to 2000 grit and then buffing out using 3m polishing liquids (they have two cut levels)
I have a porter cable random orbital polisher and foam buffing pads (different abrasive levels) from Chemical Guys (they are online)
It takes me about 20 minutes to spray the entire boat, hull and decks, and takes two thinned quarts per coat.

My best advice is to experiment with test pieces and find out what works best for you.

Jim
Jim Neeley
Building a Barrelback in Sacramento, CA
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=28089#p172969

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Milhouse
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby Milhouse » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:56 pm

Jim how glossy did you get it after the rub out? I'm about to give up on trying to get a perfect finish without a rub out on my dash.

I have been brushing and got great wetout but saw some bubbles and dust nibs. Coincidentally I just sprayed a coat using Epifhanes Spray thinner as reducer and it went on well (Obviously would be nice to have a spray booth but that is not in the going to happen anytime soon). One idea I had was to add a tent over it while the varnish was drying to reduce dust nibs. It is still drying so ill post an update on spraying vs brushing results.

I did notice the spray coat seems to be drying faster then the brush coat and the clean up was fast so I may spray more moving forward where possible.
Jim
16' Ski Boat Restoration
17' Overnighter Sloop

I'd rather have a $h!tty meal than an $h!tty resume because a totally awesome resume will feed me steak one day - Steve Poltz

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Milhouse
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby Milhouse » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:11 pm

Update - I got some orange peel when I sprayed it.
Jim
16' Ski Boat Restoration
17' Overnighter Sloop

I'd rather have a $h!tty meal than an $h!tty resume because a totally awesome resume will feed me steak one day - Steve Poltz

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kens
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby kens » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:12 pm

In my former life as an autobody painter, I never sprayed varnish, however, I could spray old school enamel with the best of them, much of that experience will carry over to varnish I'm sure.

the cure for orange peel was to; up the air pressure, or, thin out the paint.
I preferred thin out the paint because by the time you get rid of O/peel with air pressure, you lose too much material to overspray.

Dust nibs; 90% of the dust comes from YOU!!!
I didnt get rid of the dust until I dressed in one of those white plastic fabric suits.

Even if you were spraying in a climate controlled paint booth, and wearing regular street clothes, you will get dust.

note: old school enamel would shrink a lot as it aged, hence 85% of your orange peel would tighten up and flatten out after 30 or 45 days.
I do not know if varnish shrinks like that.
Oak is over rated, everything about it takes extra time; then it warps, splits or checks !!! :roll:

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Jimbob
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby Jimbob » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:17 pm

Hi Jim,

I would suggest going through the entire process on your dash. Sand up to 2000 grit, and then use 3m polish compounds. Use a random orbital polisher so you don't burn the varnish. (I got a porter cable one). It is good practice for the rest of the boat.

I am finishing up on my varnish with maybe two more coats. Don't worry about the orange peel it will go away with your next sanding session. I have sanded the boat now with 320 grit getting ready to spray the final coat(s) (may be one more) after this weekend. The main thing in my opinion is just get the varnish on, and sand each coat so that it is smooth for the next coat. If you dry sand, you will see any orange peel or low spots and be able to fix them before your next coat. (I couldn't see them easily when I wet sanded) Mine is looking very glossy with the final coats but I will still sand and polish. It will become very glossy once you sand with the the finer grits and then use the rubbing compounds with a buffer. It will look like a lacquer finish when done. ( I practiced with my dash) I have to spray outside, so I have a hft canopy so nothing falls onto the varnish while it is still wet. Even if something gets into the varnish like a bug, it just gets sanded out.

I think of the process I used when building an electric guitar. It involved building up coats of lacquer and sanding and polishing the get the final finish.

Jim
Jim Neeley
Building a Barrelback in Sacramento, CA
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=28089#p172969

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Milhouse
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby Milhouse » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:30 pm

Thanks for the detailed tips Ken and Jim! They are really great. My setup is far from ideal but I didn't consider the dust coming from me! ill give a tyvek suit a shot as well. Yep I guessed that it needed to thin more so it flowed out better, thanks for confirming Ken!

Jim I didn't really think that I could/should buff out varnish but I'll give it a shot since you have had good luck with it. If i hose it I can always spray more varnish i suppose (its got a ton of varnish coats by now anyway :) Believe me I have sanded a huge bug already

Jim - I too did the same process on my scratch built Electric Guitar with Nitro Cellulose Lacquer and it turned out quite nice. Boy was that easier than Varnish but it took a lot of time and coats as well. Are we living parallel lives as Jims here? :lol:
Attachments
Guitar.jpg
Jim
16' Ski Boat Restoration
17' Overnighter Sloop

I'd rather have a $h!tty meal than an $h!tty resume because a totally awesome resume will feed me steak one day - Steve Poltz

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kens
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby kens » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:15 pm

you can block out any paint process, it just depends on how hard it is already dried.
Lacquers you could start sanding/buffing in matter of hours, mostly overnite.
Enamels nobody would say you could buff out at all, but, if you waited a month, you could actually buff it.
2-part polyurethanes, you could work out in a day or 2.
I remember , if you tried to sand it with 600grit and it gummed up in little gumballs instead of sanding dust, it was still to soft to work with.
Those old school enamels, this may take 3 weeks or a month.
Oak is over rated, everything about it takes extra time; then it warps, splits or checks !!! :roll:

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billy c
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby billy c » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:44 am

Biggest help in my shop against dust is dampening the floors about an hour before the roll and tip. Also if you are using the Perfection 2 part Varnishes, temps at about 70 degrees work out the best for application time and leveling. The closer to the actual final finish appearance you can get on the last coat the better. Cutting and polishing away too much of the UV protection topcoat is not the best thing you can do for longevity of your epoxy base coats.
(insert Witty phrase here)
Billy's Belle Isle website

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Milhouse
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby Milhouse » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:02 am

Can one put a 2 part varnish over 1 part varnish?

Are 2 part perfered?

To Ken's point it may dry faster to be buffed out sooner.

Billy good tip about watering the floor

I have lots of coats on already so I think buffing would be OK as the uv protection is still there in lower coats, thoughts?
Jim
16' Ski Boat Restoration
17' Overnighter Sloop

I'd rather have a $h!tty meal than an $h!tty resume because a totally awesome resume will feed me steak one day - Steve Poltz

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Jimbob
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Re: Varnishing Tips

Postby Jimbob » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:23 am

Jim, That guitar is beautiful! Looks to me that it is curly maple on top. Mine is curly maple left natural with a black pick guard.
Jim
Jim Neeley
Building a Barrelback in Sacramento, CA
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=28089#p172969


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