Varnishing Anybody?

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61SkiBee
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Varnishing Anybody?

Post by 61SkiBee »

Sad to say, it was long ago that I sanded down to bare mahogany and varnished an dI don't remember how I did it. It has held up pretty good with a few touchups coats along the way, so I must've done something right. Question is, what?

I used "Man O' War Spar Varnish ( the good old stuff) and it stood up pretty well>

Any suggestions on other varnish products would be helpful. I'd like:

>Good glossy finish without too many coats.

>Long lasting and abrasion resistance (I'm always taking off and putting on the mooring cover) Don't have it out enough to need super UV protections.

Wood Prep:

Best way to strip? What sequence of sanding grits, or are there good no-sand remoovers?

How much and what grit sanding between coats?

Big question: Caulk first, then finish? That's the way I've done it but any other suggestions welcome.

Info on Wood grain fillers, gouge fillers or prep coatings/sealers would also be much appreciated.

This would all pertain to standard red mahogany woodwork.


Thanks!
Guy Strauss

"Das Boot"
'61 SkiBee, 17' Inboard Runabout ski tow
Ford 292 Interceptor (pictured)

Marlin15
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Post by Marlin15 »

Hi Guy, It's been since 2000 that I did mine & the materials I used may have changed or may not be available but here goes. I used Z-Spar Standard Mahogany filler stain and Sears Cherry Mahogany oil base stain(it was the closest match to the color of the original stain on the bottom braces of the seats that were in good original shape. I used Z-Spar Captains Varnish over the top of the stain sanding after every 4th coat. I used a brush to apply the varnish and dragged it in one direction with a foam brush to eliminate the air bubbles. I used Interlux Seam Compound on the seams on the bow after the varnish was done so it won't yellow as the varnish ages. As far as the sandpaper grits I'm not positive but I think the stain went on after 220 and either 400 or 600 to knock off the nibs between coats of varnish. For the ouside of the mahogany and bottom that got painted I sealed it with Smith's penetrating epoxy sealer, it really seals the wood followed by epoxy primer and topcoat with paint.I used the Smith's on the inside floors and frames before varnishing and I put it over the stained mahogany also but it was tricky because it tended to act like a solvent to the filler stain if you brushed it too much.

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61SkiBee
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Post by 61SkiBee »

Hi Marlin,

This info is golden! Thanks for the prompt reply. The weather is getting cooler here, and the next week should give us some good days to do the work.

Question: You mention every fourth coat being a good time to sand, and I wonder how many coats total will do the job? Eight? (I agree, foam brushes are the way to go! The ones with wooden handles always seem to last longer for some reason.)

Also important: Any advice on average drying time between coats would be greatly appreciated.

I've never used stain on the boat. When I got it, it had been stained some godawful redwood, which did protect the wood underneath and sanded out nice, but I hesitate to use any stain, just a good natural color sealer to fill the and seal grain would be my preference. I tried some Interlux mahogany filler once, but it was too dark and started to look like stripes in the grain.

I agree, Epoxy is great stuff for the hull. I hate to think how much I've actually got on the bottom where I had scrapes and gouges. I ripped about two sq. ft. down to the first layer of plywood once--the bottom has been laminated with a coat of fiberglas-- and I filled it all with two-part "Sea-Goin' Poxy Putty." Great stuff. I think I got it from West Marine.

My caulking did yellow when I varnished the deck over it (re-varnished actually). I am pretty sure I caulked after the initial varnishing was done.

Big question: Is the Interlux Seam Compound already in strips or is it in tubes for a caulking gun? It's pretty tedious caulking those little strips on the deck, and anything to speed it up/make it easier, is welcome.

On my deck, I used good old white silicone, because I didn't care if any finish stuck to it. It has held up wonderfully but it's time to replace. Around the perimeter of the deck I used brown silicone--also worked great.

The caulking on the rest of the boat I used either Boat Life or Sikaflex, depending on whether it needed the adhesive quality of Sikaflex.

Lately, I've just done seams as needed with 3M caulk/adhesive. Not their strongest adhesive, which you could bed a keel with, but the second-strongest, which is plenty strong, sandable and paintable I stuck the bottom of my transom on with that last summer (see the pic on another thread).

Sorry about going on for so long, but I thought in thanks to your detailed reply, I'd add a few hints that I can still remember!
Guy Strauss

"Das Boot"
'61 SkiBee, 17' Inboard Runabout ski tow
Ford 292 Interceptor (pictured)

Marlin15
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Post by Marlin15 »

The Interlux Seam Compound comes in a can & goes on with a putty knife. I would tape off the wood adjacent to the gap being filled to make cleanup a bit easier. The cleaning solvent will also smooth out the finish of the compound.
As far as # of coats to finish, if you're not going to stain it, you don't have to worry about sanding through stain, so put a couple of good coats of Smith's Penetrating Epoxy Sealer on. This stuff will sand out smooth easier than varnish because it doesn't ball up & clog the paper the way varnish does and once it's cured there's no shrinkage like varnish as it dries out. Then put on 4 coats of varnish knocking off the nibs with 600 between coats. The longer you can wait between coats the better.

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61SkiBee
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Post by 61SkiBee »

THANKS Marlin. I'm heading out to the marine stores soon, and the epoxy sealer procedure sounds like just what I need. Also, the putty will certainly go on easier than squeezing caulk from a tube, and I've got lots of practice puttying up old windows with glazing compound!

Your aces in my book! :D
Guy Strauss

"Das Boot"
'61 SkiBee, 17' Inboard Runabout ski tow
Ford 292 Interceptor (pictured)

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61SkiBee
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Location: Minnesota

Post by 61SkiBee »

Well, some progress, mostly sanding. A comment on that process:

I started on the varnished mahogany with 100 grit. The varnish was spotty, with some places almos to the bare wood. It went pretty well on the gunwales, but when I started on the deck planking I noticed that there were enough irregularities that the sander (a square orbital unit) was not even touching in the low spots. Sometimes one plank would be higher that the two next to it by quite a bit of thickness. Being determined to make the whole deck as even as possible, I realized that 100 grit would not get me there any time this year. So I switched to 80, and went ahead cautiously.

I found that on a flat surface like the deck, with no edges to worry about grinding off, I could be pretty aggressive with the coarser paper and remove material where needed a lot quicker.

I intend to go back to the flat surfaces of the gunwales (NOT the edges) with 80 grit to deal with some uneveness, then finish again with 120 before sealing. Also finish the deck with 120 when it's all nice and even.

I plan to get some pics of the deck when fully sanded, then after sealing and after each coat of varnish, for a step-by-step comparison. Then a final shot after applying the seam compound.
Guy Strauss

"Das Boot"
'61 SkiBee, 17' Inboard Runabout ski tow
Ford 292 Interceptor (pictured)

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