Varnishing

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by brendan gardam, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. brendan gardam
    Joined: Feb 2020
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    Location: east gippsland australia

    brendan gardam Senior Member

    Hi everyone. I need some advice .
    I have just purchased another project which has some varnished timber.
    I want to refinish it all. Nothing too fancy. What's the easiest and quickest way to do this. I want the clear finish not paint over it . I don't know whether I should just sand it down and apply oil . What's the pros and cons of both methods.
     
  2. brendan gardam
    Joined: Feb 2020
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    Location: east gippsland australia

    brendan gardam Senior Member

  3. DJ Ambrose
    Joined: Oct 2020
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    Location: Jersey Shore

    DJ Ambrose New Member

    One of my hobbies is restoring and building furniture so I've done a lot of research on furniture finishes throughout the years. When you repair a piece of antique furniture you really have to be sure the finish on the repair matches the 100 year old finish on the rest of the piece. When I decided to undertake one of my larger projects, building a roll top desk I wanted the finish to match what you would see if you walked into a museum and saw a real 100 year old desk. I did a bunch of research and learned how a desk like this was finished back then and used the same finish on mine. (I'm drawing a total blank on the name of the finish but it was basically an oil refined in a way to specifically to be used as a furniture finish. Thirty years after the fact this is how it looks. You have to remember that when I built it the oak was so light it almost looked white. In your case I would recommended removing the original finish then go on line and look for a company that sells supplies to high end furniture makers and choose a furniture oil they use and use that. I should note that it took years for the oak to develop the golden sheen it has today. Good luck with your project! David
     

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  4. Will Gilmore
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Location: Littleton, nh

    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    Brandon, there are some very good spar-varnishes on the market today, Rust-oleum's Verithane is very easy to find and inexpensive. You can get it in a water-based version that may not have quite the lasting power as the oil-based versions, but comes close and is much easier to apply, clean-up, doesn't smell and dried faster. This makes renewing it easy and quick, but more often.

    Many sailors swear by Epifane as the best spar-varnish, this article puts it a little down their list. 12 Best Marine Varnishes Reviewed and Rated in 2020 - MarineTalk https://www.marinetalk.com/best-marine-varnishes/

    Oil finishes are nice because you just clean the area and wipe more on, to renew it, but marine environments are really hard on them and you will be doing it monthly to keep it fresh.

    Could this be boiled linseed oil with a Japan drier added?

    -Will (Dragonfly)
     
  5. brendan gardam
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    brendan gardam Senior Member

    thanks david
     
  6. brendan gardam
    Joined: Feb 2020
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    Location: east gippsland australia

    brendan gardam Senior Member

    thanks will, the water based product sounds interesting. i don't like using oil based varnish . i have used 50/50 linseed oil and turps before, it really soaks in to the wood but as you say it needs to be redone every few weeks.
     
  7. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Just a suggestion - this would be a compromise though.

    How about painting white the large flat surfaces that are currently varnished, and keeping the trims, borders etc varnished to have a nice contrast?
     
  8. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Bananas

    You may be thinking of tung oil.
    Tung oil - Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tung_oil
     
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  9. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Unfortunately there is no shortcut. You need to sand whatever you do next. Using oil is an alternative if you don't care for high gloss or longevity. In that case tung oil or a so called "danish oil" (a mixture of oil and varnish) is the go to. Otherwise your favorite brand of high gloss varnish is the best bet.
     
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  10. brendan gardam
    Joined: Feb 2020
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    Location: east gippsland australia

    brendan gardam Senior Member

    thanks rumars, i did expect to sand the wood but being lazy i am just looking for the easiest method.
    actually that is a good idea. gloss white bulkhead keeping the varnished edge trims . thanks.
     
  11. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Location: Colorado

    Blueknarr Senior Member

    B-G

    There's no good way to proceed. Only "least bad".

    Sand and you breathe a lot of nasty dust and lose the patina.
    Scraper can gouge if you're not skilled at it.
    Chemical stripper is a nightmare of toxic soup.
    Heat gun and you're going to get burned

    The varnish is dead and should NOT be painted over. Get to raw wood before varnish or paint.

    I don't know what your cosmetic standard is. I see a lot of joints that would have to be reworked before I would paint over them. Loose joints blend in with the wood grain but stand out when painted.

    Best of luck
     
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  12. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Well, the fastest way to sand is by using a variable speed polisher with aftermarket foam pads of different hardness. But this method can end in desaster for non skilled operators, so the safe bet is a random orbital sander. Right now festool and mirka are the two contenders for the "best sander" (of course other brands dispute this). For the corners you need a triangular sander, either a dedicated "detail sander" or an oscillating multitool. The "trick" is to buy really high quality sanding paper and stick to the grit sequence. After the wood is clean and smooth wipe it with a damp cloth to raise the fibers and sand again with the final grit.

    The fastest way to remove old varnish or paint would be to blast it with dry ice. Soda is also an option but one can more readily ruin the wood with it. It is the most expensive option even if you can rent the equipment.
    Scraping is the cheapest way, good card scrapers can leave a finish ready for laquer and can be used forever. Stay away from the cheap carbide paint scrapers with a handle, you want good cabinet scrapers that can be sharpened.
    Hot gun and putty knife is my least preferred method, I try to stay away from it.
     
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  13. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I really like Epifanes UV Gloss

    so much depends on where you are

    oil will require more repeated efforts

    sunny places need more varnish layers

    honestly, I'd oil floors and varnish all else

    unlike Rumars, I have many hours on the heat fun and I always use plywood scraps sanded to a sharp edge; just be careful not to dwell and scorch; and I prefer the gun and a fan
     
  14. brendan gardam
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    brendan gardam Senior Member

    there are a few repairs to do. on the first photo you see the trim on the port side of the doorway is broken off near the bottom. there is another small repair to do inside where a window leak has been dripping onto plywood. i really like the idea of paint the flat surfaces gloss white and revarnish all the edges. my standards are not very high, just want it to look neat and tidy, no show finish.
     

  15. brendan gardam
    Joined: Feb 2020
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    Location: east gippsland australia

    brendan gardam Senior Member

    i have all those types of sanders, i even know how to use them horrible things. i have this recurring dream where i come home from work and my wife hands me a cup of tea and says honey i hope you don't mind but i sanded your boat ready for painting and vaccumed all the dust up to.:):)
     
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