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6 Coats In One Day!


Kennneee
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Varnish seems to be a subject that inspires a lot of passion.  Maybe it is because we spend so much time and care to put the final touches on our hard earned creations.  Varnishing is not my favorite thing to spend my time on.  I have tried many different products with varying outcomes over many years searching for a silver bullet.  When all is said and done, nothing looks better than 6-12 coats of a traditional varnish like Epiphanes of Captains etc.  

On Rosie, I have used 4 different products and “tested” the result.  Actually I was mostly using up a bunch of different cans that I didn’t want to waste.  The two-part Bristol that had served me well for years sprayed on my kayaks and surfskis was not as durable as I had hoped in this application (rub and toe rails).  On my kayaks, it went over a very stable surface that had fiberglass and epoxy encapsulating the wood. This two-part product is tough as nails and has lasted many years in this application.  Over wood that “moves”, Bristol seems a bit brittle.  Speaking to the tech folks at Bristol, they thought I would have had better success if I had applied epoxy over Rosie’s rub and cap rails first.  I eventually stripped them and applied 3 coats of Cetol Natural Teak over the bare wood and then 2 coats of Clear Gloss.  After one season it looked great and this Spring I scuffed and applied 2 more coats of the clear.  I always hated the look of Cetol but this combo looks excellent.  It is on the soft side but very easy to maintain. Not as glossy as the traditional stuff. The Epiphanes that I used on the radar mount is hard to beat.  It has maintained it’s depth and gloss over a couple of seasons.  Like Cetol, traditional varnish is usually a one coat per day with 6 coats or more being standard.   Lots of time with a brush in hand.  Since I would rather be out on the water than applying finish I am always in search of a better way.

Last year I decided to give Total Boat Halcyon waterborne varnish a try.  I have use a lot of waterborne products over the years with mixed results.  Most of them just don’t have the “pop”, depth, and color of a traditional product.  Being able to apply a coat of this product every hour with no sanding between coats is very appealing to me. It is incredibly easy to apply, almost like a cross between varnish and oil.  Of course local climate makes all of the difference in the outcome.  Here in BC, I can find lots of days with moderate temperature for a good result.  After a season it looked pretty good with a few spots needing touch ups.  I applied 3 more coats in one day a few weeks back.  It looks very good but again, it’s not quite as good as Epiphanes or other similar formulas.  If you want maximum shine, this is not for you.

I spoke with the tech folks at Total Boat a few months back and they recommended a coat or two of well-cured and scuffed epoxy on bare wood before applying the Halcyon.  I decided to go this route on Lula, my Lapwing.  On Sunday I had her all masked and the epoxy was scuffed and ready for varnish.  I did all of the brightwork, masts, sprits, tiller, etc.  On the transom I had previously applied one layer of 3.2 oz. Satin glass over the Western Red Cedar as I do on my kayaks and surfskis to stabilize and make this soft wood a bit more durable.  I applied a coat of Halycyon around every 1.5 -2 hours and was pulling the masking tape off by the end of the day.  How does it look?  I am very pleased.  Is it as glossy and rich as traditional varnish?  Not quite but close enough for me.  I got to go paddling the next day instead of varnishing.  It comes in a soft squeezable container which makes getting the air out easy for longer term storage. One more bonus is that it dries quickly so that dust is much less of an issue that with a slow drying product.  Hope this is helpful.

Ken

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I like varnish, real varnish on just about everything wood!  (note the explamation mark)

 

Bristol Finish is a clear 2 part LPU.  I despise the stuff for a couple reasons. It is harder to repair than 1 part polyurethanes, and they are a PITA. The gloss comes from isocyanates, like in solvent based LPU paints, so there is a health issue. Brushing it is risky, spraying it is outright dangersous without supplied air and a suit.

 

 

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As usual Ken, excellent looking workmanship.  Lula is elegantly beautiful. I hope you are enjoying significant satisfaction and pride in having built her.  
 

Lula looks like an EXCELLENT representation of the design and quality of B&B’s Lapwing kit. It might be fun for you to get it into some boat festivals or shows.  Too bad it can’t be just tucked into your suitcase when (if) you fly east to a B&B Messabout. 😁

Thanks for writing about your varnishing experiences. I still need to get some varnish onto the epoxied solid-wood parts of Joe, my ski boat… and to attempt a better final coat on the decking.  The boat will never be to your level of craftsmanship… but, I must admit that it often attracts some attention and inquiry from folks on the water or at a boat landing. It is fun to hear, “You built that?”  (All one needs to do is to take a close look to realize that, yes, it’s homemade. 😂)  But, seen on the water or from a little distance… I think it looks pretty good, and it isn’t a design one sees around here.  I can feel some pride responding, “Yep, built it from plans… I wanted to build it since high school… and, with my four kids on their own and my retirement, it was time.”
9E3DE17F-CD4B-4EA4-A0EB-B178E1B0625C.thumb.jpeg.cce2068bd9f2fa6cdde056760b333998.jpeg

I think I’m done with building boats (well, maybe… the SR20, that might become part of B&B’s line at some point, has really caught my attention.)  My wife offered me a deal if I decide to build another boat at home: I can do it if I arrange for someone to come in every day that I work in the garage to clean and dust the entire house.  Hmmm… I have to think about how to pull that off. 😂

 

But, I’m almost ready to varnish my wife’s new “butcher-block” kitchen countertops, sort of the third of my boat-building projects.  I’m happy with the two small sections I installed except for that FINAL varnish coat, which still has brush strokes and those dang  little “bumps” of dust that appear an hour or so after application.  (I put some finishing wax on the wood but I might strip it off and try for another coat of varnish… if I get better a result from finishing the next three pieces.)

6EFEE1DC-0278-4657-B71A-B9430E23C863.thumb.jpeg.1d0cc50d0b1738be87522ceb31aad60b.jpeg

 

The grey is what I’m now working to replace… My wife and I like how the varnished wood countertops add color and contrast to the kitchen.

3BBB766E-621C-4D2B-8EA9-46378FEA89A2.thumb.jpeg.eb8658370bf25b4e200b3480ea573179.jpeg

 

 I tried applying epoxy to the large sections of countertop yesterday with a different approach than I’ve used before: pouring a line of epoxy down the middle of the wood, spreading it thinly and evenly on the whole surface with a wide plastering knife, rolling over the surface in both directions with a short nap paint roller, then going over it with a couple light brush strokes (single strokes from end to end, yes, by walking along the long side… I am trying to avoid to start/stop brush marks.)  With two coats of epoxy applied in this approach I’m liking how it has yielded a really smooth surface. (Kinda wish I’d thought to try this approach two boats ago.)  (Yes, yesterday’s work still has some dust bumps.)  I’ll try the same approach with coats of varnish to see if I get closer to the result I’d like.
 

I think coats of varnish will deepen and darken this epoxied wood more toward what I’m looking for (the two pieces above)… and perhaps I will try some buffing on a final varnish coat to see if it takes care of any “dust bumps.” (If I screw that up with buffing I can always add more varnish.)

62154D8F-5D38-4645-A153-61A1D0229719.thumb.jpeg.ed5bf2570e19ab668e8079a825d5feba.jpeg


It’s fair to say that my two boat-building projects made me willing to take on this project and this approach to finishing.  As I suggest to my wife: I know that building our boats was kind of messy… but I NEEDED  to do the projects so I could finally give you new kitchen countertops. Think of what I could give you if I build another boat?

😉
 

I’m not sure if my argument works.

 

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I did a couple wooden counter tops.  In one case I just oiled the oak counter I made out of flooring shorts. It was now a 3 foot wide cutting board.  It was still in use in my house when I sold it 36 years later.  

No one like varnish more than me, no one! (note exclamation mark here too)  But for counter tops I use polyurhane.  It is much harder than real varnish.  And since UV damage is quite unlikely, repairs won't be an issue.  Repairing UV damaged poly is a PITA.

Some day they will probably invent the permanent bomb proof clear coat for wood.  That day has yet to come.

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We used a highly recommended oil type finish on the butcher block tops we bought from IKEA for our previous house. We liked how they came out but found that metal stuff could stain the surface, such as leaving a ring from opening a can (turning it in place.)

 

I’m hoping that epoxy gives sufficient  hardness.  I have liked the topcoat varnish result when it’s cured (so far.)  I know there are lots of alternatives and recommended best countertop finishes.   It is a challenge to sort through them.  I needed to choose something so I did.  I figure that adding another “something” down the road could be done, if needed... maybe even just sanding and adding another coat or spot of the same varnish could do the trick for a repair. 
 

Thanks. 

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1 hour ago, Hirilonde said:

I like varnish, real varnish on just about everything wood!  (note the explamation mark)

 

Bristol Finish is a clear 2 part LPU.  I despise the stuff for a couple reasons. It is harder to repair than 1 part polyurethanes, and they are a PITA. The gloss comes from isocyanates, like in solvent based LPU paints, so there is a health issue. Brushing it is risky, spraying it is outright dangersous without supplied air and a suit.

 

 

I have given up on that stuff for some of the same reasons.  I have sprayed way to much of that stuff without the best protective gear.  May come back to bite me when I get old or maybe I should say older.

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1 hour ago, PadrePoint said:

As usual Ken, excellent looking workmanship.  Lula is elegantly beautiful. I hope you are enjoying significant satisfaction and pride in having built her.  
 

Lula looks like an EXCELLENT representation of the design and quality of B&B’s Lapwing kit. It might be fun for you to get it into some boat festivals or shows.  Too bad it can’t be just tucked into your suitcase when (if) you fly east to a B&B Messabout. 😁

Thanks for writing about your varnishing experiences. I still need to get some varnish onto the epoxied solid-wood parts of Joe, my ski boat… and to attempt a better final coat on the decking.  The boat will never be to your level of craftsmanship… but, I must admit that it often attracts some attention and inquiry from folks on the water or at a boat landing. It is fun to hear, “You built that?”  (All one needs to do is to take a close look to realize that, yes, it’s homemade. 😂)  But, seen on the water or from a little distance… I think it looks pretty good, and it isn’t a design one sees around here.  I can feel some pride responding, “Yep, built it from plans… I wanted to build it since high school… and, with my four kids on their own and my retirement, it was time.”
9E3DE17F-CD4B-4EA4-A0EB-B178E1B0625C.thumb.jpeg.cce2068bd9f2fa6cdde056760b333998.jpeg

I think I’m done with building boats (well, maybe… the SR20, that might become part of B&B’s line at some point, has really caught my attention.)  My wife offered me a deal if I decide to build another boat at home: I can do it if I arrange for someone to come in every day that I work in the garage to clean and dust the entire house.  Hmmm… I have to think about how to pull that off. 😂

 

But, I’m almost ready to varnish my wife’s new “butcher-block” kitchen countertops, sort of the third of my boat-building projects.  I’m happy with the two small sections I installed except for that FINAL varnish coat, which still has brush strokes and those dang  little “bumps” of dust that appear an hour or so after application.  (I put some finishing wax on the wood but I might strip it off and try for another coat of varnish… if I get better a result from finishing the next three pieces.)

6EFEE1DC-0278-4657-B71A-B9430E23C863.thumb.jpeg.1d0cc50d0b1738be87522ceb31aad60b.jpeg

 

The grey is what I’m now working to replace… My wife and I like how the varnished wood countertops add color and contrast to the kitchen.

3BBB766E-621C-4D2B-8EA9-46378FEA89A2.thumb.jpeg.eb8658370bf25b4e200b3480ea573179.jpeg

 

 I tried applying epoxy to the large sections of countertop yesterday with a different approach than I’ve used before: pouring a line of epoxy down the middle of the wood, spreading it thinly and evenly on the whole surface with a wide plastering knife, rolling over the surface in both directions with a short nap paint roller, then going over it with a couple light brush strokes (single strokes from end to end, yes, by walking along the long side… I am trying to avoid to start/stop brush marks.)  With two coats of epoxy applied in this approach I’m liking how it has yielded a really smooth surface. (Kinda wish I’d thought to try this approach two boats ago.)  (Yes, yesterday’s work still has some dust bumps.)  I’ll try the same approach with coats of varnish to see if I get closer to the result I’d like.
 

I think coats of varnish will deepen and darken this epoxied wood more toward what I’m looking for (the two pieces above)… and perhaps I will try some buffing on a final varnish coat to see if it takes care of any “dust bumps.” (If I screw that up with buffing I can always add more varnish.)

62154D8F-5D38-4645-A153-61A1D0229719.thumb.jpeg.ed5bf2570e19ab668e8079a825d5feba.jpeg


It’s fair to say that my two boat-building projects made me willing to take on this project and this approach to finishing.  As I suggest to my wife: I know that building our boats was kind of messy… but I NEEDED  to do the projects so I could finally give you new kitchen countertops. Think of what I could give you if I build another boat?

😉
 

I’m not sure if my argument works.

 

Nice looking ski boat Ted!

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Incredible workmanship, Kennneee!  And thanks for all the testing and reporting.  I use Captains, and High Build (aka Flagship).  Lately, I’ve been playing with applying it with a foam roller, and tipping it off with a soft brush.  At least this is what I do on large surfaces.

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Kennnee, coming to another Messabout is on my list, but not this year. I attended the 1st one.  I have thought about towing Uinen to one, but I don't really need that adventure at this point in my life. The internet has made the world smaller, but doesn't help us drag our boats around the country. Too bad our Lapwings are sooooo far from NC. I would love to see yours, show mine off, and compare builds.

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Not sure if we're talking about counters or power skiffs or what anymore here.  But i did want to add that my experience with Halcyon tracks with Kennee's, especially in the last year or so, when I think Total Boat improved the mix.  It's pretty good stuff, not up to "real" varnish, but definitely worth using unlike some of the other water based products.  We have used Halcyon at our volunteer shop, where short recoat time is always a plus because the kids or other workers are only on hand for a couple of hours or so at a time.  With Halcyon, they could get two coats in one session and come up with decent results to boot.  The soap-and-water cleanup is a real plus in that setting as well.

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