Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Coat of Varnish

Last weekend with Rob's help I got everything ready for varnishing. The kayak was wet sanded & washed with water with a bit of soap, then washed with clean water & dried. The garage was cleaned up thoroughly: everything was put away & tidied up, the floor was swept (using sweeping compound), the dust blown out of every nook and off every shelf (several times). Later, after the dust settled, the garage was swept again.

Last night I applied, again with Rob's help, the first coat of varnish. I suspended the kayak from the ceiling so that I would be able to get at all sides, top and bottom at the same time. The whole kayak was lightly wiped with a tack cloth, then varnishing started. I am using the Flagship Spar Varnish purchased through Kisseynew Canoe Company. Once the can was opened, we poured the gallon of varnish out into 3 collapsible bottles (to minimize airspace in the container) with the remainder going into a glass jar. The remaining air in the containers was displaced using Lee Valley Finish Preserve. The varnish was strained through a disposable varnish filter then we began brushing the varnish on using disposable foam brushes. Rob worked on one side while I worked on the other, doing both the deck and hull, maintaining a wet edge as we proceeded from stern to bow down the kayak.

It seems that I put the varnish on heavier than Rob did & my side has the sags and runs to show for it. This morning I reviewed the varnishing instructions in Canoecraft and The Strip Built Sea Kayak. Some tips I have to keep in mind are to NOT go back and attempt to touch up a spot after a few minutes have passed & not to try to put on to heavy a coat.

I'm not too sure about trying to get the underside done at the same time. It's hard to get a good coat underneath and to really see what you are doing. I think for the subsequent coats I'll focus on the deck then once that has dried, flip it over on stands and do the hull. Maybe.

I'll give the boat a couple more hours of drying time then wet sand with 220 grit to take off all the drips, runs, sags, and dust that are in the first coat.

Here are a couple of pictures from this morning.



Now while the varnish dries I'm going to re-read Martin Step's varnishing advice from Green Valley Boat Works.