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Old 12-21-2010, 03:16 PM   #1
redbopeep's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,188

Every few months I varnish a bit of Mahdee’s brightwork. Coat after coat after coat I wonder what happens to it. For example, I have at least 20 coats on the cockpit combings but yet there are places where it has worn down to bare wood and I can say with certainty that the thickness of the existing varnish at best is the equivalent of something like 4 or 5 coats. Last week, I sanded the cockpit combings and put on two coats before the weather got too cold again for good drying. I was hoping for 4 coats, but, I was happy to get two in place.

The few places I’d “spot varnished” in September on the combing were bright and shiny still; the problem was that I’d not varnished the combing at all in August when I varnished everything else on the boat. My notes say that the cockpit combing was last varnished in late April of 2010. No wonder it was pretty much gone! It wears away to nothing.

The logistics of varnishing keep it as an illusive and seldom completed task here on the boat. I cannot varnish when it is wet, too hot or brightly sunny (the varnish will bubble) , too late in the day (dew will fall) or when David is doing any of his typical messy work. Can’t varnish when we’ll be moving the boat from one anchorage to another (that’s every three days) but yet varnishing is best done at anchor rather than at the dock (too many lines in the way when at the dock). So, a good varnish day is like getting all the stars to align–we’re at anchor, it’s not our last day at anchor (since it is best to varnish two days in a row), David has other things to do besides make dusty messes; and the weather is neither too hot, too cold, too wet, or too windy. Got it? Yep, very rare days are the varnish days.

The stars aligned for me last week: I was “ahead” of David on getting a cold; feeling better than him I was able to go about my sanding and varnishing while he sat inside barely able to think and not in the mood for dusty projects! Perfect varnish time. The weather was great, and I had two days of varnish time! The cockpit combing was "revived" and is well covered with varnish. This week it is raining cats and dogs--so I'm glad I had my chance last week.

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 12-22-2010, 05:03 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,067

I once had a lovely boat that I am sure had no less than 10,000 running feet of Vanishing Varnish. Following a visit to a local paint shop (in England) and bemoaning the fact of the never ending cycle. The proprietor suggested that I change my ways :- 1. remove the vanish. 2. sand down the wood until it was clean and bright. 3. Apply ICI's Dulux's 'Cuprinol' with a pad. 4. Every now and again take the pad and touch it up.

The wood breathes, the colour remains, the wood is water proofed. What a relief ! and after 4 seasons in tropical sun still good to the eye.

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