Varnish and I are friends only because we do not expect too much of each other

I have been varnishing spars

had a great time in the garage getting high on the smell of Rustins and watching bad TV

I get on well with varnish as long as it is a flat surface

any sort of slope and inevitably I get some drips

spars are all slope

some people seem to be endowed with a gift for putting varnish on just right

We always start off well., varnish and I, I lay it gently on the spar = thin as you like

I watch for half an hour to see if anything is going to happen - clean, clear drip and fly free

I go into the house, looking back at them shining and perfect. I return two hours later to admire my workmanship

I am always dissapointed - more a hot wax effect than a supersmooth coat.

Then I console myself with the thought that I have at least protected the spar from wet and light and next year I will do better


This is about Dylan Winter's Blog, Hunter Minstrel. Tags:

3 Responses to “Varnish and I are friends only because we do not expect too much of each other”

  1. 31 May, 2012 at 4:58 amPaulH says:

    Hey Dylan,
    Foam brushes seem to be in for varnishing now (although they fall apart (brush seperates from handle) pretty easily which is bloody annoying… I also think its better to pour the stuff into a jar or can and not pour any left over stuff back into the main can, but anyway, like you say, as long as your spars are protected :-)

  2. 16 June, 2012 at 5:09 amNautihamstern says:

    I stopped using varnish several years ago. I hate it when it separates from the underlaying wood if the surface is sratched or dented, whereupon you have to scrape or sand or chemically treat the whole bloody thing in order to start all over…
    Nowadays I stick to a product called Owatrol. It’s a two part system, comprising of a penetrating mixture of oil (Marine D1) and a varnish type oil (Marine D2) that you can use if you like a varnished look more than an oiled look. It’s a pain in the ass to use, since you have to apply about 30 layers of the D1 wet-on-wet with about 20 minutes between layers. It takes forever…
    The upside is that the oil completely penetrates the wood (well not completely, obviously, but a fair bit of it anyway, and any scratches and dents won’t let water in under the varnish type coating. I’ve got a friend who has been applying a thin coat of D2 on every indoor wooden surface of his boat for 20 years (just a quick wash and then on with it) and it still looks brand new. Myself, I use it for everything ;)
    And no, I’m not affiliated with the company, I’m just impressed with the product, and maybe a bit autistic when it comes to treating wood…

  3. 18 June, 2012 at 9:33 amDylan Winter says:

    the slug had been treated with something that rendered the wood a deep brown stain – it seemd to protect the wood but I was not keen on it.

    I have now discovered that the secret is to thin the varnish 25 per cent and then apply five instead of three coats


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