Post XLV - Epoxy seal & varnish coat 1

This post details some of the prep-work before starting the finish coats of varnish. Before I started, all the wooden parts were sealed from water save for the gunwales floors and seat supports. Not too much complicated about this stage -- I just brushed on unthickened epoxy and marveled at the glossy results.

Tip for anybody doing this -- watch out around the scuppers. Those things are drip machines if you are not careful. Be sure to come along underneath the gunwale with a foam brush maybe 20 minutes after application to clean up the excess before it hardens.

I also decided to seal the seats before varnishing. To get all sides of every seat piece, I had to string em up. Same went for the floorboard cross-ties. These are going to get wet often, so best to cover them as well, even though they are more or less disposable. 

Figure 233: Glossy Gunwales! 

Figure 234: High tech seat hangers 

Figure 235: Sealed floors and seat supports 

Figure 236 Sealed floorboard cross-ties 

I did some research in the following week as to which type of varnish works best. Turns out (as with most things) everybody has a different opinion of this. I decided it would be best to consult Ron at Canadiancanoe again -- he recommends Epifanes brand clear varnish. I saw this product recommended for use with WEST epoxy in several other places as well and decided to use it too. 

A few things about Epifanes varnish: 
  1. It is *thick*...about the same consistency as unthickened epoxy. I didn't find that it brushes on particularly easily, but was able to get it spread around in a nice even coat eventually. Over bare wood they recommend thinning 50% for the first coat. Not necessary over epoxy, but if I were going for mirror-finish I definitely would have thinned the first coat.
  2. Epifanes is real, real stinky. Indoors you need a niosh mask
  3. Just like paint, you need good surface prep. My hull had already been sanded to death, so I didn't do much there. All of the seat supports and floors were sanded with 220 grit. After sanding, I vacuumed dust, then wiped down everything twice with acetone
I covered the whole hull interior, and floors. I still had epoxy touch-ups curing on the gunwales & seat supports, so I'll get them next time. After everything was done, I went over the whole hull, looking at steep angles to find drips and runs; I smoothed these with a foam brush. The result is really quite nice to look at I think. 

Figure 237: First coat of varnish -- money shot!

Figure 238: Varnish on the seats 

I just include this picture to show something interesting. I was looking on steep angles trying to find runs and drips and noticed this ribbed pattern appear. I thought it was drips and runs, but then realized that it's the reflection of the portside strips in the starboard side varnish. Very shiny!

Figure 239: Another view of the varnish showing weird ripples