April 2002 — By Capt.
Fast and Fabulous
|Part 3: The Actual Varnishing Starts|
Now the actual varnishing starts: one coat per day for seven or eight days in reasonable succession with light sanding with 220-grit paper between each coat. Becker suggests–and I agree–you use either a badger-hair or a slightly less expensive imitation badger-hair brush. The Europa from the Corona Brush Company is a fine example of the latter variety–a 21š2-inch version retails for about $20. As noted before, Becker also suggests Interlux Schooner Varnish because it works like a champ and is dead-simple to use. I agree. Five or six years ago I used it on the Scrumpy Vixen’s large, louvered-teak door between the wheelhouse and the sleeping cabin. I applied eight coats over eight days or so, with a light sanding with 220-grit sandpaper between each coat. Since then the door has been exposed to almost daily doses of sunshine and plenty of salty sea air, and it looks just about as nice as it did when I swiped the last brushstroke.
Becker’s final varnishing step seems a savvy one; I’ve not tried it yet but expect to give it a whirl in the future. He advises applying two or three coats of U.S. Paint’s Awl-Brite Plus, a two-part urethane that shields brightwork with lots of hard-nosed UV protection, with light sanding with 220-grit paper before the first application and between subsequent ones. Becker says that before adding Awl-Brite Plus to his varnishing regimen, the staying power of his varnish work tended to max out at about four months in the South Florida sunshine, but with Awl-Brite Plus, he’s routinely getting a year.
The varnishing process thus far delineated is about as short and sweet as you’re likely to come across, in my opinion. There’s just one aspect I haven’t touched upon, however–maintenance. So, in keeping with the spirit of this piece, which is to save time and effort, here are a couple of tips on keeping a nice job looking nice. First, whenever possible, wipe down brightwork with a soft towel when it’s wet. Salt crystals, if allowed to dry atop a varnished surface, actually focus destructive sunlight like a lens. Second, fix dings the easy way: Empty a nail-polish bottle, clean the thing out, and refill it with varnish. It takes a lot less effort to twist off a cap than it does to rummage through a paint locker, find a can of varnish, pry the lid off, and scare up a brush worthy of what I trust will be a fast and fabulous finish.
3M Phone: (800) 771-7049. Fax: (800) 699-7840. www.mmm.com.
Corona Brushes Phone: (800) 458-3483. Fax: (813) 882-9810.
Louis M. Gerson Phone: (508) 947-4000. Fax: (508) 947-5442. www.gersonco.com.
Interlux Yacht Finishes Phone:(908) 686-1300. Fax: (908) 686-8545. www.interlux.com.
Kop-Coat (Pettit) Phone: (800) 221-4466. Fax: (973) 625-8303. www.kop-coat.com.
U.S. Paint Phone: (314) 621-0525. Fax: (314) 621-0722. www.uspaint.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.