Varnishing and Life

varnishing - 1

Although I usually avoid sailing much during the summer, it’s starting to bother me that Row Bird has been out of the water for several weeks. Everything has a cost. If you want something in life, you have to pay for it.

And if you want a beautiful boat that will last a long time, you have to take care of it. I won’t give you any technical tips here, but philosophically, applying toxic marine paint and varnish is a lot like the successfully navigating the rest of life.

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  1. It’s all about preparation. You can get out there and do your thing on the fly, but the product seldom turns about better than the plan. I spent more time cleaning, sanding, taping, and waiting for the right weather than I did applying products.
  2. Be neat. I clean up a lot. Dirty work areas produce messy products. I used to wear gloves, but no more. They’re sloppy and keep me from really feeling the brush. I always wear decent clothes to varnish or paint. Ratty things drag through the paint and make me feel sloppy. Having neat clothes makes me neater.
  3. Create structure and order. Everything needs to have a place before, during, and after the job. Paint in some order- top to bottom, left to right, clockwise, etc. Having a system means everything gets done right, things are easy to find,  and the project doesn’t run into unexpected snags at inconvenient times.

Maybe these things are true. Maybe I’m just anal retentive. In either case, my boat is almost ready to put back in the water!

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2 thoughts on “Varnishing and Life

  1. Good on ya for taking on the varnishing! Last year, I decided to move to oil on my little sailboat because I kept putting off the spectre of sanding – and you know how that goes! The varnish kept peeling until, finally, something extreme had to be done. So far, so good.

    I was inspired to oil by the cherry trim on the Adirondack Guideboat. They use a hand rubbed finish with Penofin Marine Oil and it looks really nice. I tried it on the sailboat teak and am impressed with its subtle and soft look. The downside is that you have to tune it up with a coat more often. The upside is no sanding, if you keep it up.

    Your boat looks great and shows off its trim and your hard work nicely. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks agree on the oil. But dang, that stuff has it’s own messiness. After a while it builds up in black goop that you get to sand off… My guideboat is also oiled. 🙂

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