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HomeLifeMastering Clear Varnish: Tips and Considerations

Mastering Clear Varnish: Tips and Considerations

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  • Clear varnish is a popular choice to enhance the appearance of wood on boats, emphasizing the beauty of the grain. However, its transparency can also magnify imperfections, making thorough preparation crucial.
  • Epifanes varnish is a well-regarded option among available choices for clear varnish, known for its quality and performance.
  • While clear varnish offers stunning results on top-grade wood, if you’re not willing to invest in meticulous prep work or the wood isn’t of the highest quality, opting for a less clear varnish, oil-based product, or even a stain might be more practical.

The trouble with clear varnish!

If you want your wood to be like it is seen on the world’s top yachts, you need a clear varnish. The clearer the varnish the more the grain of the (hopefully ) great wood it is covering will stand out. However, the problem with clear is also that if that clarity shows something else like bits of old varnish or dirt, the effect will be exactly the opposite to what is intended.

How do you use Clear Varnish
How do you use Clear Varnish

Clear varnishes are readily available and Epifanes varnish is one of the top favorites.

However, if for any reason you do not want to make the sometimes-Herculean effort of removing all old varnish and anything that might not show the great wood, then you are better off avoiding clear. The same applies if the lumber you are covering is not the very best. In those cases, use a varnish that is less clear, or one of the oil products that are never very clear or even consider a stain that will hide the imperfections.   

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There is no point in frustrating yourself, there are always other projects on any boat!

Please send in Questions for the Experts to answer in a future issue to editor@allatsea.net

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Sir Robbie Ferron founded the Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta and served as Caribbean Sailing Association President for nine years.

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