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Varnish, The golden nectar

Varnish, The golden nectar

The key in varnishing is in the preparation, so sand, sand, sand and when you think you've sanded enough sand once more. Use a good quality tack rag and remove all dust. If you are varnishing onto bare wood then a 50/50 mix of white spirit to varnish is the best to ensure a good adhesion of the first coat. Then a 75/25 mix of varnish to white spirit and then onto the full varnish coats. Each layer will need to be sanded lightly in between (nibbing).


You should apply at least 4 coats of varnish 6 is ideal and any more and you are showing real commitment!  The perfect day for doing varnish outside is no wind, certainly no rain, a warm day and hopefully not too much direct sunlight. Avoid applying the last coat of the day late afternoon as when the evening dew settles on the varnish it will create a bloom.


The traditional way of applying varnish is of course with a brush, preferably with hair removed from the sensitive parts of some endangered species of furry animal purchased at vast cost by your grandfather and passed down father to son on their death-bed. Failing this there are very good quality brushes available now, but always make sure a new brush is washed and dried before use or you may find errant hairs sticking to your lovely varnish work.


When all finished and it is time to put away your varnish, follow these steps and your tin of varnish will be good for next year. When putting on the lid exhale into the can as you do so, this kills the oxygen in the can giving the varnish less chance of setting. Put the lid on tightly and turn the can upside down to store. This ensures that if a skin does form the good varnish is at the top when you open the tin next season.


Good luck!

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Comments (1)


Dom Hicklin :

I'd never hear of Turning the tim upside down to store it before. Top ideas thank you!

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