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Matching Varnish Hue

Posted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:22 pm
by dleopoldi914
[Four articles have been combined into one--jimh]
varnish.jpg (46.27 KiB) Viewed 4079 times

Picked up a mahogany bench from Bob in Haverhill. I pick the boat up in April. Plan was to talk to owner when I pick it up and get the varnish he used and [then I will use] the same. I also think it looks okay as is.

What you think?

I bought "z bar captains 1015." Mixed 50-50 varnish and mineral spirits for the first coat. Then sand with 220. Then a coat of 80-varnish 20-mineral spirit. The sand with 220. "Captains zbar varnish" is super expensive.

Do I need to sand between ever coat?

I plan to do seven coats.

I know [little] about woodwork. It's all new to me.

The sponges to apply [the varnish] were $3 (each), and I need to take two days to do one [coat] because I do one side, wait [for the varnish] to dry, then flip over [the work] and do another side.

If I do seven coats and need a brush for every side that is 14 brushes. Should I do something to preserve the foam applicators between coats ?

Re: Matching Varnish Hue

Posted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:25 pm
by ConB
Yes you should lightly sand between coats.

Read the back of the varnish can.

I put foam brushes in a ziplock sandwich bag between coats. Some times that works some times not.


Re: Matching Varnish Hue

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:41 am
by Dutchman
Looking at the console door hue I would have gone with Interlux Schooner Gold as that will bring out the teak the best. Z Spar is great varnish also but doesn't give you the golden teak hue. I recommend the Schooner GOLD.

Yes you must lightly sand between coats and I recommend WET sand with 220-300. This will give you the best adhesion between coats.

See INTERLUX VARNISH GUIDE for good general instructions. Yes foam brushes can be used but make sure the are of the higher density foam kind(quite often grey and not the black).
Good luck.

Re: Matching Varnish Hue

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:17 pm
by OldKenT
Achieving a perfect match in color and tone is really not possible. I suggest that you save yourself the stress of trying to do that.

Thinning varnish for the first two coats is the correct course for filling pores in the wood. Alternatively, you could use a sanding sealer.

Then apply full coats and definitely sand between coats, using 220 grit, with 320 grit (wet or dry) before the final coat.

Many choose foam brushes for ease and convenience, but high quality white china bristle brushes are traditionally viewed as unsurpassed in smoothness of the finish.

Re: Matching Varnish Hue

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:37 am
by rtk
This is a good article on brushes: ... ight-brush

When I worked at a marina that restored classic wooden boats in the late 1980's natural hair/bristle brushes was the rule. I think it was even badger hair back then- that's what the old timers called them. Price of the brush ($20 to $30 dollars each, three or so per job) was not a concern because we were doing big dollar paint-varnish jobs. Quality work and finishes was the only thing that mattered.

We used to fight over who got to varnish the transom. Nothing more rewarding then spending two weeks stripping, sanding and applying eight coats of varnish and producing a furniture quality finish. Nobody bickered about the right to scrape, sand, caulk and paint the bottom. Me, as the young yard dog, spent most of my time below the waterline, but they did throw me a bone every once and a while and put me on a fine paint-varnish project.

I have never had luck with sponge brushes, but if it works for you that is all that is important. You will know if you got it right after spending a substantial amount of time sanding and varnishing, and the end result is a finish that looks like a sheet of thin clear glass.

Great thing is if you get a coat or two on and it looks bad you just stop, strip it off and start over.


Re: Matching Varnish Hue

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:05 pm
by dleopoldi914
I used painting cones to try to paint both sides and the side facing the floor got bubbles. I think from gravity. I sanded that side and the bubbles now seem to be gone with another coat. I am only going to do one side at a time. It is going to be long to do the seven coats.

Re: Question on varnish

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:35 pm
by jrhowe
Sounds like you haven't discovered this excellent article (with link to many comments) on the REFERENCE Section, "Wood Care and the Boston Whaler Boat" - ... rWood.html.

I have a question after reading that article: Does anyone know if you can use Interlux Brushing Liquid 333 as a thinner (like turpentine or 'paint thinner') for first few coats of varnish? (Brian's article wasn't clear about that).

Re: Matching Varnish Hue

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:03 pm
by jimh
I would never try to assess the color match of anything based on random digital images. The only way to compare hues is by direct, side-by-side comparison by eye in the exact same lighting conditions.

Also, I don't believe there is any way to assess the future hue and lustre of a piece of unvarnished wood by comparing it to some present wood with varnish that has been subjected to several years of weathering.

If you are obsessed with obtaining a match to the existing varnish, then completely strip off the all the existing varnish and start over with bare wood on everything. Use the same varnish and the same application method.

Also, SPONGES are never used to apply varnish. Usually one uses a foam brush. You can buy foam brushes anywhere. If you buy them at a ship's chandlery you will probably pay the highest possible price. Buy them at a big box hardware store for about 99-cents.

Re: Matching Varnish Hue

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:04 pm
by jimh
A few questions and clarifications to the first article in the thread, if you please:

Who is "Bob" and where is "Haverhill?"

Is "captains zbar varnish 1015" the same as "Z-Spar Captain's Varnish 1015"?

When you say

I also think it looks okay as is

does "it" refer to the varnish on the console or the unvarnished teak?