A Bad Varnish Job

I use my Mystery almost daily. I put in the Poquonock River and paddle out to Pine Island and back. As a result of that an my natural impatience I leave it outside most of the summer. As you may imagine, this is pretty hard on the boat and particularly the varnish. After a year of that treatment the varnish was pretty much shot.

The Meet at the Beach is coming up and the boat needs a new coat of varnish in the worst way. The problem is, I don't have room in the shop right now and the days have been sunny, hot and humid. It is really not great weather for applying varnish inside but truly bad for applying it outside.

With the hot sun blasting down on the boat the varnish dries very quickly, leaving every brush stroke visible and it is impossible to maintain the always desired "wet edge".

But, a bad coat of varnish is better than a dead coat of varnish. Varnish is applied to protect the boat, a side effect is to make it pretty. The ideal coat will be smooth as glass, leaving the boat looking like it has been freshly dipped. A bad coat of varnish will be rippled and rough with dust spots, drips and brush marks. While not desired, this is still good, it means you have protection on the boat.


I thinned down the varnish to help slow down the drying. Hopefully this gave me a little more time to brush while keeping the edge wet. I then moved as fast as I could, while maintaining discipline. I worked on one foot at a time, switching sides every two feet as I moved down the length of the boat. The whole thing took 10 minutes. I let it dry for a couple hours (the sunny side was dry in less than 1 hour), then slapped on another coat.

Bad Varnish

With close inspection you can see the surface is not very smooth, there seems to be some fluff in the dark strip near the bottom.

It is what I would call a "Bad Varnish Job". But, it is done. The boat has some protection that it did not earlier this morning. I can always come back when I have more time and more space in the shop and sand it back a bit to level it out and apply another coat or two.