Laying the Base Coat: Varnishing, Part 2

As of today, six coats of varnish cover the cockpit teak, and we have two more to go. 

Makes me think of being about nine years old, when my dad gave my sister and me construct-a-dollhouse kits for Christmas. My sister had been asking for one, and either because my dad assumed my love of dressing dolls transferred to a love of building houses for them, or he was wary of showing favoritism between siblings, I got one too. My sister built a lavender San Francisco Victorian with bay windows that lived in her bedroom for the next two decades collecting period appropriate furniture. My country manor remained a pile of partially painted planks. 

As I teetered between boredom and quitting, my dad said something that had no effect on the destiny of my dollhouse but has run through my mind in various forms over the past week, "sometimes the prep feels like a lot of work for nothing, but in the final, easy steps it all comes together." 

I seem to have reached the "easy steps" (easier steps) of varnishing the cockpit coaming. After stripping and sanding, we began to build our foundation of varnish using Epifanes Woodgloss (it had the best reviews around the dock, from my dad, and from the chandlery). We started by diluting it 25% with solvent so the wood could absorb it. Then we layered on more coats using increasingly less solvent. Even though we're not done, the varnish has already started to catch the light and throw it around the cockpit. I don't think I've ever been so pleasantly blinded! So shiny!

The application of the varnish itself has been pretty straightforward; keeping the varnish pristine as it dries has not. Cat hair, Corinne hair, lint left behind by well-meaning, cleaning husbands, and crap-encrusted bird feathers have each posed viable threats. Cleaning varnish spills is also labor intensive, so to prevent them we found a roll of painter's tape that had plastic already attached. This proved disastrous:

The plastic fights back.

Thankfully, all errors have been easily handled with a little light sanding and another layer of varnish, and my boat-self-esteem is skyrocketing! Tomorrow, I'm going to transition to Epifanes High Gloss Finish, and Dominic will finish off the last coat as I head to Ashland for the Shakespeare Festival.