Varnish over?

I thought it sensible to create a separate topic for the varnish, as it didn’t comfortably sit under the previous topic of re-priming plywood, but I am open for pointers on how to, and whether to, nest topics.

My new (1978) mirror is in pretty fine condition, just a few little bits to sort but nothing major, however it is in need of having the hull painted, and I thought that I’d give the varnish a going over at the same time.

The varnish is in good overall condition as it stands, but it is clearly a few years old. Not much in the way of cracking or wear, and the plywood looks good underneath it, no signs of damp or softness.

I don’t mind about adding the weight to the boat. I want to improve the boat and be effective in my actions with time, energy, and money. I don’t want to be throwing a £25 tin of varnish (International Original) at something which won’t last, but equally, I don’t want to be spending a load more time scraping and painting, and a load more money on more varnish if it would be fine to just slap over what is already there.

I don’t need Lookfar to be a show piece, and I’m far from a peacock by nature, what I want is a solid boat which is well protected and will withstand time, sea, and weather.

Again, go gentle with me, it’s my first time.


curlew's picture

I tend to give firm existing varnish a rub with wet and dry paper and put on another coat. I think this is a big advantage of varnish over paint. I use the Original varnish.

Thanks David,

Once the wet weather has passed I’ll get on doing that.

Do you have a varnished hull then?

curlew's picture

No my hull is painted and the decks are varnished. Unfortunately tough over many years the varnish gets very hard and difficult to remove, so my decks look a mess now.

PuffinInTegel's picture

I have sanded down the existing varnish several times in the past 30-odd years and varnished over, using an old-school natural-oil varnish which is tough and flexible but not all too UV-proof. Latter property is not important as the boat lives under cover most of its life. However if you plan to leave the boat uncovered in the sun (and rain?) for days or weeks on end, check the UV-resistance of the product you intend to use.
And enjoy the sailing!