Problems with Bright Work

At the Skills Camp, I noticed my bright work started to look odd.  Now this is not the sort of thing that brings joy and comfort to one’s heart.  No, in fact, It causing feelings of frustration and overall doubt in the goodness of the varnish Gods.

How could it be…I tried to follow all the steps and do a good job.  But, there it was…as clear as the nose on your face.  My finish was failing.

DSC00422Notice the cloudy sections.  These began to appear all over the boat.  At first we thought it might be blush, but as the week went on, I noticed I could rub off sections with my finger nail.  It appeared to be an adhesion problem and it was spreading.

So, what to do?  At first I was in denial…saying things like, ‘It’s a work boat, who cares’, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized, I care.  It just wasn’t right.  I have worked too hard on my boat to not care.  I want my boat to be right.  There was only one thing to do…scrap it off and apply it again.

DSC00430I engaged the boys to remove all the deck hardware.

DSC00428 And I began scraping.DSC00436And scraping…

DSC00442 And sanding…DSC00443And more sanding…

DSC004388 hours later, the boat looked like this.  I had achieved a nice dull finish to the entire boat.  In places I had gouged into the wood, so I decided to apply a thin coat of epoxy to the entire bright side.

DSC00447By the end of my Saturday, the boat looked like this.  It was a long day, but I feel so much better about it.  I’m tired, but pleased.

Summary:

Lying awake at night contemplating the root of the problem, I’m not sure I sanded between my final two coats of varnish.   I honestly can’t remember, but I’m placing the blame on not properly sanding between the coats.  Without proper sanding between the coats, there would be nothing for the varnish to bind to.  However, now that the bright work is ready for finish varnish, I have decided to use a high gloss varnish this time around.     I love the look of the satin finish, but I’m not convinced it provides the same level of UV protection as high gloss varnish.  

Why not just paint the bright work?  Phil asked me this very question on the loading ramp at Point Hudson Marina.  Well, I just can’t bring myself to smear paint over all this beautiful wood.  It seems a bit sacrilege to me.  Remember, I’m a woodworker and I love the look of real wood.  Shackleton also weighted in and asked to be left bright, so bright it will be.

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