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Varnish Lifting

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:39 am
by Warren
I'm hoping to tap into the brain trust here. I recently completed a rebuild on a 1932 Chris Craft 21' Triple. The first time out I hit the dock cracking a plank and a gouge across the covering board. I replaced the plank without any problems but when I went to address the gouge on the Covering board I noticed that the Varnish lifted off in sheets without any effort at all. This was not the case when I replaced the topside plank. I had to use a heat gun and a lot of elbow to get the Varnish off, so why is it lifting off the covering board?

This was my prep work prior. After all needed wood was replaced the boat was sanded starting with 80 grit then 100 and finally 120 grit. Boat was washed with water between each grit. I then bleached entire boat to have all the wood blend to match. Washed to neutralize bleach, let dry completely for 2 weeks. Lightly sanded with 220 grit to remove the raised grain. Next step was to stain whole boat Chris Craft Red which was purchaced from a respected restorer in California. Let this dry for 1 week then taped off deck and topsides leaving only Covering Boards and King Plank exposed. Applied Black stain over the dry red stain and immediately wiped off. Note this stain also came from same respected retorer. This was let to dry for 2 weeks. Rubbed white towel on it to see when dry. After this I applied two coats of Pettit Sealer 2018 lightly sanding with 220 grit between coats. Then started the build up of the Varnish. I used Epiphanes and put on 13 coats per instructions.

So my question is where did I go wrong? I'm now back to the stage where I've applied the Red stain, letting it dry and then I'll apply the Black. After that I'm thinking I wont use the Pettit Sealer and put on a couple of really thin varnish coats. Maybe try to squeegee the first coat into the surface?

Re: Varnish Lifting

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:36 pm
by jfrprops
Well since no one in the serious varnish brain trust has yet checked in....let me say that from my point of view you messed by doing all the meticulous great work....I just slap some on and Go Boating....then too...I don't have that wonderful rare boat.
Someone with come along and be serious help to you....come on guys...start posting.
John in Va

Re: Varnish Lifting

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:34 pm
by joanroy
220 was to fine of a sand and it closed the grain so you didn’t get good adhesion with the first coat. I sand bare wood to 80, stain, two coats of sealer, one full coat of varnish, then sand by hand with 120 to smooth being careful not to sand into the stain. After that you can use 220 and go finer between coats to achieve your desired build and finish.

Re: Varnish Lifting

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:23 pm
by joanroy
I’ve always had good results with Interlux filler stain, Interlux sealer, and Pettit Captains varnish.