Working with Spar Varnish

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Forum topic by mrg posted 06-01-2010 03:55 PM 1669 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View mrg's profile


655 posts in 2423 days

06-01-2010 03:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar spar varnish finishing planter boxes outdoor furniture question

My question is does anyone have any tips for applying this finish?

I have applied two coats, the finish is looking good on most of my project. I have a couple of dry spots to touch up. The finish is a bit wavy. I had to sand one of the benches to fix some drips and actually went back to the wood. This bench needs another coat to make uniform.

I applied the varnish according to the instructions, stirred for 15 minutes, ran through strainer, apply by brush, do not thin. Allow to dry 8-12 hours.

I am looking to improve my finishing skills as i plan on adding to this as i go over the summer.

I will post this project when I have it setup in its corner of the patio, I need to remove the old planter boxes.

-- mrg

3 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 06-01-2010 04:14 PM

not really Spar varnish ONLY – but general to any film finish -

1. 2 coats is usually not enough. I’ll usually put 3-6 coats of poly
2. First 2-3 coats will soak quickly and easily into the wood- so you might end up with ‘dry spots’ – I’ll usually cover the piece until it’s overflown with finish to make sure the finish stays also on the surface on the first couple of coats
3. Sand lightly between coats- this will even out the film that’s created on the surface – do not sand through the finish, if you have low spots -add another coat of finish – keep it heavy where you have a ‘dry spot’ as the wood soaks it up more there.
4. your ‘plan’ is really to build up your finish over the piece. so again – I’ll keep the first couple of layers heavy so that I can later sand them down without getting to the wood, and the final coats I’ll apply thin, to make it easier to keep them flat and not wavy. finish with buffing the finish with either steel wool, or brown paper bags.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3001 days

#2 posted 06-01-2010 04:38 PM

If your looking to improve your finishing get Charles Neil “Finishing a-z beyond the books” and Now “It’s all about color” These two DVD sets will shoot you light years ahead of self experimenting with finishing.

-- Custom furniture

View mrg's profile


655 posts in 2423 days

#3 posted 06-01-2010 11:36 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

Purplev should I wet sand or dry sand. What grit do you use? I was thinking 200 – 300 between coats and Then say 300 to 400 for final?

-- mrg

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