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Thistle 1040 - Varnish lessons and a product I don't like

By Thistle1040 - Posted on 28 April 2012

Thistle gratingsI am varnishing the gratings before I install them. I hand selected different mahogany boards for their color. The small pieces have nice red ribbons of color running through them and I expect them to turn more red over the years. The wider pieces are a traditional blond shade of mahogany that is a nice light brown. I wanted to be sure these colors would be enhanced by the varnish I was using but I also have an interest in trying products that clean up with water so I tried a new one from Varathane this time.

I coated the gratings with Progressive Low-V epoxy to seal them and after sanding, applied a few coats of Varathane Spar Urethane. The epoxy was pretty clear and the colors came through fine but after two coats of the urethane, all of the warmth went away and the gratings turned a sickly shade of ugly. It's as if someone de-saturated the colors and turned them all off. I tried a sample of the same wood with just normal varnish and it looked warm and the colors came through fine.West Marine Admiral's Varnish

I ended up sanding all the urethane off and starting all over again. This time I used my favorite varnish which comes from West Marine. It's called Admiral's Varnish. It goes on easy, looks great and makes even a clutz like me look like I'm a fine woodworker. And, best of all, those colors in the mahogany now look great.

So, I'll stick with the tried and true here.

Here's the stuff I'll never buy again. I'm still amazed at how it turned off the color in the wood.


Best Marine Epoxy

My favorite epoxy? Progressive Basic No-Blush Epoxy

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