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Old 24-03-2019, 08:45   #1
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varnish removal advice

ok issue with varnish removal. drop boards for cabin have slats (luckily they go all the way through) but the little side edges are a bugger and I am having a real hard time removing the old varnish. Tips?
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Old 24-03-2019, 09:25   #2
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Re: varnish removal advice

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Originally Posted by brookiesailor View Post
ok issue with varnish removal. drop boards for cabin have slats (luckily they go all the way through) but the little side edges are a bugger and I am having a real hard time removing the old varnish. Tips?
These have worked well for my vessel
There are shapes that work in tight spots.
amazon sandvic scrapers
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Old 24-03-2019, 10:25   #3
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Re: varnish removal advice

Sanding sponges in various shapes and thickness are pretty handy, still labor intensive but easier.
https://www.walmart.com/tp/sanding-sponges
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Old 24-03-2019, 10:39   #4
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Re: varnish removal advice

maybe I will try that. right now it is its pieces of sand paper and a screwdriver for pressure
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Old 24-03-2019, 10:41   #5
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Re: varnish removal advice

Iím a believer in getting all the varnish off with out sanding. Why take material (wood) off if you donít need to? I only sand to smooth before applying finish.

I would either go with a chemical stripper in the louvers and brush/scraper/rag or a heat gun and a scraper.
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Old 24-03-2019, 12:39   #6
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Re: varnish removal advice

I used a heat gun for 90 % of it. I wasn't able to get these little bits with it... I am totally with you on that.
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Old 24-03-2019, 22:24   #7
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Re: varnish removal advice

Hi, Brookie,

I've never actually done this, so it's only an idea to try. But we have lots of old toothbrushes, and I'd use the toothbrushes to apply the stripper, and rags to remove. It is my understanding that you can wash (plain water) the remains of the stripper away. Then, you'd have to wait for it to evaporate, then rinse with turps, on rags, till you're convinced all the old varnish is gone. If it looks okay, start building up your coats of varnish, but if not, repeat, till all the old varnish has been removed. It may want a light sanding, then wash with turps again, to remove all the sanding dust.

Follow the instructions with the varnish you have chosen. Practice on one of the solid boards, first, you want to learn how much varnish you want on your brush to get good coverage, but without sags. Some people thin the first coat a bit, and think of it as a sealing coat, not a proper varnish coat, just the beginning step for a protective buildup. Where your sag-free skills will come in handy is on those louvres: don't obsess about it, but every darn sag, you want to sand it out, so being sparing with the varnish will help over all.

Good luck with it. Some people come to enjoy varnishing, the finished product is so pretty, and the process, sort of meditative, it one is inclined that way. (I'm not, I'm afraid, and always want to rush things, so it's a case of do as i say, here, because taking the time and making the effort will really get you the best results.)

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Old 25-03-2019, 02:22   #8
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Re: varnish removal advice

Not suitable for the flat faces but it is a handy tip for getting into tight spots and especially curved faces. I used to be a gunsmith and to strip or shape stocks we would use an old hacksaw blade by grinding the non cutting edge on a grinder at a right angle across the blade. It left a sharp edge with a little burr. I'd use it as a scrapper as you could bend it to present a curved cutting edge to the work but you can grind it into any shape you need to suit the work.

To get a good finish sand down to 400 gritt then lightly wet the timber all over, the grain will feather, sand it smooth, wet, repeat until it doesn't feather then apply the stain or finish.
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