How many coats for varnish do I need?

Not My Real Name

Not Actually Me
42,894
2,739
My varnish guy keeps buying Epifanes by the gallon for the work on my Hinckley Sou'wester 52. He says he needs to put seven coats on to make it look right. I'm not sure that he's being a bit profligate in his varnish use.

How many gallons of varnish can I expect to go through annually on a boat this size?

 

mikewof

mikewof
44,151
1,021
Rule of thumb, take the number of children in his family, and apply the square root. Multiply by 2.3 for the thinnest possible protective layer, and multiply by 203 for the correct number of gallons of varnish so that your varnish guy can support his kids with the youthful optimism that they deserve from you.

So for a family of five, the minimum would be 5 gallons and the correct amount so that you don't need to lose sleep for what you would otherwise do to the children of your varnish guy would be 454 gallons.
 

SloopJonB

Super Anarchist
65,895
10,949
Great Wet North
7 coats on exterior wood is a bit light IME - 8 to 10 will last better - one more coat annually in northern climes.

That's why I don't use it anymore - bare scrubbed is the look I prefer now.
 

Mrleft8

Super Anarchist
25,133
3,226
Suwanee River
Epifanes is useless. Like wise Interlux.
I use 1 coat of Zinsser Bullseye shellac thinned 50/50. Then scuff sand with 320 grit paper. Then a coat of shellac thinned 75/25. Scuff sanded with 320 grit paper. Then let it sit over night. NEXT MORNING. wipe it down with pure gum turpentine. NOT paint thinner.
Then apply a coat of Benjamin Moore 440 spar varnish thinned 50/50 with pure gum turpentine. Let it sit over night.
Next day scuff sand with 400 grit paper, and wipe it down with turpentine. let it dry. Apply a coat of Benjamin Moore 440 spar varnish straight out of the can (strained, of course). On low traffic areas (transoms etc.) this is all you need. For high traffic areas (Tillers, etc.) a second coat of the 50/50 varnish/turpentine before the top coat is a good idea.
 

Gouvernail

Lottsa people don’t know I’m famous
37,359
5,065
Austin Texas
My varnish guy keeps buying Epifanes by the gallon for the work on my Hinckley Sou'wester 52. He says he needs to put seven coats on to make it look right. I'm not sure that he's being a bit profligate in his varnish use.

How many gallons of varnish can I expect to go through annually on a boat this size?
All you can afford plus a couple
 

d'ranger

Super Anarchist
28,769
4,043
A friend bought a neglected I/P last year - the local gurus did a primer and 7 coats of Awlwood. A year later still looks like new minus the dings and scratches - it's my understanding that a light sanding and another coat is all that is needed at most once a year.
 
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