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Old 06-28-2017, 06:33 AM   #1
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Varnish flex?

Going to varnish new mahogany name boards and have a concern in that the transom board will be new and straight. However, when I install it will have to follow a bit of a curve on the transom. Not sure how much but think about 1/2" to 1" from center on each end of a 55" long board. I can finish the boards but install will then stretch the varnish on top, bunch it underneath. I don't want to start Varnish Wars Chapter 103 but is there one varnish or a particular type (i.e. high oil content, etc) that would stand up to this or am I just overthinking it and any will do fine? I thought about bending the board and varnishing it with the curve but that would seem to be a pain.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:02 AM   #2
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Yes high oil content. But it's hard to know by looking at the can. In years past they were required to list the contents so one could shop smart.

My usual varnish is McCloskey marine Spar Varnish. I know it is soft and that soft gets you flexible. We switched to another product because it was IMO too easy to scuff the cap rail swing'in legs over the rail getting aboard at the cockpit. But after trying several other products (one that was recomended by Fisheries Supply (System Three)) and even raw linseed oil we went back to McCloskeys. Other varnishes like Schooner, Epipfanes etc are oil but don't know the soft/hard component. Epiphanes is a great varnish but it's definitely harder and less flexable than McCloskeys. Finishing a table I'd definitely pass on McCloskeys and use Epiphanes. Both products have very high UV protection.

In sumary I think both Epiphanies and McCloskeys have enough flexibility for your transom board but McCloskies has more. Both brush beautifully and have high build.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:05 AM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. fb. How about giving your transom board all but 2 final coats, mount the board then finish off? Pre-apply all coats on the backside first. Just a thought...
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:33 AM   #4
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Eventually you will be adding more coats to the transom board after install. You might as well get used to a method now . Just saying .But maybe a thin coat first . If you are using any caulk on install a thin coat will help in cleaning caulk from grain .
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Greetings,
Mr. fb. How about giving your transom board all but 2 final coats, mount the board then finish off? Pre-apply all coats on the backside first. Just a thought...
Are you saying to apply all coats on the back, then mount and finish front with final two? Would coating the varnish that was stretched help protect it? My plan was to use two coast of penetrating epoxy then varnish. Wasn't sure if coating the back with multiple coats and then flipping and doing the front is proper in that I would have overlapping coats so to speak. Would that matter?
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Old 06-28-2017, 10:11 AM   #6
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A standard "primer" for oil based varnish is highly thined coats less and less thinned until 100% varnish is applied. Like 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% ... or whatever suits your agenda.

I use kerosene for maximum penetration and mixed w Tung or Linseed oil the kerosene will drive the oil into the wood. Wood boatbuilders used to use kerosene in the bilges of new boats. As per R Culler ... one of the most respected writers on wood boats. Kerosene was also used to aid steam bending. The drill is to soak in kerosene and then steam. One could soak in kerosene and then varnish.
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Old 06-28-2017, 10:47 AM   #7
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Greetings,
Mr. fb. "...or am I just overthinking it..." Probably. My suggestion to leave the last 2 coats until after mounting was that IF the varnish DID develop "micro cracks" the final coats should seal them. In other words, I have no idea. What's the worst that could happen? You have to re-do them 2 or 3 years down the road?
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:03 PM   #8
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Nope, the worst thing that could happen is that I start this thread and get some quality answers and then go to the boat to look closer. While looking closer I find that the PO had placed (well hidden) shims underneath the transom board about a third of the way in on each end so the current board isn't even bending a little and there is no reason for my new one to bend either.

Or that may be the best thing to happen. Not sure. Duh.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:20 PM   #9
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Nope, the worst thing that could happen is that I start this thread and get some quality answers and then go to the boat to look closer. While looking closer I find that the PO had placed (well hidden) shims underneath the transom board about a third of the way in on each end so the current board isn't even bending a little and there is no reason for my new one to bend either.

Or that may be the best thing to happen. Not sure. Duh.
I always shimmed the name board on the transom of GBs and other boats with curved transoms.

Not so much to straighten out the board, as I never had a problem with the finish cracking from flexing, but to keep a little air space between the board and the transom.

It keeps water and dirt from collecting between the name board and transom.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:04 PM   #10
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I was going to put nylon washers behind the screws to give some air space but looks like no need. The spacers appear to be Starboard or similar so will keep them in place. My boards will go out a few inches longer but will probably keep the screws right where they are depending on where they line up with the lettering. No I have to figure out whether or not to put base coats of penetrating epoxy or, as suggested above, thinned out varnish on it first and then gold leaf or gold leaf straight on the wood with varnish over. I think when it comes to varnish, wood, paint/gold leaf, there are as many suggestions and ways to do it as their are transom boards!

Wonder if Starboard floats...? You KNOW where at least one spacer is going when I unscrew the board right?
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:24 PM   #11
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For transom name board I prefer to go with epoxy and Awlgrip.

If you have a wooden varnished transom I highly recommend a transom cover.
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:25 PM   #12
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I remove my boards to refinish them.
I suggest using a sealant where the fixing screws penetrate the transom, and under the screwheads. Something to prevent water wicking down the screws but still removable for the next refinish.I use a wood colored caulk.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
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For transom name board I prefer to go with epoxy and Awlgrip.

If you have a wooden varnished transom I highly recommend a transom cover.
Going to finish it natural wood. I do have a transom cover as well as transon name board cover. This boat came with so many covers I think I have some covers for the covers. That's a good thing at this point. However, seems like when cruising all of these covers would take up a lot of space. Most likely the desire to put them on would wain as well. Takes quite some time to put them all on...most of the time we leave quite a few on. But I digress.....!
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:19 PM   #14
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I remove my boards to refinish them.
I suggest using a sealant where the fixing screws penetrate the transom, and under the screwheads. Something to prevent water wicking down the screws but still removable for the next refinish.I use a wood colored caulk.
Have put some logos on the sides of the boat and used 4200 in the screw holes and under the heads although they are bronze. I would think that is a reasonable approach. I would think that removing them for refinishing would be best.

Thanks to everyone for the comments...
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Old 06-30-2017, 03:34 AM   #15
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I built stand offs that are through bolted to the hull. The name board isn't bent, it is flat so no stress on the coatings. The transom behind the boards can be kept clean. The boards can be removed and laid flat for repainting and varnish.
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Old 06-30-2017, 05:47 AM   #16
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Very nice McGillicuddy!
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Old 06-30-2017, 07:25 AM   #17
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Yes, very nice! Mine are slimmer and match the hull color pretty closely and I just didn't notice them. Although looking at them now not sure why. You say your spacers are bolted to the hull. Do the screws holding the name board go into the spacer only or all the way through to the hull?

Also, was the board primed with epoxy or thinned varnish first and then the paint applied with varnish over all or did you finish the board and then apply the paint?
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:22 PM   #18
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Varnish flex?

Mr FP
The spacers have a drilled hole in the center and the bolts pass through them and in to the transom. The transom is double walled so I installed a small round hatch with a cover inside the cockpit that is just large enough to get my hand inside with a wrench to install the nuts onto the bolts.
The entire board was varnished before the addition of the paint.
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Old 07-26-2018, 07:13 PM   #19
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All's well that (finally) ends well. Here is the finished product after two coats of Smiths, 5 coats of Epifanes and one of Mr RTF's suggested two final coats. Difference in color is just lighting as all are the same in person. Yes this took a year. Yes it was a pain. Yes it took 3 attempts and 11 books of gold leaf when it should have taken 1 attempt and about 2 books of leaf. Yes my wife now has mad gold leaf skills where before she had none!
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Old 07-26-2018, 07:41 PM   #20
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Not my intend to be picky and no criticism there as this is really very nice but why not to have used brass screws and washers instead of ss screws?

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