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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can Spar Varnish be thinned without changing its basic charecteristics? If so with what??
 

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Spar varnish is an oil based product. I would cut it with mineral spirits.

I have cut spar spar polyurethane with min spirits at a 50/50 mix and applied with a cotton rag as a wiping varnish. Several coats make for a nice finish that doesn't look like a plastic coating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I use spar varnish on my sticks straight from the can with no difficulties. I have a little in a needle tipped bottle that I use for fly tying. The little bottle after a few months begins to thicken.

Ill give the mineral spirits a try
 

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I've been reading a good deal about spar varnish (oil-based), on several woodworking forums. I recently made a geologist's stick of sorts using a 36" hickory sledge hammer handle from the hardware store. The piece deserved a more formal treatment than the 100% tung oil and Danish oil finishes that I've hand rubbed.

Because of those woodworking forum recommendations, I cut the varnish with mineral spirits as described by MJC4. Supposedly that improves the penetration and effectively seals the wood. Then I lightly scuffed up with 400 grit sandpaper, cleaned, and applied a second coat of varnish. I plan on applying at least several more coats.

I have one concern. According to one website, the satin varnish like I used can become blurry or somehow make the wood grain less visible with numerous coats. I fear that I should perhaps apply a few coats of high gloss prior to a final application of satin varnish.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

Bottle Beer Product Beverage can Fluid
 

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A somewhat related subject is the application of oil-based varnish over other finishes like tung oil and Danish oil. I read that this is fine, so long as the tung oil or Danish oil is thoroughly cured.

My wife didn't like the very dull 100% tung oil finish on her stick as much as those I had finished with Danish oil. Her stick had been completed for a year, so I cleaned it thoroughly and applied Danish oil over the tung oil, and it worked just fine. Now her stick has a slight sheen, and she likes it.

I'm considering taking an old stick finished with tung oil and varnishing over it, just to see how it turns out.
 

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I prefer to buy gloss over satin these days. I get the satin sheen by going over the finish with 0000 steel wool and paste wax followed by buffing with a soft rag.

You get a nice satiny sheen and a good feel to the hand that way.

If you have doubts about compatibility between finishes you can seal with a coat of shellac then apply your other finish. Shellac works with pretty much everything.

Rodney
 

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I have used spar varnish on sticks for over 20 years. As discribed by MJC4 I do the first coat with a 50/50 thinned mix. Then one or two thin coats at full stringth. All oil base finishes will darken the wood but I have never noted the satin finish blurring. It is a softer look and the grain is not as evident as it is with the high gloss. I fallow the same process with the water based spar urathain also. But for a real show piece I will most often use Tung oil. It is just my favoret look.
 

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I've also thinned with 50/50 min spirits or paint thinner on spar.
I hate to sound like a broken record but have any of you guys tried putting the tung oil finishes on your sticks, waiting as per instructions then burnishing it at a rate of speed with say a paper bag instead of wiping oil off with a cloth? I'm quite happy with the shine it gives and it dries fast. All of about 3 coats is all you need.
 

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I've also thinned with 50/50 min spirits or paint thinner on spar.
I hate to sound like a broken record but have any of you guys tried putting the tung oil finishes on your sticks, waiting as per instructions then burnishing it at a rate of speed with say a paper bag instead of wiping oil off with a cloth? I'm quite happy with the shine it gives and it dries fast. All of about 3 coats is all you need.
Tung oil is my favorite finish on almost any wood project. As I said for a cane or stick I want to be special I use !00% tung oil or marine tung oil. The are more work and drying time can very a lot depending on humidity and temperature. The higher grade tung oils are expensive. I do not use them all the time. It will darken you wood and it can darken more over time.
 

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I have heard experts say, instead of using satin varnish, to use gloss varnish and then rub it down with steel wool for the very reason being discussed. Satin varnish has a pigment added to make it that way, and it dulls the grain if you put very much on.
 

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I now have a can of high gloss for comparison, and a stick that was finished with 100% tung oil two years ago to use it on when the weather is warmer.

I found this article interesting. Some opinions and statements differ from those of other experts, but I saved the article.

http://www.woodcentral.com/russ/finish7.shtml
 
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