The next day was spent doing just that, staining. I felt like the Karate Kid, "Wax on, Wax off." A whole day of it. It is pretty simple, apply a hearty amount of stain to the wood, let sit and wipe it off when it has absorbed to the desired color. It is just a messy job, and the stain then has to dry overnight, so you really don't know what the finished product even looks like until morning.
We are now into day three. We liked the color, and are planning on 10-12 coats of varnish before we are done. With tack rags in hand, we started the first coat. The first coat is a tricky one. When varnishing stained wood there really is not a good sealer that you can use without making the stain look blotchy, so we have found that you mix the varnish with 25% brushing thinner. The issue comes from the varnish being very thin, but it's just the first coat, so a light coat is okay. Day 4 we sanded lightly with 320 grit sand paper, wiped the entire boat down with paint thinner and applied coat number two. We repeated these steps on day 5 and day 6. This is what the wood looked like after 4 coats.Just after we left when finishing the forth coat, our janitorial crew came in to sweep out the shop for the following week. As you can tell from these pictures, they stirred up a ton of dust. Dust is not a friend when you are varnishing........
Coats 2,3 and 4 are pretty thick and it is time to plane down the varnish. We do this by sanding again with 320 grit sand paper. This time concentrating on making it fair and flat. Most of the wood grain is filled, and the remaining coats will continue to build in thickness. We cut and strip the tape. Re-Tape the entire boat again, moving the tape to the outside edge of the caulking around the deck. This will help seal the king plank and margin boards from any water sneaking through at the caulking joint. Day 7 and 8 were spent finishing all of this up.
Day 9 started with wiping down the entire boat with paint thinner and ended with applying coat 5. From coat 5 on, we let each new coat of varnish cure for two days in between. It has been cold and damp for the most part, and it is better safe then sorry. Day 10 we stayed busy working on other parts of the boat. Day 11 we sanded and applied coat 6. This was the schedule up to day 15 when we applied coat 8. These pictures were taken just after finishing coat 8.
This is were we are currently. We will stop varnishing for a few days, letting the varnish cure and move our efforts to re-finishing the cabin top, putting the phenolic on top of the cockpit combing, and polishing out the hull. I figure if we have any mishaps while these projects are being completed we still have at least 2 coats to go, to fix them.