September 24, 2017 at 9:15 am #1333
We are building in our small townhouse garage. It will be 89 F today which is above the 80F max range for varnishing but when we build we open our garage door to the house and blow air in which usually keeps things around 73F.
However to varnish we have to open the garage enough to put a box fan and some plastic over the bottom of the garage and reduce the fan blowing in. I would guess that the temperature will probably start around 75 but reach around 85 F while we roll and tip the varnish. Will this be a big issue if the surface is cooler and the temperature rises and it not a steady 85 F? Should we put it off until the temperature drops again?September 24, 2017 at 12:24 pm #1335
I think I understand your setup. so, let me suggest what I think I would do.
first, make sure you have a GOOD face mask/respirator with charcoal canisters, not dust filters. I bought a mid-priced 3M model that has interchangeable dust filters and carbon canisters.
could you leave the door open from your garage to your house overnight, to get the temp in the garage as low as possible? IIRC, it took me about an hour to varnish (roll and tip) the entire outside of the cabin. so, if you could start first thing in the morning, you would close the door to your house, keep the garage door closed, and hope the temp doesn’t get above 80 in an hour. you’ll be wearing your vapor mask, so working in a closed garage for an hour is no health hazard for you (assuming your mask is intact, and you can’t smell the varnish when you’re wearing it). I happen to have a small window AC in my workshop, and I didn’t open the garage door until I was done varnishing. then it airs out pretty quickly.
to be doubly safe, although I doubt there is enough vapor in the amount of varnish you’ll use for each coat, I would make sure there are no sources of ignition in your garage during the hour you’re varnishing.
you didn’t ask for varnish technique advice, but I’ll offer what I learned.
I wasn’t happy with the results from using a foam brush for tipping as suggested in the hymnal. I did some reading and learned that I should use a badger-hair brush for tipping. turns out these are as rare in retail stores as are badgers themselves. supposedly an alternate is a “china bristle” brush, which is boar hair that is specially trimmed to simulate the softness of a badger brush. first try with a Wooster brand china bristle from HD was unsucessful. the bristles were too firm and left brush marks. second try was to go to a sherwin Williams store where I found a “badger” brush, Red Tree brand, that was not really badger hair, but was china bristle that was supposedly as soft as a badger brush, and the tip was properly trimmed/beveled to use for tipping. I was very happy with the result. if you have enough lead time, you might find a genuine badger brush online. finally, I discovered that Home Depot has Wooster 1/8″nap 7″ roller covers via ship to store.
they are in pkg of 2, for $2.34 per package. my local woodcrafters charges 11.99 for a package of 3!
kenSeptember 24, 2017 at 2:47 pm #1337
<p style=”text-align: left;”>All great advice and much appreciated!! I think we’ll dash out to Sherwin Williams this afternoon.</p>September 24, 2017 at 2:53 pm #1338
That is very helpful as we were just going to use foam brushes! We have already painted the bottom and found with the garage door closed and door leading to the townhouse closed, the VOC’s were too much, but with the garage door cracked open to allow a box fan to expel air, it was much much more manageable, meaning we didn’t smell it with charcoal respirators on. I think we have decided on waiting until the temp hit 75 later this week and avoid the days of 85+temps. As much as we want to get it done, there is just more of a chance for things to go wrong. We are going to dry fit the liner and clean like crazy. I think someone mentioned, in the Southern Maryland TD build that they took things out of the garage to eliminate dust. We will also leave the door open the night before we do it to keep the garage cool. Thank you for the tips faithie999!September 24, 2017 at 3:37 pm #1339
My workshop has so much stuff in it I decided to forgo the attempt at eliminating sources of dust. While the varnish was wet I took care not disturb anything that might generate dust. I believe that worked well.
i forgot to mention the other thing I learned while varnishing. The hymnal suggests (IIRC) sanding with 320 grit between varnish coats and then wet sanding by hand with 400 before the finish coat. Long story short, after some experimentation I decided to use the scotch pads that the materials list suggested buying. It did a great job of knocking down the tiny bumps left after varnishing, that the tipping is supposed to knock down but may not have been completely knocked down. Also the scotch pad gives the surface some tooth for the next layer to adhere to.September 24, 2017 at 10:51 pm #1340
Just want to make sure, are these the green scotch pads? I’m assuming they aren’t the blue anti scratch ones as the point of using them is to give them some teeth!September 25, 2017 at 11:03 am #1342
I used Scotch/3M “hand pads” #07447. they are about $21 per box of 20 on amazon and prime eligibile for 2-day shipping. they are fairly large. I folded them in two, so that I had 4 uses per pad. they load up with dust fairly quickly, but since they were cheap I didn’t try to clean them. just flipped them over, then after the second side, folded them the other way for 2 more uses.September 25, 2017 at 11:47 am #1344
Everything I learned about varnishing was from the manual, YouTube videos, and Ken (faithie999) so your mileage may vary. I completed varnishing all inside surfaces and my galley module but I haven’t done the outer cabin yet. I used a 4″ foam roller to apply, a brush to tip (see below), and a foam brush to apply varnish in nooks and crannies (then tipped with the brush).
I couldn’t find the brush Ken recommended so I went with a Purdy Syntox brush which is a combination of Chinex/Nylon bristles. Lowes stocks it next to the varnish and poly, not with the normal paint brushes. However I’ve since seen Red Tree brushes on Amazon if you have the time to order. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Purdy-Syntox-Nylon-Flat-Sash-Paint-Brush-Common-2-in-Actual-2-in/999972050
I already had a set of foam rollers that I’ve been using and I’m incredibly happy with them. I wish I had them when I was doing the epoxy work. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B005MI3RX2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The 3M pads the manual (and Ken) recommends: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002SQYF0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
When I varnished the galley module I only used a vacuum and then denatured alcohol to clean it up but I got a lot of bumps in the finish. I then purchased some tack cloths and I think it makes a huge difference. For about $1 each from HD or online, they are totally worth it. I get about 2 uses out of one before I toss it. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CINDQS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Another tip from Ken is to put plastic wrap in the can up against the top surface of the varnish when you’re done for the day. Otherwise you get a thick skin on top (like pudding) that is just wasted varnish. When pouring the varnish out into a disposable 4″ roller pan I run it through the cheap mesh paint strainers you can get near the paint sprayers at a big box store. They run about 3 for a $1.
From a temperature point of view, I found that if my shop was hot, everything worked fine but the varnish would get tacky really quickly so it was hard to maintain a wet edge. I would recommend rolling and tipping in very small areas so you can tip before it gets tacky and maintain the wet edge. More than a couple square feet before tipping and you’re going to run into problems with brush or start/stop marks.
Like Ken, I wasn’t willing to empty my garage or shop to clean it. I vacuumed the floors and any top surfaces I could get to. I also try not to sand and varnish on the same day. My routine is usually sand, vacuum, alcohol wipe down. Next day, tack cloth, varnish. Repeat. That gives a day for dust blown around from sanding and vacuuming to settle and the tack cloth picks it up quickly. So far I don’t feel like I’ve had a huge issue with dust in the finish but I have strategically allowed hundreds of spiders to form natural dust control webs around my shop.
Being a guy with hairy arms I also wear a clean long sleeve shirt which I feel like helps keep down the stray hairs especially when I accidentally bump a tacky varnished surface. If it fit with the respirator I might consider a beard net too.
Overall I’m actually enjoying the varnishing process. It might be the fumes getting to my head but I find it much easier to work with than epoxy and the immediate change from dull, gray, sanded epoxy to beautiful glossy wood is very rewarding.
-mikeSeptember 26, 2017 at 7:02 am #1345
All great advice!! We definitely have the wrong scotch brite pads. We need to run down to clc for another can or two of varnish anyway. Would their stop loss kit be better than plastic wrap in the can?September 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm #1346
I haven’t tried the stop loss kit but that seems like it would do the job. Basically you have to try to keep the varnish oxygen free when not using it. I read a bunch of other techniques online like blowing into the can before closing it, using can of compressed air/duster, using gallon freezer bags, etc. The stop loss kit looks like a professional (and less messy) version of freezer bags. Maybe if I have to order another can of varnish I’ll pickup the kit and give it a try.
-mikeSeptember 26, 2017 at 4:54 pm #1347
commcoy–if clc doesn’t stock the 3m 07447 maroon pads, it appears that advance auto parts carries them, and you can ck their website to see if your local store has them in stock for 1.59 each. Grainger also stocks them but in my experience sometimes they don’t like to sell at retail, if you don’t have an account.September 27, 2017 at 3:13 pm #1348
CLC doesn’t carry the pads and it looks like our advance auto parts has them AND is much closer than HD! We did end up getting the stop loss kit, mainly because we had a coupon on top of our 2 cans of varnish. Varnishing starts tomorrow morning so we will let everyone know how the stop loss kit works out. Thank you for all of the advice, I have been watching varnishing videos in my spare time lol!September 28, 2017 at 7:10 pm #1351
I opened my half can of varnish that I sealed with a crude CO2 purge about 5 days ago. Barely any sign of skinning over. So anyone with beer on tap may want to try that. If you don’t keg, and only have bottles or cans, just drink those while filtering the varnish!September 28, 2017 at 8:02 pm #1352
Stop-loss kit was VERY useful.
- It fits the quart perfectly
- You can pour out exactly what you need with virtually no mess.
- I was able to keep the roller fairly dry by putting a few tablespoons in the tray at a time
- I am sure we used ½ the varnish amount we would have as pouring over the can edge I would have put much more in the tray and struggled with dipping too much and having lots of leftovers.
- When finished it only took a few seconds to squeeze the air out and cap the bottle for hopefully a perfect preservation
- I think we have enough left for coat 2 from the first can.
I highly recommend the stop-loss bags/kit.
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