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Spar varnish

9/6/23       
Mark Johnson

I thought this section might be different from the others, but after trying to post, I realize I still have to check the "professional" box, which I'm not. Not knowing where else to ask, yet, I'll send this futile question into the ether, anyway. Bought a can of spar varnish, that was older (last one on the shelf at ACE, so....). I thought I stirred it well, but 1st coat just won't dry. Apparent progress turned out to be harder at night, then softening in heat. A test piece after extended mixing dried normally. Normally, I'd steel wool and second coat this top, wondering what options I've got. Could I consider the uncured varnish something that would kick off with a new, well-stirred coat, without buffing between? If I wait for weeks (already 2, some progress, but still slightly tacky), will it eventually cure? Should I hit it with paint thinner and scraper and try to get it down to something that'll dry? Chart cabinet destined for decorative, no real sweat about future weather. Thx.

9/9/23       #2: Spar varnish ...
BH Davis  Member

Website: http://www.bhdavis.net

You got the "professionals" notation because this is a forum for true professionals. A lot of detailed technique and business acumen is passed between members.

However your inquiry fits right in and there is no reason not to respond.

I'd pick up some Japan Drier. You can get that at most any paint store. Dampen a rag with it and lightly rub it over the existing finish. Try it first in an inconspicuous corner.

The softening problem you are having is common enough with old oil varnish. Mixing in a cap full of Japan Drier per gallon usually solves the problem. I have some decades old oil varnish that I keep around for an occasional small project. You can't get it any more and it was a good product. But........I don't use it for architectural items as it will soften in high heat just as you are experiencing.

BH Davis


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