Building the TotalBoat Sport Dory: Episode 35 – Varnishing

With only a few steps remaining, today Lou applies TotalBoat Wood Sealer and Gleam 2.0 varnish to the guards of the TotalBoat Sport Dory. Lou has suspended the boat upside down so that he doesn’t have to fight drips and drops on the interior wood of the dory, which he plans to oil, and not varnish. But today he’s sealing up the transom and guards and after a few nice coats of varnish, he’ll have another Louis Sauzedde “one-off” boat that is ready to hit the water.

With only a few steps remaining in the build of the dory, it’s a great time to go back and binge-watch the whole series to really see the boat come together. You can catch the whole playlist right here – and you can roll through all 35 episodes in succession. Enjoy the build now because Louis is getting ready to splash and you won’t want to miss that!  Stay tuned!


7 responses to “Building the TotalBoat Sport Dory: Episode 35 – Varnishing

  1. Lou is a true craftsman. Beautiful work. Jamestown Distributor makes the best products! I have used Captain’s Varnish on 2 projects. Love it!

  2. “I’m not a professional painter.” LOL..
    Everything I know about varnish I learned from you.
    I swear by the wood sealer. I recently ordered my first can of the JD TotalBoat sealer and I’m very happy with it. It is critical to getting a beautiful finish with the varnish and the varnish applies SO much easier over the top of it. I’m surprised you didn’t use the red scuff pads, but maybe it’s not needed with new wood. I make a point of doing that.
    Patience and preparation is the key. Then use only the best products.

  3. Hey Lou,
    Certainly enjoying this series and your varnish job looks fantastic but I have a quick question. ‘Old Salts’ that I’ve talked have told me to get a good varnish job you have to sand and sand using at least 400 grit and maybe getting down to 600, 800 grit. In your opinion, is this a waste of time (and paper) as your job looks great yet you only get down to 220?

  4. I have been varnishing boats for 50 years,and do not own any sandpaper less than 150 grit. I guess if you are being paid $100.00 per hour you may want to sand to 1000 grit. Finer than 150 grit is a waste of time.,paper and money. Wooden boat work is not that artsy crafty. the reason for sanding is to make the next coat stick. Finer than 150 may just give the opposite effect. Just get er done

    I Have been restoring wooden boats for 50 years,including some of the finest afloat. my present project is The Concordia motor sailor,written up in WB save a classic. I do not own any sandpaper finer than 150 grit. Any thing less is a waste of time and money. the purpose of sanding between coats is to insure that the next coat sticks.Finer paper may just have the opposite effect. Boats are more work and less artsy crafty. Get er done.


  5. I would have done the varnish work before installing the wood,and touched it up later. Too old to turn 150 lb boat up side down.

  6. Please comment some about the procedures you use Lou between varnish coats – especially regarding types of cleaners or thinners or solvents used on brushes you reuse. For example, on some oars I was varnishing, I thought they were all the same, and had a heck of a time getting varnish coats to sand and dry properly.

  7. Lou: Your reference to “In the Lee of the Longboat” was not lost on this end. Used to be a favourite column in Yachting. Still recall the artwork of the three tars sitting there – one making a point with his pipe stem if I recall correctly. Thanks for the “memory stir”.

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