Boat Painting and Varnishing Tips with Bob Emser

In today’s featured video, Bob Emser of The Art of Boat Building takes us on a journey through the final steps of creating an exceptional finish on Victoria’s hull. From the application of TotalProtect Primer and Krypton Bottom Paint, to the art of achieving a mirror-like transom with Lust Marine Varnish.  

As you may know by now, Bob has been working on the build of the 9” tender, Victoria, for her mother ship, Arabella.  With less than a month until launch day, you can catch up on Arabella’s progress over on their channel, Acorn to Arabella.  Bob finished off the last video by applying a coat of TotalProtect Epoxy Barrier Coat Primer to the hull.  In this episode, he does another two coats of the primer, a total of 11 coats of Lust Marine Varnish to the transom and two coats of Krypton Copper-Free Antifouling Bottom Paint

Bob decided to use Lust Varnish to finish the transom for a few different reasons. The warm amber color enhances the wood grain with each coat, the fact that you can build up coats and recoat in one hour's time, and its excellent durability and UV protection.  After thinning the varnish with Special Brushing Thinner 100, it was time to start varnishing.  He applied it with a foam brush in thin, even layers.  In between the coats of varnish, he shared a helpful tip of using a single edge razor blade, going back and forth hitting all the high spots.  As Bob demonstrates his technique, you can see how it makes a glass-like surface. Bob’s attention to detail and his tips on proper application techniques will undoubtedly inspire boat enthusiasts to elevate their own varnishing projects.  

Beyond his expertise in varnishing techniques, Bob takes a moment to delve into the fundamentals of boat painting. He emphasizes the importance of selecting the right paint for the boat’s exterior, going over the different options.  For this project, he decides to use Krypton Copper-Free Antifouling Bottom paint for many reasons, but mainly because this tender could be in the water for weeks or even months at a time.  He uses a foam roller to apply the paint to the hull, and a high quality bristle brush for the tighter areas. There are so many helpful tips Bob shares with us, from shaking the paint cans, to his application methods.  Once the hull was painted, Bob and his friend, Steve, get Victoria flipped over.  Be sure to stick to the end to see the making of a retractable rudder! 

Bob’s passion for boat building and his dedication to achieving a flawless finish are truly inspiring.  Be sure to subscribe to Bob’s channel where he generously shares his wealth of knowledge, empowering boat enthusiasts to take their projects to new heights. So grab your brushes and embark on your own boat project journey, guided by the techniques of Bob Emser!  And don’t forget to follow along with the build of Victoria’s mothership, Arabella, over on the channel, Acorn to Arabella, as the team over there is finishing the build and getting ready for her launch on June 17, 2023 at Mattapoisett’s Shipyard Park in Mattapoisett, MA at 10am est.

1 comment

Thanks for the great razor-blade idea!

I understand that desirable varnish consistencies vary (e.g. a really thin initial coat to soak into the grain), but what is the point of making it thicker than anyone could ever use? Why not thin it to the thickest practical consistency (which customers could thin further if they want, while still having a product that’s usable out of the can)? I thought of this when I first started watching, and their varnish approach makes even less sense when Bob explained that they sell their paint the logical way.


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