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Low Spots in Finish

One part science, five parts experimentation. Every wood boat veteran has their secret recipe for a showy finish. Share your trials and triumphs.

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Low Spots in Finish

Post by cewplatt » Mon May 16, 2011 11:20 pm

Unfortunately, while refinishing my hull, I put in several low spots while sanding out a few gouges. After eight coats of varnish, I'm overall disappointed with the results thus far. I estimate the deepest low spot is about 1/64". Will these evetually get leveled out or is this a lost cause and I should start over? This is a family boat and not intended to win shows.


C. Platt
CC 22' Sportsman

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Al Benton
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Post by Al Benton » Mon May 16, 2011 11:53 pm


It's an unfortunate goof for sure. I did the same thing the first time I tried refinishing the cover boards on my cruiser while using an orbital sander. Some low spots were worn in the wood surface around the fuel filler cap that couldn't be detected until the surface had several coats of varnish and was reflective. Then they showed up like a sour thumb, not a pleasant discovery when you're that far along.

I lived with them for years but eventually stripped the finish, faired the wood down until it was as flat as I thought I could get it. After staining and varnishing the area it's better now but still not perfect. I don't think others know it's there but I can still see where I messed up.

The reflection on the varnish surface is what makes them visible. It may be possible to level the varnish in those dips by using a block when sanding over them, thus, not sanding the dipped surface. This may allow the varnish to build up and fill them.


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Post by RRGadow » Tue May 17, 2011 9:47 am

I had a few spots like can spot varnish and sand on the particular area until it levels up. Then go back to blocking and varnishing the rest of the area to feather in the repair.

Varnish addiction.

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Post by cewplatt » Fri May 20, 2011 8:12 am

Thanks for the information. I've decided to take the finish off using a block sanding only to get the hull fair figuring the best things in life are those you work the hardest for.


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