One of the most important parts of varnishing is the preparation that is done between coats. This is something that should be done between every single coat on the very best work for the very best results but as you will see this will add considerably to the time taken to do the work so most people simply do not bother with all the stages or skip de nibbing (rubbing down) between some of the coats. Here is a sequence showing the stages I go through which for Felix's canoe takes around three hours and don't forget that doesn't include the time to apply the varnish itself.
I begin by sanding between the ribs on the inside of the hull. Don't forget there are around 120 of these!
Luckily this is not a heavy sand just a light rub to key the surface and remove any runs or dust in the coating.
Next I repeat the process without my sanding block lightly rubbing down the ribs themselves. You don't need to be too vigorous as you will only end up snagging paper on the tacks and you don't want to rub the ends of them away.
Next there are some areas at each end that couldn't quite be reached with the sanding block so I do these with just a folded piece of abrasive paper making sure I reach all corners.
Then its time to vacuum the dust away. I start just inside the decks leaving the ends till last and just using the hoover and brush to begin with.
Then I tackle the ends by brushing the dust down into the hoover nozzle.
Then the hull can be turned over and the outside de nibbed. First with a block
and then with a scotch brite pad.
The next stage is to vacuum the outside.
Now just when you thought it was over... you have the decks to sand
and then the outside is wiped clean of any last vestige of dust using a damp paper towel or rag.
The hull is turned back over and then I wipe the inside too turning the damp rag often to keep it picking up and not putting down the dust.
She is now ready for another coat of varnish but I am leaving her to dry overnight which will also give any dust a chance to settle before I wipe her over with a tack rag and apply varnish tomorrow.