Boat Building Forum

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Re: Strip: Varnish - Gloss or Satin?

Gloss will show off any imperfections more than satin whether those imperfections are in the construction or in the working environment.

At the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in February, I was talking to the person from whom I buy my glass, epoxy and polyurethane. We were discussing the finish on my kayaks and agreed that while it is possible to get a gloss finish with his product, the slightly satin finish makes a lot of sense on a kayak.

His comment about the conditions in which a lot of his customers work sums up what I mean about a less than perfect working environment.

He said that trying to achieve a gloss finish is fine if you are working in perfect, dust free conditions, but it isn't a good idea if you are building your kayak in a chook shed while the chooks are still in residence. (I guess if he was American rather than Australian, he might have said "hen house".)

So it isn't just a case of personal preference. Your working conditions might mean that a gloss finish is just a way of giving you extra problems.