Confined To Barracks - Week 2, Part 2


Mrs Storrar, she who casts her eye over my grammar, spelling and punctuation, before each 'boatie' blog is signed off on a Monday night, dropped a hint today. Seeing I was on a natural wood theme, perhaps it was time the two wooden fireplace surrounds in our house, which were looking a little shabby, got some attention. Perhaps I would like to sand them with wet and dry followed by the Epifanes varnish; and by the way the oars of our inflatable dinghy could do with some TLC as well!


Well I had some Epifanes in the workshop, their traditional clear varnish with extra UV filterso that's the dinghy oars sorted, (just needs a rub down in the bare patches} build up with some thinned coats and then a final coat. As for the fireplaces, we need a matt finish so its Epifanes Rubbed Effect varnish to the rescue, which is a very quick drying scratch resistant interior varnish. It provides a beautiful satin sheen, outstanding flowing ability and excellent resistance against alcohol and household chemicals! I had finished all the stripped hall and landing doors, internal surfaces (outer were French polished as per my blog earlier this week) with this product and years later they still are looking good!


Our conservatory was 'attacked' by a nationwide blind company a few years ago, allegedly the best in the business we were led to believe, and as we had purchased and they had fitted two vertical ones in our bathrooms with no complaints, we invited them to quote for retractable blinds to help control the temperature in its south-facing location. Quote came through, wasn't the cheapest by a long chalk, but we always thought that there is 'no such thing as a free lunch'. So we ordered then six weeks or so later I came home very late from work to find an extremely angry better half. Dinner is in the dog methinks. It was not just a disaster in the conservatory! The guy who fitted our blinds told Jen, as he was leaving that night, he was a bricklayer in his earlier life and found our project a 'challenge' and that he would be back tomorrow to finish the job off! A year later after numerous phone calls, and then ten more e-mails to the finance director, we finally got our money back!

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My plan of attack once I have done every thing else on my list, clean out the screw holes, fill same with a mixture of epoxy and micro balloons, rub down and follow up by tinting this filler, if required, with up to a maximum of three coats using Epifanes Mahogany stain.  If, we still have a colour difference it is possible to mix Epifanes Mahogany stain (10% maximum) with their one and two part varnishes to camouflage colour differences in existing systems, obviously we would have to coat all the beams! As a footnote, our 'blind bricklayer' did turn up next day but was not allowed across the threshold!


Whilst our bricks and mortar chandlery is closed for the foreseeable future, you can order online and we will do our best to ship as soon as possible. If you have a technical query re varnishing or any other subject e-mail us at and we will get back to you but please bear in mind we are working a skeleton staff. Finally the guys at Marineware, importers of the Epifanes paint and varnish range, have put together their tips to help you on your way. Follow their tips and you won't go wrong!


From Simon - ‘All varnishes have their own thinners, use them as they will enhance flow and control the drying process. As the pros say... Juice it up!’

 From Richard - 'Always remember to thin early coats of varnish to penetrate into the timber. Refer to Technical Data Sheets for recommended ratios.'

From Chris - 'Pick a good day for varnishing, direct sunlight can cause the varnish to dry too fast or unevenly and then crack or wrinkle, wind can blow dust and dirt on to your drying varnish and make it dry out too fast. A warm varnish will flow better than a cold.'

From Dave - 'Should you see bubbles in the varnished surface while brushing or rolling and tipping, make a final pass with the brush very slowly over the area, using very light pressure. This method will remove the bubbles.'

From Glen - 'Make sure the varnish isn’t cold so it can flow properly when being applied. When brushing use long, even strokes with the grain.'

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