In preparation for varnishing, though, I had to sterilize the shop so no errant dust will settle into wet varnish. And after 4 days of sanding, cleaning up was no small task. Sweeping. Vacuuming. Mopping. It's pretty clean now, but I know it's not surgical clean, so I expect some dust.
Because the epoxy I brushed on today needs time to cure, and being anxious to see the varnish go on, I realized I could put the first coat of varnish on the hatch covers! I don't think I mentioned it before, but the Hatch Cover Color Survey resulted in a resounding opinion on the stained hatches and they look great. Anyway, I cracked open the can of varnish and poured a little into a cup. It's funny, but the smell reminded me of Maine, when I would visit my grandparents. I'm know my grandfather had a can or two of varnish kicking around, and 3 or 4 concurrent projects in various stages of varnishing. And it smelled like the wooden boat building apprentice shop across the harbor he would take me to.
I dipped the foam brush, curious how the sanded, cloudy epoxy would look within a few seconds. Brush, brush, brush. Wow! Varnish is transformative. Gone is the dull, lifeless wood surface. It's almost like the wood and grain are glowing. It's amazing. I can't wait to brush on the boat.
This photo of the front hatch shows the difference between the
dull, sanded epoxy on the left and the brush stroke of varnish
on the right.
Here's the varnish mid progress. The large hatch has a coat and
you can see the reflection of the light and plastic tent over head.