Be Varnish.


Smile! You’re Varnish. – Photo Eric Frazier

We can learn a lot from our woody boats. Patience, history, wood working, art history to just name a few. But the one thing that really hit me the other day is how powerful varnish can be when seen through a metaphorical lens. Sure, we are going to get deep here, but there is so much more to our boats than just a thing to float around in. Varnish. Let’s talk about it. Varnish like you, can bring out the best, and protects life from the sun and time. It rewards us with deep luster and emotion. It preserves history and always reminds us that life is fragile and should be appreciated and protected. Even the fine art of refreshing varnish is like life. Focused attention to detail, and not to heavy a hand are always needed to make good things last. In a way, you can be Varnish, you can live a varnish life, you can remind folks about how you care for them, protect them and always enhance their soul and outer sensitive skin. You can keep the old from looking dry and gray, and when you are out in public you can always capture a ray of sunshine to make the world a better place. See. Be Varnish, and your world will always be a wonderful day on the lake.

28 replies
  1. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    When I was a young man I was constantly varnishing my wood. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned it’s not the quantity of varnishing the wood that matters, it’s the technique of application.

  2. Mike s
    Mike s says:

    Varnish…… When you can read the writing on the light bulbs in the reflection of the varnish without wet sanding and buffing, yer doin’ it right. Looking forward to Hopatcong. Gotta finish putting it together now.

  3. Dave Clyne
    Dave Clyne says:

    Matt, this is profound. I would proudly wear these sentiments as a woodyboater on a t-shirt. So much to say about varnish. I was going to say “reflect on” about varnish but I didn’t want to get trampled.

  4. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Now I feel even worse about the scratch I got in my varnish over the Memorial Day Holiday. Since I have already repaired it, can I still consider myself a a caring and positive person?

    • reddog
      reddog says:

      Greg, did you read the article in “Houghton lake resorter/ Seasons (summer 2016), (Matt or Texx when I start to fill in the answer to the math problem. It gives me choices to use, none of today’s choices were correct, is it set up that way for spam)?

  5. Sean
    Sean says:

    Did my first DIY varnish job this past week…
    I would never have tried if not coerced by a friend but, now I feel empowered… and happy to have learned something new this ripe age.

  6. Arnie
    Arnie says:

    Varnish sure beats the salmon pink color it was before stripping! Have you ever refinished the inside of a lapstrake hull? What fun – you gotta luv it!!!

    • Mike U
      Mike U says:

      Would love to know how you stripped away prior salmon finish and how long it took – light sand blasting?

  7. Eric
    Eric says:

    Yes the smell…I always look forward to walking back in the “varnish room” and getting a whiff. And now the dark side; varnishing can further parallel life as we have to learn when enough is enough and it’s time to leave the party and walk away before we muck it up. Accept that there are imperfections and enjoy the accomplishment rather than sand through the luster trying to push the limits of the relationship (man, varnish & wood that is). Wow, I think it’s time to stop smelling this stuff and get back to work!
    Coat #4 or 5 on the U22 ceiling boards below, now up to 9.

  8. Bill Anderson
    Bill Anderson says:

    I just got this in the fleet,not my cup of tea but I can appreciate the workmanship,this was done in 1985 totally,the varnish is perfect,need bottom painted maybe,1905 Bill

      • Bill Anderson
        Bill Anderson says:

        I am still reading all paper work,1905 Launch with a 1926 redwing, this was in several shows and magazine a while back,it is slick,,still reading,it started out in Les Cheneeaux Islands, Bill

  9. charley quimby
    charley quimby says:

    Varnished wood… So much more to it than polished fiberglass. Awkwardly put, but you get the point. CQ

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