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Hi all,


It's been a little while, but thought some one out there would be able to advise me. Is it advisable to clean and varnish deck planks before adding the deck furnishings, or does the varnish coat effect gluing?


If the varnishing first is ok, what's the best glue for the job?




Medic :D

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Most varnish products will probably not play nice with most glues.

The glue will "bond" to the finish rather than the wood.  With no

pores there is no penetration so any bonding will be electrostatic

rather than mechanical.


Traditional varnish is boiled linseed oil "cooked" with shellac - organic solvents.

These days polyurethane seems to be more popular and there are

water based varieties.  It is a synthetic plastic.


If you are doing an upscale modern yacht, varnished decks may be appropriate.

You wear no scuff deck shoes to walk on them.

For most other classes of wooden ships, a slick varnished deck would be really

dangerous for the crew. 


Because of scale effect, a flat or egg shell finish even for high gloss prototypes -

or at most matte..

You might consider super blonde shellac at half strength ( 5%) * and rub it down

with 0000 steel wool or a Scotch Brite pad.  In any case, if you intend to apply a 

finish before adding and gluing down additional components - it would be wise to

occlude the glue sites with painters tape or masking tape.


*  orange shellac is full strength at 20 lb cut ( ~ 20% solution in methanol,

ethanol (denatured) or ( Pharmco grain - 95% - if you do not mind paying the taxes),

or anhydrous isopropyl.

It will darken the wood.


super blonde shellac is a very light amber.  The purification process removes components

that help solubilize it - so - full strength is 10 lb cut ( ~10%).  Primer or 1st coat = 5%.


There is a bit clearer grade: plantina shellac flakes - but it is not that lighter and costs about

twice what super blonde costs.

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As a true plastic, I am thinking that it would be the least effective surface to use PVA on.

I do not use CA, and since (as I understand it)  CA has poor shear force resistance to begin with,

it is not likely to be a good choice there either.


I have used poly on a kitchen floor and on paneling and bookcases, but when  attempting

to emulate the old craftsmen and artists of the 17th C. and 18th C., poly does not appeal

to me for use on a wooden model.

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HI Guys,


I guess the same would be true for a painted deck, like on a schooner? Well, I've already painted the the deck and I'm ready to attach the deck furniture. Should I therefore use epoxy? All suggestions are welcome.


Happy New Year,


Edited by Landlocked123
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from my knowledge of glues epoxy relies on penetrating the pores of the timber or a rough surface thus the bond to paint will not be very strong, your best bet would be to scrape the paint off were you need to apply the furniture. do not quote me on this but maybe jb weld might work if you scuff the surface a bit as its designed for metal / non penetrable surface.


Cheers Rexy.

Edited by REXY
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If you have already painted john I would go with the small pins inserted into the bottom of the deck furniture and the deck (I'm not suggesting nailing the furniture down of course) but rather creating a tenon

On my first build the HMS victory I varnished first and close to the stage of fitting the mast dropped a small ladder deep into the hull I was faced with a choice of turn the model upside down and trying to get the piece out or paying silly money for the part plus extortionate postage,I chose to turn the model upside down and shake for approximately 20 mins and got the part out I had pinned the many many canons and furniture down and luckily nothing fell off however I would just pay the extortionate price next time

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I pin anything possible, even if no finish is applied. Stanchions, gun carriages, pedestals, &tc are all pinned.  I use bamboo pins made with a draw plate and cut them as needed.   If I have already applied a finish, be it paint or anything else, then have to glue a part, I use a small chisel to scrap the surface to get back to the wood before gluing.



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