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  #1  
Old 07-29-2013, 03:26 AM
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I discovered Varnish for wood trim!! NOW WITH PHOTOS!

Wow guys.

Wow!

You need to do this. Made a massive change in appearance on my car's interior.

I decided to re-do the wood trim on my 1991 300d. The old plastic type cover was looking really lame. The plastic coating was cracked like most of them are had yellowed some, adding to how depressing it looked.

I read a few articles on how to take the plastic coating off, and re-do the trim. I hated to do the work, and it WAS a LOT of work, but I got it done, and the interior looks SOOOO much better.

If you want to do this, in short, you take off your wood console parts. I took off just 3 parts; the shifter panel, the ashtray, and console part above the radio.

Spray them with serious paint remover. I found the spray works better than brush on. Let it sit overnight. Gently scrape off what you can with a 5-in-1 scraper tool. Spray more paint remover on, come back much later or next day, do the same until everything is off.

When done, use this "wash" stuff they have to take off the paint remover and debris. One big issue was what color to stain the wood. I decided to leave what was on there, and just varnish over it. Someone recommended Epifanes Clear Gloss Spar Marine Varnish. There's other stuff at Home Depot that will yellow over time, either way you must have Spar which means it's made for outdoors and can contract/expand with temperature changes. I think the Epifanes does not; it costs 2x the stuff at Home Depots. I bought the Epifanes. I originally tried spray on from another company, it was a joke and waste of time.

I'd never put varnish on anything before. It really does leave a nice, glossy, glass-like finish. You brush it on thin, but not too thin; you need a bit so it can self-level. MAKE SURE you don't have any dust around where you're going to put this. I had it in my garage which is as dust-free as my house so long as I'm not stirring anything up. You can't help but to get some dust specks in it no matter where you put it. Sand lightly between each coat and wipe off with mineral spirits, put about 4 coats on. Each coat takes a day to dry.

Now when I get in my car, I'm much more proud than when looking at the old cracked wood. I did NOT do the trim pieces on the dash or on the doors. Since I left the original stain on, and even though my wood that I re-did is much lighter in color, it's actually ok. The light color reflects off the darker trim that was not redone, helping it look a bit lighter, and gets darker the further it gets away from the reflection.

I would recommend on your final coat, to put some varnish that you're going to use in a plastic cup, and put 5-10% of mineral spirits in it to thin it down a bit, so it dries smoother. Mine has a bit of rippling in it since the varnish is so thick and I have to figure out how to buff this out without scratching it. Once you scratch it with sandpaper, I was using 300 grit which is very fine, it turns it opaque. The guy at Epifanes was suggesting then a 2500 grit sandpaper. I'm also considering using some toothpaste on a rag in one area to see if that might get the ripples out.

For the photo of the shifter console, you can see it dried with ripples in it which is what I have to try to figure out how to buff out now. Even had I used a bit of mineral spirits to thin out the varnish, what we're working on is not a flat piece, so I don't know what would have happened, but I'm thinking a bit would have made it level out better; the varnish is fairly thick like honey.

The 2nd photo, you can see the darker wood trim above the a/c control piece. I didn't redo that, too much hassle so I left it, but it looks sort of ok not being done, because the lighter wood that I did re-do, reflects and brightens the trim piece above it, then the trim gets slowly darker as it gets further away from the piece I did.

Attached Thumbnails
I "discovered" Varnish!!-_dsc5992.jpg   I "discovered" Varnish!!-_dsc5994.jpg  

Last edited by jbach36; 07-29-2013 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Not enough readers. I changed title to draw more people in
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:51 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Sounds good! Congratulations and thanks for sharing your experience and info.
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:45 PM
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Pics or it didnt happen.
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbach36 View Post
I would recommend on your final coat, to put some varnish that you're going to use in a plastic cup, and put 5-10% of mineral spirits in it to thin it down a bit, so it dries smoother. Mine has a bit of rippling in it since the varnish is so thick and I have to figure out how to buff this out without scratching it. Once you scratch it with sandpaper, I was using 300 grit which is very fine, it turns it opaque. The guy at Epifanes was suggesting then a 2500 grit sandpaper. I'm also considering using some toothpaste on a rag in one area to see if that might get the ripples out.
I completely forgot about the thinning aspect ... I should have mentioned that when I replied to your earlier ... sorry! Been a couple years and some of the details had slipped. With spraying (not sure about brushing) there is a thinning progression listed on the can, so the final couple of coats are slightly thinned, as you mention. The Epifanes guy probably knows best ... I would stick with something very fine for varnish, as it's soft. I have always been afraid to try color-sanding it, even though I really wanted to get the couple bits of dust out of it (they aren't very noticeable, but still).
Glad it turned out well despite the ripples! It is AMAZING how much nicely finished woodwork makes the inside of the car look good. Mine doesn't have a perfect interior, but it really looks sharp with the varnished wood. Post some pictures if you get a chance!
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  #5  
Old 07-29-2013, 07:08 PM
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Use paste wax to remove the haze from sanding.
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:50 PM
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Do NOT use wax!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorainfurniture View Post
Use paste wax to remove the haze from sanding.
Not sure what paste wax is, but it sounds like it has "wax" in it. The guy at epifanes told me to be careful about using anything with wax in it, as it does something bad to the finish, takes the UV coating out of it or something, I forget.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:06 PM
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Paste wax works well with polyurethanes. It's considered a standard way of finishing.

I assume you used something a bit different?
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:21 PM
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I haven't buffed it out yet at all

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorainfurniture View Post
Paste wax works well with polyurethanes. It's considered a standard way of finishing.

I assume you used something a bit different?
Does paste wax actually have wax in it? (Murphy's Oil soap doesn't have oil in it).

I was going to use toothpaste since it doesn't really 'scratch' a surface like sandpaper does. If I scratch it, it gets opaque.

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