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Expert's Corner — panel

TIP: Stain or Paint Panels First

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TIP: Stain or Paint Panels First

Wood panels set in frames tend to shrink over time, exposing an unfinished stripe at one or both sides. Even paint won’t keep this from happening, as demonstrated in the accompanying picture. The only effective way to keep panels from showing the stripe is to stain or paint them before assembly. Gluing them in won’t solve the problem because this will cause the panels to split, which is worse.With the panel already colored, it can shrink as much as it wants without leaving unsightly stripes.

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TIP: UV Varnishes Only Give So-So Protection

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TIP: UV Varnishes Only Give So-So Protection

Normally, I use the accompanying photo to show that mass-marketed varnishes sold in home centers and most paint stores for exterior finishing don’t contain any more UV resistance than common interior varnishes. But the panel also shows that even the much more expensive varnishes sold in marinas still aren’t perfect at resisting UV light. I stained the panel with red dye (because red dye fades faster than most other colors) and coated the panel with five coats of four different varnishes. From left to right, a popular boat varnish from a marina, two common varnishes sold in home centers for...

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