Appying epoxy over varnish

Jan 15, 2014
Kings Valley, Oregon
I bought a 16' cedar stripper that is good condition, structurally. I am going to have to reinforce the bow and stern with fiberglass and epostems because of abrasion that has exposed wood. Since it appears that the original builder only put a single filler coat of epoxy on the inside of the hull (the pattern and texture of the fiberglass are clearly visible)and perhaps only two coats of epoxy on the outer hull, I want to put another 2 coats on the entire boat while I am at it.

That's a long way around to ask: Can I apply additional coats of epoxy inside and outside over sanded varnish, or should I completely strip all the old varnish before applying additional coats of epoxy?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Feb 1, 2013
If you sand the varnish off completely, you could put new epoxy on, but are you sure you need too? Most home builders only put the wet out coat on the inside to save weight and money and sanding. If the exterior only needs bang strip on the ends, put them on, give the rest of the hull a light sanding and re-apply three coats of varnish. It will look like new.

Got any pictures?
Jul 31, 2011
Aberdeen, MD
I think 4 coats is overkill. I built a stitch and glue canoe and i put 6oz tape on the seams inside, and 3oz glass fabric inside and out, with 2 coats of epoxy, and if i had to do it over, i'd not use the tape, i'd use 6 oz fabric inside, 3oz outside, and only do 1 coat in and out... if it's important to you to "fill" the fiberglass so that it's smooth, have at it, but I found out it's very slippery that way....

I say reinforce with bang strips, put a touch-up of epoxy or spar varnish on the exposed wood, and call it good.

Would love to see pics.

If the original builder put varnish over the epoxy, i think you'll have to strip it before anything else will stick. i left mine 'just epoxy', with no varnish over top... i've thought about just painting it red or green over the epoxy, but so far haven't succumbed.
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