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How To Finish Your Wooden Model Car

Jul 25, 2008
Do you love woodworking? Have you built wooden model cars and they look beautiful for a bit and then they begin to discolor? If so then you should consider adding a finish to your model car by applying varnish. While there are two main types of varnish here we will discuss one only. Traditional varnish can be slow drying, and extremely hard to clean up. Water based polyurethane varnish however is much easier to handle as it cleans up with water. It also drys very quickly. Varnish must be brushed in, allowed to dry, and sanded down. It must be repeated so that you get a uniform coating to the part that on which the varnish is being applied.

Some things that you will need together before you begin are your water-based polyurethane varnish in the shade that you want your model car to be, some sandpaper that is either 220 grit or finer (if you are unsure how to tell what the grit is just ask a sales associate to help you), a tack cloth to prevent spills, a synthetic bristle paintbrush that is easy to handle and not too large or too small for the work you will be doing, and a small disposable container.

When you go to buy the varnish just keep in mind that it, like paint, is available in a variety of finishes. Whether you choose flat, matte, satin, semi-gloss, or high-gloss will just depend on what your want your model to look like when it is finished. Flat has no shine to it at all and does not fair extremely well over time, high-gloss, however, is very bright and and is a good deal tougher. You should make sure that you are going to be painting your wooden model in an area that dust free and well ventilated. Dust will adhere to your model and show up quite clearly after the model has been varnished.

You will likewise want to make sure the model itself is clean and dust free. If you need to clean it before hand a tack cloth is the recommended method. It will remove any debris without leaving behind lint. Now that you are ready make sure to stir your varnish well. Once you do so then pour some of it into your disposable container. Recap your varnish and set it aside. By using your other container you will make it easier to prevent spills it will also help you to prevent contaminating your original can of varnish with dust or debris.

When you begin to paint the water-based polyurethane varnish onto your model make sure that you are using very smooth and even strokes. You will also want to follow the grain. By holding the brush as vertical as possible you will be able to prevent some uneven strokes. Another thing to keep in mind is that you should allow each coat of varnish to dry thoroughly. You will know it is dry when it feels dry to the touch. Much of the drying time depends on the temperature and the relative humidity.

After you have left the first coat to dry you should then sand the surface with your sandpaper and then clean the model with a tack cloth once more to remove any additional sawdust that has built up after sanding. Keep repeating this process until you reach the look you are wanting. Once you do then let the piece set for one week for the varnish to cure. If you will then rub your model car with "0000" steel wool and clean it with a tack cloth you will be able to apply a paste wax. This can give you the best looking wooden model car possible.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for wooden model cars, model trains, and model trucks.
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