Jamestown Distributors' modified linseed-oil polyurethane varnish claims you can apply 5 coats in one day with no sanding between coats.
In an effort to compete with the long dry time of traditional varnish, Jamestown Distributors has developed a quick-dry, modified linseed-oil polyurethane varnish alternative, which they call Lust. With claims of “up to five coats in one day” and no sanding between coats, I was intrigued. Luckily, I had perfect conditions during my test: 72°F, low humidity, out of direct sunlight with good airflow. You couldn’t ask for a better finishing day.
Although the Lust varnish can be sprayed, all coats in my test were brushed onto a piece of veneer plywood. Other than the first sealer coat thinned to specs, I brushed full body coats the rest of the way. Right off the bat I found that the varnish had good flow characteristics. Since I was performing a test, I decided to lightly overbrush, and the varnish responded well. But even under my optimal finishing conditions, I found the one-hour recoat claim to be a bit optimistic. In my case it took closer to three hours for the finish to be tack-free and ready for recoating. At that point I brushed another full coat without sanding. The second coat tacked in half the time. Even though the manufacturer states that sanding isn’t required for bonding, it always makes for a better finish, so I lightly sanded the second coat with 220-grit paper. I expected the varnish to gum up the sandpaper, even with a light touch, but the material powdered very nicely. For the third coat, I set the sample on end to simulate a door. Predictably, I had a couple of curtains (sags) in the dried finish, something that could likely be avoided by brushing a lighter, thinned coat.
Overall, Lust is an easy product to work with. Since this is my first run with it, I have no idea of its longevity or how it will compete with other top-tier varnishes, but the cost ($37 per quart, which includes some accessories) is in line with premium alternatives and the dry time is faster.
—Peter Gedrys, a finishing expert in East Haddam, Conn.
From Fine Homebuilding #288
More about exterior finish:
Fabulous Finish for an Exterior Door – Beautify a wood door with dye, stain, varnish, and a commitment to doing the process right.
Secret to a Fast, Flawless Finish – Use this method of sanding and applying polyurethane to create a furniture finish that’s smooth as glass.
Finish Fix for a Varnished Door – Expert wood-finisher Peter Gedrys offers advice for maintaining and refreshing aging spar varnish on an exterior wood door.