(11 Ratings)

10 Day Yacht Varnisher – The Complete Online Varnishing Course

About Course


An online boat varnishing course covering traditional gloss yacht varnish, two part clear coats and epoxy coating work. Take an in depth look at products, tools, application technique, theory and workplace setup. The boat varnishing course program teaches you to produce a professional level finish. Working in realistic, everyday environments such as your garage or workshop at home. Study online with lifetime enrolment to re-visit at any time. This online varnishing course offers 10 modules of video content with a manageable, bitesize learning amount per. One module a day is a nice pace but you can take as long as you like to work through the program. The online course provides a clear to follow, start-to-finish method on applying a high gloss Yacht Varnish finish to woodwork. The method is based primarily around wooden boat varnishing and marine applications however you can also apply it to household applications such as tables, floors and doors that require a high gloss finish.


Varnishing Course Sample Lesson

If you’d like a bit of a further insight into the sort of material that is included in the boat varnishing course then click here to view a sample lesson on tipping.


Individual Student Enrolment

The enrolment price for the boat varnishing course is per person, lifetime access means that students can refer back to the course at any time. Work through the material again and refresh their knowledge. The recommended pace is one module a day but students are free to study at their own rate, alongside a project or as and when they have the time.


Business or College Enrolment

10 Day Yacht Varnisher is an ideal tool for boat yards and colleges to add to their existing training programs. Enrolling staff on this varnishing course will greatly speed up the process at which apprentices can get up and running with a solid knowledge base of the varnishing process. By putting new staff members or apprentices through the program, employers can ensure that they learn the core fundamentals of the process before getting to the shop floor. This reduces the time that experienced staff need to spend teaching the basics in the workshop.


Discounted packages are available for Businesses and Colleges, please contact me for more information and pricing.


Press Links

The Number One Best Varnish Lessons On Earth – Woody Boater

The Dutchmans Log – Epifanes Newsletter

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What Will You Learn?

  • Removing bubbles and dust from your finishes
  • Selecting the right product for your application
  • Equip yourself with the right tools
  • Prepare bare wood and existing finishes
  • Correctly set up your workplace
  • Product and additive selection
  • Learn and hone the best techniques for application
  • Achieve that perfect final finish
  • Flat and polish varnishes
  • Save time by skipping the trial and error process
  • NEW - Modern two part clear coat systems

Course Content

MODULE 1 – Introduction
In this module we will take a look at the structure of the course ahead and I share a bit about me. Here you can also find links for help and a quick find index for the course.

  • MODULE 1 LESSON 1: What we will aim to achieve on this course
  • MODULE 1 LESSON 2: About me
  • LINKS: Quick find course index and help

MODULE 2 – Products
Which varnish should you use? In this module we take a look at a range of commonly available products and do in depth comparisons of their properties. We will also dive into alternative products such as epoxy and two part systems to look at what might be best for your application.

MODULE 3 – Recommended Tools and Gear
In this module we cover the many different types of application and preparation tools that you will need to get you set up for the task ahead. I run through my recommended tool kit that will get you set up to achieve a pro finish, in whatever workspace you may have, without breaking the bank.

MODULE 4 – Surface Preparation
If you are starting a fresh on new wood, saving a completely tired old finish or simply freshening up what is already there, correct surface preparation is essential. In this module I cover preparing the surface and the varnish to ensure a good base and adhesion for the task ahead.

MODULE 5 – The First Coats
After the surface is prepped you are ready to begin the first coat applications. In this module we prepare the varnish correctly based on project status and working conditions. We look at illustrations of the surface and build an understanding of what we are aiming to achieve. We will then cover roller and brush techniques for correct application in the early stages.

MODULE 6 – The Build Up
This module covers the build up stages of the varnishing process. Tips and tricks for how to build volume quickly with minimal prep time to get that depth of colour and shine building. We will also cover alternative Epoxy and Two Pack product systems and discuss their benefits and flaws within this stage of the process. You will also use this process to hone your brush and roller technique ahead of the final coating stage.

MODULE 7 – The Last Coats
In this module we cover the final few coats of the process. I share my best tips for getting that perfect finish by hand. We focus on good practice in setting up for the final coat, ideal conditions, workplace and tool prep, reducing dust, bits. But is the last coat ever really the last?

MODULE 8 – Flatting and Polishing
Even with the best preparation and technique sometimes the odds are just against you. Perhaps you don't have time to strip the boat down and build more varnish on it but you want to freshen the finish. In this module we cover the process of flatting and polishing varnish and look at the theory behind what the process entails.

MODULE 9 – Troubleshooting
You may inevitably run into issues at some stage along the process. In this module we will aim to identify and avoid some of the more common issues within the process. There will also be an opportunity for students to share their issues so we can find solutions to a range of issues.

MODULE 10 – Project Spotlights
In this module I will share some of my projects as I am working on them so you can see the finish systems I have used and why.

MODULE 11 BONUS – Modern Two Part Clear Systems
In this bonus course module we take a deeper look into the application and benefits of two part clear coat systems.


Quick reference video guides for specific products, pick up the key fundamentals you will need to know if using the particular product.

Student Ratings & Reviews

Total 11 Ratings
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André Martel
1 month ago
Hello Dan, Since starting my retirement, I have built a strip planking 17' kayak, a 12' rowboat from marine plywood, a 21' sailboat (Cape Henry from Dudley Dix) and have repaired several dinghies. I am currently building a ''Vaurien'' dinghy. For several years, I had been gleaning information from YouTube, the web, a few books, manufacturers' technical sheets but I was never satisfied with the information received. Your course is very comprehensive and I really enjoyed it. My sailboat has varnished components (mast, boom, bowsprit, gaff, companionway) and I am going to take advantage of the cold season to revarnish them. I am lucky to have a heated workshop. I also want to repaint the deck and hull. So I'm going to sign up for the painting class soon. I have a few clients who also want me to refinish the cabin floor of their sailboat. I also have to paint and varnish the Vaurien.I will therefore quickly put the concepts learned into practice. THANKS,
William Shehan
3 months ago
I run a not-for-profit where I teach military veterans how to sail and boat maintenance. Off-season we do brite work to help support the programs. This course has been instrumental in helping my crew increase their skills. I highly recommend this course. Dan has done a great job, is detailed in the instructions, fantastic at explaining during the demonstrations, and offers great support to any questions.

Once you’ve gone through this course, you should take his painting course as well. Great information and a fantastic individual.
6 months ago
Just over a year ago I started with wood inlay work using a CNC Router. I went to great lengths to learn the skill I needed to perfect my work although there is much to learn in that field especially working with different woods. Although a mountain to climb at the time, inlays turn out to be the easy part.
It was only when my first customer asked me to make some signs and wanted a gloss finish. Easy, right! Well, no, it's not that easy at least not for me. My varnish of choice is Epifanes as recommended by a friend. My experience with the matt finishes seeming quite straight forward. The gloss finish is where the challenge came in. After a few months of searching, I found Dan's course. I was not in time for my customer’s project, but that turned out quite well with the few bits of information I was able to use from this course due to time constraints of getting the project out and completing the course. TIP: view the video(s) of interest or if you’re having issues to fast-track a solution but do go through all the material when time allows.
From the introductory video it looked good, but I was still unsure. Anyway, I took the plunge and purchased the course and started just under a month ago. In short, I've not been disappointed! When looking at the course content, it seemed some of the video lengths were very short. However, they all have valuable information with many having excellent tips and common-sense ways of working. There is a lot of information so even the shorter length videos hold as much value as the lengthier ones. There is detail in all the videos and a matter of practice and application from my part.
I absolutely recommend this course.
Edit: I look forward to the day I will get some of my work to this course level of 'glass' finish. Although I'm not a boat builder, I can use what I've learned here for years to come.
6 months ago
I have been varnishing for over 10 years now. Multiple projects that include a wide range of boats & products from Epifanes, Interlux Flagship & Compass clear to Awlgrip Awlwood. I was mostly self taught and with that comes a steep learning curve of failed projects. As with any craft/hobby one can always improve, and that's why I signed up for the courses. I want to know what the pro's know! Dans course will truly hone your skills if your a seasoned professional or an avid boater. Each course is well laid out and easy to follow. And I must say the results show on our vintage 48' Egg Harbor Sport fisher.
9 months ago
So fare , so good. Details follow
10 months ago
Whether you are relatively new to varnishing or more experienced, this comprehensive course provides everything you need to take your varnishing skills to the highest level.
Dan is an excellent teacher and the course is well thought out and shows good progression. If you follow Dan’s YouTube channel you will see the quality of the work he produces and this course gives you a total insight into his system. It really is like being invited into his workshop and being given all the secrets of his trade.
He has a system that clearly works to produce a high-end finish. The course covers everything from surface prep to final coats and includes details on all the equipment that he uses including where to buy. The session on testing different varnishes is worth the course fee alone!
If you have any reason to varnish any wood, whether on a boat, furniture etc, and you want a great finish then this course is the best investment you can make.
Highly recommended!
10 months ago
A fully comprehensive and well-structured course that improved my varnishing skills exponentially.
10 months ago
This course should be part of any wood boat ownership.
This is what has been needed for all of us that have a passion for varnish. It's very well put together, easy to follow and even though I have been using varnish for decades, I learned stuff, and dang, within the first two episodes I found out something I had been doing wrong and could never figure out. I guess the old saying is true. You can never learn too much. Thanks Dan.
12 months ago
Having personally completed varnishing several boats and recently finished the restoration of a fully varnished boat, I would say that this course Dan has produced is in my opinion is both inspiring and helpful. Dan's instruction from preparation to the finishing coat, is comprehensive, covering all aspects of traditional one pot varnish application, resulting in that excellent gloss finish we all strive to achieve.
The course represents good value for money, with numerous tips saving time and those costly mistakes, as varnish is not only expensive, the varnishing process is also very time consuming. If errors are made, the time taken to correct those errors can equate to hours of work and wasted varnish, so getting the job right first time, saves both time and expense.
I recommend Dans course and I also look forward to Dans boat restoration video's detailing his latest achievements.
1 year ago
This is the most elaborate course available, if not the only one. There is nothing else needed (exept materials) to start your varnishing project. Many possible challenges are addressed, any questions are answered promptly. Dan has excellent presentation and communications skills (+ the varnishing skills!).

The biggest eye opener for me was the use of high density foam roller and the use of 1 component varnish in stead of 2 component products. Epifanes is one of the most wel known brands here in the Netherlands.

Keep up the good work, Dan!
1 year ago
Owning our 1941 Chris-Craft runabout Cat’s Meow for 23 years and being her sole caretaker, I have always wanted to “up” or improve my varnishing skills. Having many hours of varnish and prep experience I struggled to find proper instruction and guidance to improve.
Then I stumbled on to Dan Lee’s course and Found tips, videos and how to information that allowed me to accelerate my learning and improve my results dramatically.
Dan has an excellent way of explaining the process that makes sense even if you are a beginner, the videos show details that highlight crucial visuals and help unlock proper technique.
I have submitted questions during the course and Dan responds quickly with in-depth answers and explanations that make sense.
I highly recommend this course!
It's the next best thing to being at his shop for hands on training.