I'm probably the only one here swimming countercurrent on any finish discussion. But let me say this, if you're just building (anything) to "good enough" standards, then you really ought to try for a "good" standard.
Seedtick, my main complaint with the time, work and expense of a really good varnish job is reality. Knowing that the first trip out in your pristine creation may (will??) result in one or more nicks and scrapes makes that time and effort seem futile. Pretty soon, the million dollar finish is demoted to a less-than-pristine status. Then.......guess what............MORE sanding , varnishing , sanding , varnishing....... Not worth it to me. Your mileage may vary. Chocolate and vanilla.
Good enough for the intended job IS good. I'd wager 99% of all wooded boats built in the last several thousand years were built to "good enough" standards. Not "just barely enough to get the job donee" , but good enough to do the job well and last a reasonable amount of time.
You are absolutely correct - it's chocolate and vanilla
but for me, I'm also showcasing the old wood, I would not varnish plywood. I typically hot coat the first 2 or 3 coats of varnish, then do a good sanding. After that that it's scuff sand and a coat of varnish. Takes less that 20 minutes to scuff and put on a coat of varnish.
The coating - paint or varnish - protects the wood from water intrusion. A scratched up varnish finish is no better protection than a scratched up paint finish. The effort to keep both "pristine" is the same.
BTW I've got your swamp mallow seeds and a piece of steel from a McDonough band saw mill blade. If you're in this area give me a call or I'll bring them next Feb
Well, the little boat has gone off to a new home. I sold it to a friend of my next door neighbor. Pretty talented carpenter.........and a woman. I've seen her cabinet work at the neighbors house and she's mighty good at it. I had a lot of fun building the boat, learned a couple of design pros and cons, found a pretty serviceable clear finish and almost doubled the money I had in it. Fair enough.
Now .........what,s next ........... Ah, yes ............what's next? ( rubbing hands together with a mildly evil look in my eyes. HA! )
Seedtick, if the offer of the mallow seeds and the band saw blade is still good, could you bring them to the Fling? Thanks.
I've mixed mortat and concrete, in boxes of about those dimensions. Measure in the cement, gravel, and water, and then start mixing with a garden hoe. My sloppy attempts at laying blocks were so sloppy, that I was demoted from water boy, to mortarmixer. sigh
The shame of it all.
In your calm waters, and being careful to not lean very much in any direction, your tiny boat would work. Oh, one other concern. Those water lizards?