Re-Varnishing Woodwork on a Vintage Jaguar Mk2 Saloon

Acquiring nine to 10 autos on our common car or truck seek the services of fleet we have reached the phase where we will possibly re-furbish at least one particular of them a year. This year it was time for our 1961 Jaguar Mk2. It went to the bodyshop in January to have a couple of rust bubbles at the bottoms of the doorways mounted, a couple of modest bits of welding and a respray. The difficulty with this is that the interior can then glimpse tatty in comparison. So we requested a new established of interior panels and determined to re-furbish the woodwork.

Jaguar Mk2s have just about as substantially woodwork as a modest dining area, with veneered doorway cappings on all four doorways, the dashboard gauges established in wooden panels and the dashboard top is a quite major piece of difficult wood, veneered to match the doorway cappings. I have re-furbished wood trim in common autos before so determined to this by hand, myself.

Our woodwork had a a little odd attribute which designed it unsure just how substantially function would be essential. Underneath the varnish it was obvious that the wood cappings on the two entrance doorways and the dashboard top had some of the wood grain painted on it. A little apprehensive that I may well obtain good chunks of veneer missing and owning been changed by masses of painted filler, I quite gingerly taken off all the varnish with Nitromors paint stripper.

I have applied this before when I re-furbished the woodwork in our MG RV8 a couple of yrs so knew that it is successful in eliminating the varnish without attacking the veneer. Following several programs of Nitromors, with very careful scraping, finished off with a remaining application being rubbed off with wire wool, I was remaining with bare wood. All the painted grain had disappeared but all the veneer was in very good problem, with no sections missing. I came to the conclusion that the New Zealand sun (where the Mk2 had spent most of its lifetime) had bleached the varnish and somewhat than strip it all off, a earlier owner had painted wood grain on to the varnish and then varnished about the top.

Relieved that I did not have to go to the expense of owning it all re-veneered I then proceeded to varnish it. When I re-furbished the MG RV8 woodwork again in 2003 I applied a spray polyurethane varnish which gave a quite very good finish. I applied the very same tactic and without a doubt the very same tin of varnish which was still in my garage. The initially few of coats sprayed on Okay, whilst I had a couple of modest runs seem. I sanded these down and utilized a different coat. No difficulty. The tin of varnish depleted, I bought a different few of tins of the very same product or service and included a different coat.


The new coat of varnish attacked the varnish I had by now utilized and it all wrinkled a bit like the ‘crackle’ finish paint on our MGB. I guess that both the manufacturer has transformed the recipe for their solvent, or the solvent in my aged tin had long gone off, and the two solvents attacked just about every other.

Again to the Nitromors and it all came off once again again to bare wood. I imagined it worthy of making an attempt a different tack and determined to use brush on varnish in its place so bought a tin of Ronseal swift drying interior varnish. I have applied Ronseal items before for domestic programs and normally reached very good final results. Part of my logic was also that if any runs did seem then I could brush them out before the varnish hardened and thus clear away the threat of runs and the need to have to sand the woodwork down however once again.

I was doing all this for the duration of February and the garage is also chilly for varnish as it has to utilized at temperatures of about 10°C, so I painted all four doorway cappings at area temperature in the kitchen area. The Ronseal varnish is drinking water centered, is a milky white in the tin, but really should dry obvious to the expected finish. I gave all four doorway cappings a single coat of Ronseal and whilst it did not operate, it confirmed a couple of brush marks. Ordinarily as varnish dries the floor tension resolves this as it pulls out all the marks. I promptly brushed about the freshly varnished doorway cappings to assistance the procedure.


The swift drying varnish was just about dry following only 10 minutes and as I brushed the varnish it went all lumpy and grainy. It also never ever went obvious, drying to a a little milky colour.

Again to the Nitromors to strip it all off once again. This time the stripper and drinking water centered varnish turned to mush and was really tricky to clear away. Inevitably all taken off and cleaned again to bare wood I returned to Prepare A – spray varnish.

This time applying just the new tins of varnish and spraying it on in really skinny coats, about 10 in all and leaving the varnish to harden at area temperature, I reached a suited finish. The floor is quite easy, the wood grain obvious and lively and it is now attainable to see that the entrance doorway cappings are mirror photos of just about every other, as are the rear pair and the dashboard veneer is a mirror picture remaining and appropriate.

So heaps of function, but nicely worthy of it. The interior of our Jaguar Mk2 now looks as very good as the freshly painted exterior.

Classes learnt

  • Spray varnish is greater for these kinds of programs that brush on varnish.
  • Don’t use aged tins of varnish, even if they do not have a use before day on the tin.
  • Spray it on as thinly as attainable, depart to push at area temperature.
  • Then do it once again, and once again and once again.

In quick – preparation and persistence.

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