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What About the Results of All This Suffering?

Sea's the Day

By Robert P. Poindexter

A few days ago, I began the mind-numbing task of refinishing the woodwork on our sailboat. I do not like anything about this procedure. It requires you to stay bent over most of the time. And, since it is a sailboat, you are usually bending over and twisting to avoid some cable or line or a bungee cord or the boom or any number of other connections that are required equipment.

In addition to how sore it makes my back, I am constantly fighting the sweat that gravity pulls into my eyes. I don’t like the constant hum of the palm sander or the mess it creates. I’m not a fan of the finger-busting that takes place when sanding the sections the palm sander can’t reach.

No matter how many times I go over the freshly sanded area with my tack cloth (a rosin-filled piece of cheesecloth used by painters to remove sand dust and other particulate matter from a surface before painting), there always seems to be one little rebelliously stubborn speck that refuses to let go until after my varnish loaded paint brush finds it.

And what about the actual varnishing procedure?

STEP ONE: Carefully open can of varnish. Do not shake. This will cause bubbles to appear in the finish. Pour the varnish slowly into a metal container. Pouring too fast will cause bubbles to appear in the finish. For the first coat, mix varnish with paint thinner using a 50 percent ratio. Not mixing carefully will cause (all together now) bubbles to appear in the finish.

STEP TWO: Clean up mess made from mixing and pouring varnish and paint thinner. Be extra sure to clean up outside of metal container being used. Not doing so may result in having surgery in order to remove it from your hand, and this may cause bubbles to appear in the finish.

STEP THREE: Apply varnish to prepared area, making sure to back into the varnish with your brush instead of applying away from the varnish as you might do with paint. Not doing so could result in bubbles in the finish.

STEP FOUR: Keep knees, elbows, hands, feet, hair and the ball cap you are wearing out of the freshly varnished areas. Not doing so may result in cursing, knots on your head from standing up into the boom too fast because you suddenly realized one of those things was in the fresh varnish, and bubbles in the finish.

Some of my sailing buddies claim they enjoy this chore. They claim it is therapeutic for them. I say you may need professional therapy if that’s truly the way you feel.

I typically apply six coats, using ever finer sandpaper between each one and taking special care to apply the final coat as delicately as possible to avoid bubbles in the final finish.

What about the results of all this suffering?

They are worth every bump, bruise, scrape and drop of sweat.

For in my opinion, there is little to compare to the beauty of varnish well laid onto fine wood. Especially if that wood is attached to a sailboat in a marina where passersby can ooh and ahh while the owner sits proudly nearby.

If you are a job seeker preparing to begin the arduous task of having a fresh resume written, believe me when I tell you I feel your pain when it comes to your part of the process.

I know the worksheet itself can cause you to wonder if it’s all worthwhile.

However, when you see the results of properly-laid-out formats and the buffed-out finish of the resulting language, you will be proud when onlookers ooh and ahh over the masterpiece you helped to create because of your diligence and self-sacrifice.

For a bubble-free finish to your resume, you must be willing to break a sweat.

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