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I have something for you to try that won't cost a lot of money....bear in mind I don't use Helmsman on anything, my experience is limited to other (mostly non-poly) varnish formulas. But try thinning it 50/50 or so with MS, then try wiping it on with one of those blue paper towels, the kind sold in Walmart's auto dept., most auto parts stores, and a lot of other places. These blue towels are lint free, cheap, disposable, and they've worked very well for me with wiping varnish. Fold them into a pad of sorts, and dip and wipe. I would also recommend you skip the spar varnishes, try a higher quality varnish like one from one of the paint companies (Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Old Masters, etc.). Having said all that, I would have chosenb a non-poly varnish, but they are hard to find. Pratt and Lambert 38 is my favorite (an alkyd resin/soya oil formula) but the Sherwin Williams Fast Dry Oil Varnish (an alkyd resin/linseed oil formula) is also a very good one. But just try the wiping technique I described, all it will cost is the roll of towels. BTW, when doing this, a rule of thumb is that 3 coats of wiped on varnish equals about 1 coats of brushed (very roughly)....so you do apply more coats.
 
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Try terry cloth if you want, but I've found that it can leave streaks in the finish, much like a brush...due to the fabric's nap. That's why those blue shop towels work so well, they are smooth. Cotton fabric would be as well, and would be great but for the occasional lint problem. Using something like a very old, well washed tee shirt usually solves the lint.
 
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