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.