First coat of varnish on. They always say you need at least 12 and really 14. I usually get bored after three. I have my suspicions that “they” who make these recommendations also make varnish. I am using simple foam brushes that I got form the children's painting section of a local discount store. They give a good finish, only last for one coat, but that is all you want them to do, and it saves me ruining yet another brush.