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"The Watco Teak oil seems to have a little better staying power than the regular and it tends to darken light colored ash a bit more than regular Watco oil..."
I recently oiled a new cane seat with Watco Teak Oil expecting and hoping it would darken the ash wood somewhat. No dice. It looks just like it did before the oil, but with a little sheen. I'm going to have to sand it down again and stain it, then re-oil.
BTW, Watco Teak oil is not just oil, it contains some varnish. I think some people call it a "wipe-on varnish".
I use Watco Teak Oil & have for several years. Typically 2 coats of it(as needed).
I let it dry between coat # 1 & #2.
Works for me; no mixing, easy to apply, and have never had a problem.
Be sure to wipe off any drips on the hull.
But I use my canoes a lot and have to slide them onto racks. I find that I sand and apply at least every 2-3 months, unless it's a boat that sits in the barn unused. The minimum I would apply, Mike, would be twice a year.
An old friend told me to try Olive oil once, and as I recall it worked? But haven't tried that in a long time. Seems like I had to put several coats on, but had a nice sheen and "Felt" smooth. Been almost a decade ago, but must have not been "Perfect" since I went back to Watko.
I've used Watco Teak (Marine) for years and like it a lot, but I've had better results with Deks Olje. In 1985 I applied 4 or 5 coats of step 1, then 2 coats of step 2 to the rails on my Proem 85. I've never needed to do any other maintenance and have used this boat extensively. The wood looks about the same as it did in 1985.
Here are pictures taken of that canoe within the past year.
they are essentially the same. You're a believable source in my book Glenn, but I remember that the odor of Deks was distinctively different from Watco. That is very unscientific, I know, but the results have been obvious to me. I've used Watco marine on all other canoes I've owned, stored them in the same vault in the Smithsonian, and I still have to re-Watco those about every year.
The wood on the Proem is mahogany. ... and really while I've always stored all my canoes indoors, I've had this canoe out hundreds of times and on many, many trips. Yes I treat my canoes well, but I think probably most of us do.
For those who are unfamiliar with Deks Olje, Deks D1 is the basic penetrating oil. Deks D2 is applied after application of D1 if you desire a satin or high gloss finish.
To get the best results, the Deks must be applied according to instructions. D1 is applied to the wood in repeated coats, about every 15 minutes or so, until the wood will not take any more. This will typically be 5-6 coats. If D2 is not applied after D1 the finish will be matte (but quite pleasant).
If you want a satin finish you can apply a couple of coats of a 50:50 mixture of D1 and D2. If you want a high gloss finish, multiple coats of D2 are applied.
The main difference between the handling of Watco and Deks is how the oil penetrates the wood. Deks seems to penetrate better. Of course, you can try to emulate the Deks D1 application process with Watco, but after about the 3rd coat, Watco just sits on the surface of the wood and turns gummy, unlike the Deks.
So the Deks application process is more time consuming and Deks is considerably more expensive. But in my experience it produces a much nicer luster and is way more durable than Watco oils.
I have known people who have gotten cosmetic results with Watco oils nearly equal to that of Deks, but they applied Watco oil after every trip out. So maybe if you are willing to apply it dozens of times a year, Watco will eventually penetrate wood to the same extent Deks does.
Deks D1 is a penetrating oil that results in a finish similar (but better) than Watco oil. Both are very different from the finish obtained with a good quality varnish, however. The difference in the finish is very readily apparent. Although Deks is more durable than Watco, it doesn't have the staying power of polyurethane or spar varnish, but it doesn't scratch up the same either.
Watco makes a Satin Wax product that can be applied over their regular penetrating oil that does produce a fair satin finish but not as nice as using the Deks D1:D2 mixture. To my knowledge, Watco doesn't make a product that produces a finish equivalent to the high gloss finish obtained by applying undiluted D2 over D1. I haven't tried applying varnish over Watco. I don't know how that would work out.
When I bought my first wood gunwaled (an MRC Explorer) back in the 1970s, I bought a quart of D1 and D2 from a local supplier in Minneapolis and used it every couple of years until I moved. After that, I couldn't find Deks locally and switched to Watco oil and have used several varieties. It is pretty easy to apply a quick coat of Watco, but I find that it doesn't stay nearly as well. After car-topping my boats and paddling them there are often bare looking areas along the midships gunwales and where the racks contact the rails after even one weekend trip. And I have never gotten as nice an appearance with Watco as with Deks, although Watco is not bad.
I think if you would use the product the difference in qualities between Deks and Watco would be immediately apparent.
White ash varies somewhat in density but is generally considered a denser wood, not as dense as some teaks, but comparable to maple and most mahoganies with some varieties approaching the density of hickory. It is generally considerably denser than spruce and most pines.
The CW on oil finishes is that any difference in surface penetration depends as much or more on the species to which they are applied as anything and that traditional varnish application achieves comparable depth of "penetration" on long grain. Really, we're talking about dimensions measured in microns here.
Scrape the tip of a sharp nail across a gunnel and tell me how deep the finish has penetrated and hardened in the wood. Safe bet it's about as deep as a sheet of newsprint is thick.
The differences between the various oil/solvent/varnish finishes are minor variations on formulas that joiners, carpenters, and shipbuilders have been using for generations. There are modern resins and refined solvents that may be tougher or cheaper and the proportions may vary a bit, but it's mostly marketing that attempts to differentiate most of these products.
I always thought "penetrating oil" was stuff you put on rusted nuts and bolts to loosen them.
I don't think that oil finishes penetrate the wood to any significant extent and yes, the finished part of the wood is easily scratched off, perhaps more easily than a varnish or polyurethane finish.
I do find, however, that while sharing similarities, different oil products handle quite differently and produce significantly different results.
I think polyurethane or varnish is a terrific finish for wood that is not subject to much abrasion but is subject to long periods of continuous UV exposure, such as the deck of a wooden motorboat. Oil finishes on wood that is left outdoors sometimes attracts dust and dirt and greys. Most canoes are not left outside for very long periods of time, however.
There are a lot of folks who prefer using oil finishes on the gunwales of their canoes, if not on all the wood trim. Are we all dupes of a marketing ploy?
I think those who prefer an oil finish accept that the finish will need to be renewed more frequently than a varnish or polyurethane finish but choose oil because of the ease of application. Oil finishes, unlike varnish, are rather indifferent to the method of application. Varnish needs to be applied carefully to avoid sags and runs and for best results should be wet-sanded between coats. The wet varnish seems to attract every gnat and bug in the neighborhood while it is drying. And it is difficult, if not impossible to apply more than one coat per day.
Even for an oil finish with a rather involved application process like Deks D1, it is possible to apply 6 coats to a canoe's gunwales in an
afternoon. Applying 6 coats of varnish is a week long task. Once the initial application of the oil finish is done, touch up is also much quicker and easier than for a bright finish.
Another reason some prefer oil finished gunwales is simply the way they look, which is very significantly different from a bright finish.
It seems that this topic has about been beaten to death, but if anyone really wants additional opinions regarding oil finishes vs bright finishes, go on over to the wooden boat forum. Wooden boat owners tend to be pretty fussy about their wood. Here is a thread regarding Deks and other oil finishes: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?4587-Oil-finishes-Deks-Olje&highlight=Deks+Olje
Not everyone there is a fan of oil finishes but this post pretty much mirrors my experience with Deks Olje:
" Deks #1 is a true matte, rich-looking oil finish. I don't know what's in it in terms of UV absorbers, but as long as it's maintained it doesn't seem to look much different as time goes by. I'm not sure I'd leave a boat in the water or out in the weather with only Deks #1 as a protector, but for dinghies or small boats that get covered storage, it holds up quite well, as will a lot of other coatings.
The ease of application, fast initial application and drying times compared to many other oil products (it's not still sticky two weeks after application, unlike some oils) easy touch-ups and that nice looking subtle finish are what I have always liked about it. The key to getting lasting results seems to be learning to apply a fresh coat before it starts looking like it needs it. That way you don't need to go in and sand any areas that have dirt ground into them.
Since I tend to approach re-varnishing as an unwanted chore, the fact that Deks is easy and quick to re-apply tends to simplify the process to the point where I don't put it off until the last possible moment. I've also used #1 as a base layer for varnish a couple times, instead of priming with diluted varnish. I don't know what the chemistry involved is or whether it's a good idea or not, but it seemed to hold up pretty well.
They used to run an ad in WB for Deks Olje showing one of Jay Benford's boats (named Sunrise?? and 34' sticks in my mind, but may not be accurate) that was finished bright with Deks #1 and #2. It was lovely and lived in the Pacific Northwest, so the stuff must work OK out on a mooring as long as it's maintained. I don't think it will ever put the varnish makers out of business and am not claiming that it holds up better, or even as well as a good varnish job, but for classy-looking, easy to maintain small boats I really like the stuff. "