GP and tung oil

How often, if at all, do you put tung oil on your GP?

Do you use one or two coats?

If two coats, how much time do you allow between each coat?

Congratulations Bruce!
You have started the first oil vs varnish posting war of 2009! Also, tung vs linseed, linseed vs teak oil, and oil vs nothing.

I was beginning to feel un-entertained, so let the posts begin!


who still has not gotten around to re-finishing his Mitchell Horizon GP

When it needs it…
I’ll chime in - I oil my western red cedar paddles when they get looking dry. Some people don’t oil the cedar at all, so it’s not a case of the paddle needing treatment to preserve it.

One or two coats will do it (I usually manage only one), with a day between coats. I’m using Minwax Tung Oil, which is not pure tung. I’ll have to try the real stuff, to see how it compares. The Minwax dries quite nicely and lasts OK - my paddles need a coat once or twice a year.

Cheers, Alan

Why waste money on Tung?
Seriously, it’s an oil finish that will need regular and routine maintenance. Why not just use the least expensive products that will work, like the ancient linseed oil/beeswax/turpentine mix? Save the pure tung oil for your cutting boards and children’s toys that require a non-toxic finish. And please, don’t bore us with the “hardness” or “penetration” arguments, as they really don’t hold water (or repel it any better).

There, how’s that for an opening volley? This ought to roust Cockney from his holiday hangover!

I like teak
I have a Norsaq that I put Tung on. Tung really soaks in. Two coats, overnight 12-24 hrs dry, wipe. More coats if you want. As needed. I don’t use my Norsaq that much anymore. I refinished it once after about 3 months of weekly use.

If teak, 2 coats, 30 min dry, wipe. I refinish about yearly.

When I make the paddle, I put 8 - 10 coats on it, and sand lightly between coats starting with 220 grit and working up to 800. Last 2 coats, I don’t sand between.

Subsequent coats, I don’t sand. I oil when it starts looking dry, usually 2 coats.

I use WATCO teak oil. A quart can lasts for years.

Oil v. Varnish!
Great debate coming! I love it. I have never used tung oil, I never thought about it. I did use boiled linseed, with various dilutions of turpentine, but I use my paddles 2-3 times a week, year 'round, here in sunny FL, and the finish just doesn’t hold up long enough. I now use two coats of satin spar varnish over the old oil finish, buffed with steel wool to reduce the slippery feel and appearance. I say appearance, as the grip just isn’t all that different. And the varnish seems to bond well with the oiled wood. As an additional benefit, I noticed that the skin irritation on my hands has disappeared. This may be coincidental, or the fact that I have some allergic reaction to the oil, but it is reason enough for me to never go back to an oil finish. Ken…

It’s a Personal Preference Thing
Some folks like glossy. I like flat. I use the cheap Formby’s tung oil finish. I’ll put a coat or two on and when it starts to look glossy I rub it down with very fine steel wool. Ahhh… beautiful.

The Minwax…
… blend works very well - but many similarly named products do not. I like pure tung too. Nice to have something without fumes and toxicity.

Think I’ll be doing blend on initial coat, pure on next coats (one a day until where it feels right is wise (I’m often unwise and try for 2 same day). Can be 2 coats, can be 5.

Re-oiling? Just occasionally - as needed - if they seem dry-not protected enough. When this is - also seems to vary. I have paddles that needed re-oiling in a couple months - but then less and less often over time. Some seem to almost never need it - and might get done only if I happen to think about it when doing another (usually new) paddle.

Pretty quick simple maintenance - touchups seem more like simple cleaning that “finishing”.

Tung Oil
I use real tung oil, not tung oil finish. I follow the directions on the can and have heard that you should apply the tung oil once a day for a week, once a week for a month, one a month for a year, and as needed after that. I just oiled mine once a day for a few days, but it appears to need more, so perhaps I should have followed the saying above.

My paddle is laminated and urethaned

– Last Updated: Jan-05-09 6:17 PM EST –

It needs no oil or other pesky maintenance.

I epoxy mine then follow with satin

I like your approach.
I’ve never understood excessive numbers of oil applications that, in essence, build a film in slow-motion. If trying to prevent the wood from absorbing water is the goal, a thinned coat of high-gloss, oil-based PU followed by two straight from the can is about the best you’re gonna get. Rubbing out after it’s fully cured with #0000 steel wool will give it that silky satin look/feel, if desired.

Oil your tongue before every time
you sign on to pnet.

Castor or Cod liver?

Maybe this will explain…
… the part you don’t understand.

Difference between rubbed oil vs PU or epoxy finished paddles is like the difference between caressing a Woman vs. a mannequin.

It all works, but this paddling stuff isn’t all about work now is it?

(Disclaimer, I still love my CF/Epoxy Superior GP - because it’s a very good tool, but the oiled wood paddles are more like extensions of myself. Easier to get to disappear in use).

Snake. NM

Goose grease from a Canada Goose
that I strangled myself.

I’ve not interacted in inappropriate
ways with a mannequin, so I’ll take your word for it.

But, in some ways, your point is valid. Since wood, in general, doesn’t absorb much water through the side grain, as in the loom of a GP, and some, like you, prefer the feel of an unvarnished surface, why not varnish the blades for superior protection and oil only the loom?

I agree that ‘wood is good’ and that PU can sometimes feel plastic-y, but 10 coats of Tung oil? You might as well varnish it, it’ll last longer.

Bruce -
Do I have a crystal ball or what!