Oil or maybe Cetol

Wha Ho, Pilgrims;

Queestoon? Ah’s a’finishin’ up de mahogany gunnels an’ decks on me 1936 Old Town OTCA an’ tryin’ out different finishes. Ah’ kinda likes de Watco Teak Oil finish, but have any o’ ye folks ever tried Cetol fer dat varnished look? Since ah’ have de Watco on some o’ de rails already, ah’ suppose ah’ kin put a coat or two of Cetol on top of de oil after ah’ let it dry out fer a week or so. Any sooggestoons would be grand. Thanky kindly.


I’ve put all manner of oild based
finishes and varnish over cured Watco oil at one time or another. I’ve never had any problems. I’ve never used Cetol however.

I’d try it on a small, inobtrusive spot before commiting to the entire job. If it flows out and dries as you expect it to, your good to go.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom paddles and cedar strip canoes

Hi FE,

On your Old Town I would use a good varnish such as Captain’s. I’m a long time member of the WCHA and therefor have developed a bias for the traditional look of varnish on WC canoes.

With my Rapidfire I used Cetol lite on the inwales and outwales. While it lasts much longer than oil and is easier to refinish than varnish, I’m becoming disenchanted with the look and may strip them and use varnish or a oil finish instead.

When I put the original coats coats of Cetol lite on I liked them and the semi-translucent finish with an orange tone looked good with the dark green color of my Rapidfire. Touch ups on places where there have been rubs from transport have not blended in as well as I expected and are becoming more opaque orange than the first coats. After hand picking the cherry from Charlie’s stash, hiding the grain of the cherry under a orange tone semi-transparent finish seems a waste of attractive wood.

You can please some of the people all the time, you can please all the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all the time.