Suggestions for an oil to be used on wood gunnels of a canoe and a cedar wood Greenland paddle?? Any special directions for application you think is a must?
Boiled Linseed Oil
Some use their own custom mixes of oils such as tung + linseed. I use straight boiled linseed oil. For a newly carved paddle the first application is with warmed oil. Heat it outdoors to less than boiling. Wipe or brush it on and keep the wood wet looking for the next two hours while it soaks in. Let it sit for several hours/overnight before wiping off the excess. Later applications do not need to be warm. Just wipe the paddle down with an oily rag. At first you'll re-oil every trip, but soon you won't need to oil that often.
*Make sure to use boiled linseed oil. Un-boiled has a very very slow drying rate (oil painters (artists) use it).
*Dispose of oily rags outdoors. Oiled rags can spontaneously combust - they are very real fire hazards.
You might not want to use the same
oil for both. An oil that lasts longer on gunwales may not be a comfortable surface for your GP.
I use Watco exterior on gunwales. It leaves a slightly tacky, waxy surface feel. I use Minwax 209 Clear on paddle grips, but I varnish the shaft and blade, because wood that is sealed and with lower moisture content will be somewhat stronger. This may not concern GP paddle users, because they don’t often snag rocks or twist shafts the way whitewater paddlers do.
My daughter and son-in-law had a dining room table made out of 100+ year old barge boards salvaged from their house. The maker used multiple coats of tung oil, and I must say the result is impressive. However, the surface is slick and resembles a varnished surface.
My Preference For a GP
I just use a coat or two of Formby’s Tung Oil on my GPs. After it dries I wipe any gloss off with fine steel wool. I want to feel the wood and not some coating. Just leave enough oil finish to give it a nice, rich color.
pure tung oil on GP works.
Third tung oil
I have to get some more.
tung oil and varnish
The guy who made my laminated cedar Greenland paddle used a satiny blend of half tung oil and half varnish (though I don’t know exactly what brand.) It feels wonderful, like a baby’s bottom, and offers a comfortable grip with just the right balance of friction and slip. I did reluctantly coat the ends with low gloss spar varnish after a couple of years when they got scratched up, but have left the loom area with the original finish. I have another GP, a storm paddle, that has low gloss spar varnish on the whole thing and I don’t like the feel of it as well under my hands – too “sticky.”
You will likely get some first hand suggestions on here from paddle makers – you would also find good advice on it over at the Greenland forums http://www.qajaq.org. Many, many wooden GP makers over there.
You’re correct, but…
…Formby’s isn’t tung oil, despite what it says on the can. It’s actually wiping varnish, which is why it produces a gloss finish. Unlike many “tung oil finish” products, Formby’s actually contains some tung oil.
Pure tung oil is good stuff, but the resulting finish is very soft. I prefer to mix it 50:50 with varnish, which produces a more durable finish, but retains the satin look and feel of a pure oil finish. You apply it in the same wipe-on, wipe-off manner as plain oil.
Watco teak oil
I prefer Watco Teak oil. It gives wood a warm golden tone (at least it did on my ash gunwales). I think Watco Exterior oil will give you more a brownish tone. But all Watco oils are good.
The can says “Tung Oil Finish.”