Oiling the gunnels?

After reading the old 1986-7 Curtis catalog that came with the canoe I just bought I see that the woodwork was oiled with Watco. I was wondering if prue tung oil would work as I have over a gallon of it on hand? This is a high quality prue tung oil.

Yes but clean them first if needed
You will need to work the oil in several times. Its not a blob on and let dry operation. Use a Scotchbrite pad to work the oil in. The friction heats the oil a little for better penetration.


Tung oil
In my experence, Tung oil hardens to create a finish,and Teak oil stays more fluid and penitrates. I have used Tung Oil for gunstocks and wouldn’t think of using teak oil for that.Tung oil isn’t real weather resistant. I use teak oil on my gunnels twice a year-it smells nice.


If your tung oil is really only
pure tung oil with no solvents, you’ll want to mix some in. Turpentine or mineral spirits app. 10-20%. If it says tung oil “finish”, then it contains solvent. Add another 10% spar varnish and go for it.

It is the pure stuff
I make flutes and an occasiional wood bow. Years ago I read a USFS study on water proof outdoor finishes. The best was a mix of turpentine, linseed, and parafin. It was the parafin that made it truly a waterproof finish. In another study by a bow maker prue melted parafin rubbed into the wood was the only finish that prevented the moisture content from going up after complete immersion. I don’t remember the duration. However, parafin leaves a waxy feeling finish. I wonder how a turpentine, tung oil, parafin finish would do?

I have the tung oil and turpentine so will go with that for now. Tung oil dries the hardest of any of the oils. I would do the teak and then finish off with the tung, but don’t have teak on hand. I do have spar varnish I use on the kayak I built.

One other question, what would you use to clean the wood before oiling? I figure a detergent and a sanding with a fine sand paper.

Thanks for the info and the link

I made the mistake
of paste-waxing gunnels… once. First time I threw the canoe up on my car it nearly flew clear off the other side!

I don’t worry too much about surface preparation. A wipe-down with paint thinner and a quick scuff-sanding is all I ever do.

We have three different canoes that
we use tung oil on.

I makes a beautiful mat finish.

Jack L

I think you can still get
metallic dryers in small bottles at art supply stores, too.

The outdoor formulas for oil finishes sometimes contain fungicides, too, I think.

You’ve already got the main ingredients. I say go ahead and mix up a batch of home brew. What’s the worst that can happen?

Watco always
Workes well for me. Not expensive as a can will last you forever just doing canoes. Why second guess the manufacturer?

Certainly can use tung oil mix…I’m just sayin’…

Tung oil help asap
Just checking. On the bottle it says to use a steel wool refinishing pad after the tung oil dries. I am assuming this is not for gunnels, but wanted some advice.

Thanks in advance.