Oiling your Greenland paddle

Has anyone ever used Watco Teak oil over Tung oil on there GP? I made one from Alaskan Yellow Cedar if that makes a difference. The instructor likes Tung Oil , but someone i know uses teak oil because it won’t let mildew creep in. Any opinions or advice out there.

I think it is OK
I have used Tung Oil and Watco Teak Oil alternately on ash wood canoe gunwales and it does not seem to have caused any problems.

Watco is more of a thinned varnish, and not strictly an oil finish. It’s a common misconception that Watco is just an oil, but it’s really a varnish that’s been thinned enough allow it to be wiped on with a rag.

If you want a traditional oil finish that’s easy to maintain, and won’t go bad, you can’t beat boiled linseed oil. Thin it with turpentine, and add a splash of japan dryer to help it dry faster. Wipe a coat on with a rag once a day for a week (wiping off the excess), and you’ll have a real nice oil finish. Smells nice too. :slight_smile:


where would i find the Japan dryer?
if it gets tossed down on my paddling clothing like Gortex or other expensive stuff- will it leave oily residue? Probably sounds like a stupid question, but until it gets “seasoned” just wondered if i had to keep it away from fabrics and painted walls or anything.


And why do you prefer this over Tung oil?

Nate, I think “boiled” linseed oil
that you buy at the hardware store is not really boiled at all and already contains metallic driers. I do love the smell of linseed oil and turpentine, though!

Works fine
I use Watco on several of my paddles and it works fine. It is more like a thin varnish but not as tacky and easy to recoat every so often. It seems to last longer than linseed oil too.


Spontaneous Combustion
Linseed oil is dangerous because of spontaneous combustion. So I use high flash point avocado oil on all my unfinished paddle shafts and grips. Great for high temperature frying and for my hands too.

Tung vs.Linseed
Linseed can mold, tung does not, but it really doesn’t matter for your application unless you plan to store your paddle in a damp environment without air circulation. On the frame of a SOF kayak that is covered with fabric trapped moisture will eventually cause the linseed coated frame to mold. I would follow T’s advice and use tung in that case.

There’s no point in adding Japan drier

– Last Updated: Dec-29-11 7:05 AM EST –

"Boiled" linseed oil already contains chemical driers like those in Japan drier. It's not actually boiled anymore. Basically, it's raw linseed oil with Japan drier added.

Linseed oil itself is NOT a problem
The issue with spontaneous combustion has to to with improper disposal of rags saturated with linseed oil, or other oil types that create heat as they cure. All you need to do is spread out the rags to dry rather than wadding them up in a ball and the problem goes away. Some people prefer to soak their rags in water, but it’s unnecessary.

I looked up the MSDS for Kleen Strip
boiled linseed oil and was surprised to find no metallic salts listed. Only 95-100% linseed oil!

more than one type of watco
Danish v. Teak

Assume but don’t know if they are different.

I have use Watco Danish on canoe trim and it worked well.

About the only difference, I think,
is that the one specified for outdoor use contains a zinc and/ or copper-based fungicide and the other doesn’t. These are available as additives at better paint stores, BTW, and can be added to any favorite finish, though they do tend to leech out and lose their effectiveness after a couple of seasons outdoors.

I have used Watco Exterior,
Watco Teak, and boiled linseed on paddles. Varnish as well.

As for the oils, I never noticed an appreciable difference between them. Apply often and they all work. I have to admit that I find a certain enjoyment to applying oil to my sticks. Varnishing is not as much fun.


More specific
I should have been more specific in my post. I use Watco Danish Oil and it is as easy to apply as linseed.


Linseed Oil and Turps
2/3 boiled linseed oil, 1/3 turps has worked just fine for me for decades on canoe and kayak paddles. Can’t really see the need for any sort of fungicide…


Thanks… I will go
just the oil it sounds as good as anything. Thanks for all the tips and tricks

Happy New Year!

FWIW, there should be no compatibility
issues using linseed oil over tung oil. It’s always good practice to give the surface a good rub down with mineral spirits on either a Scotchbrite pad or #0000 steel wool beforehand, though.

And, if you plan to mix your own finish, some of the finest linseed oils are available from Winsor & Newton in small quantities from artist’s supply outlets.

I like Scotchbrite.
Leaves no little fibers behind to rust.