Paddle Maintenance

What is the appropriate way to care for and maintain a paddle?

I searched the archive and only found one thread about paddle care. It recommended Watco Oil but my turtle paddle feels like it has some sort of hard finish. I’m not a woodworker but it seems like the Watco Oil wouldn’t be very effective with the hard finish.

While Watco…
…and other oil finishes can be compatible with a cured varnish, the bond will be mechanical, not chemical. This is also true for varnish over cured varnish. You should ‘scuff’ the area with fine sandpaper to provide ‘tooth’ onto which the new stuff will stick better. On close-grain wood, like your cherry paddle, supreior ‘penetration’ claimed by makers of oil finishes is, basically, hooey. A good grade of traditional ‘marine’ varnish, or even hardware store polyurethane will offer good protection with regular maintenance. Two or three thin coats applied about 4-6 hours apart (to get that chemical bond between coats) is better than one thick application. Pay special attention to that blade tip!

Turtle Paddles
are finished I believe with polyurethane varnish. Follow the abovementioned instructions.


Thanks for the advice. That was kinda what I was thinking but wanted to know for sure.

I should have mentioned…
…that I was referring to ‘oil-based’ varnishes, not ‘water-based’ acrylics. I hear that the low VOC products have improved performance of late, but I have no experience with them. Call me old-fashioned (solvent impaired?)! Take good care of that Turtle, it’ll bring a good price on Ebay someday.