Wood gunnel...max protection

I try to stay away from wood gunnels as my canoes stay on top of my truck cap most of the year followed by outdoor winter storage. What is the max protection I can apply to the gunnels? Im thinking frequent cetol or even epoxy resin? Possibly mummify the boat in a plastic tarp for the winter?

One might have started with
mahogany woodwork, which is quite rot resistant.

Epoxy would need to be covered with UV resistant spar varnish anyway. The problem with hard surface coatings is that they will get crushed, cracked, and bruised in use.

So thorough oiling, with frequent (maybe twice yearly?) re-treatment, protects the wood and, if mechanically disrupted, is quickly touched up.

I guess if I were a fanatic, I would oil gunwales with Minwax 209 clear until they wouldn’t hold more, and then I would cover with a good spar varnish. But that’s not really necessary.

Probably epoxy then varnish or poly
For a flat water boat I think one or two coats of epoxy covered by several coats of traditional varnish or one or more coats of linear polyurethane would provide the most protection.

On another forum, Mike McCrea tested a number of different varnishes and polyurethanes on wood subjected to continuous UV exposure for a period of years and found that Minwax Helmsman Spar urethane held up best in the long term. I have found that Helmsman Spar urethane does not necessarily provide the best depth of finish or luster and is somewhat more prone to sags and runs than some high quality varnishes, but it is not bad.

If you are willing to reoil your wood trim every 6 weeks or so it might be a good option but I have found that penetrating oil finishes exposed to the elements for long periods of time are prone to mildew.

"One time wood"
Google it…Think it gives a 7 year guarantee on decks…ought to work for your situAtion

Yep, yep, and yep.
Linseed oil is mold food. You can add fungicides to oil finishes that don’t already have them and apply often, but, in the end, there are really no shortcuts to long-lived finishes on wood that’s repeatedly exposed for long durations. It’s all about timely maintenance.

Brightwork on million-dollar yachts gets treated pretty much as you describe: an endless cycle of scraping, sanding, and varnishing. It’s part of the price of ownership.

Dark stain helps to mask the unsightly mildew stains on my oiled ash canoe rails. The less I notice them, the less they bother me.