Varathane or Varnish for Flatwater Canoe canoe?

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Albertaboat
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Varathane or Varnish for Flatwater Canoe canoe?

Post by Albertaboat » Thu May 07, 2020 5:52 pm

Hello,

I have an older fiberglass flatwater canoe with wooden gunnels. The varnish is starting to come off on the gunnels. It is not a heavily used boat, I just want to clean it up. I was wondering on advice about sanding down the gunnells and doing a few coats of varathane on the gunnels. I have some outdoor varathane I was planning on using will this be suitable for flatwater use?

I was wondering if anyone had some advice. I did peruse through previous posts and couldn't find much on varnish/varathane, but I appologize in advance if this has been covered already.

Thanks,

Ian

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Re: Varathane or Varnish for Flatwater Canoe canoe?

Post by Paddle Power » Thu May 07, 2020 7:57 pm

If you already have the varathane I’d say go for it.

You could do a test. Try some varathane on a thwart for instance to see how it adheres to the current finish.

Of course, scrape, peel, sand, stripe etc. the old finish to remove all loose bits. Clean. Dry.
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Re: Varathane or Varnish for Flatwater Canoe canoe?

Post by C1NCR » Fri May 08, 2020 1:37 pm

If you are going to strip them I would go with an oil finish. Easier to apply, touch up. It may darken the wood a bit.

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Re: Varathane or Varnish for Flatwater Canoe canoe?

Post by Peter K. » Fri May 08, 2020 3:21 pm

Second the use oil instead of varathane if you are going to strip them. I have one boat with varathane trim and it is a pain to keep up. If the finish is damaged and water gets in you will have rot. I had some minor damage to the stem of the boat with varathane from rolling the boat over to pick it up which I sadly ignored. I had to replace the deck plate and the gunnel. The boats with oiled finishes don't suffer from this (although you do have to oil them every year).

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Re: Varathane or Varnish for Flatwater Canoe canoe?

Post by Kelly-Rand » Fri May 08, 2020 8:32 pm

I agree with oiling the gunwales. I've made my own that has worked fine for the annual ritual. Equal parts satin urethane, boiled linseed oil and turpentine. Brush on and rub and wipe off with a cloth. Just remember to put the cloth in a metal can afterwards as the evaporative process generates enough heat to self ignite in some cases.
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Re: Varathane or Varnish for Flatwater Canoe canoe?

Post by Albertaboat » Sun May 10, 2020 10:13 pm

Thanks very much for all the responses, I really appreciate it. I am looking forwards to getting after this project. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have picked up some work after I lost work from the virus so it may wait another week or two.

Once I get after it and see how the old finish comes off I will either add a couple of coats of varathane if it is holding up relatively well or if it is flaking off I will do a full strip and start oiling the gunnels.

The boat is stored in a garage whenever it isn't used and it is very dry here so rot is not too big of an issue. There is no rot in the gunnels even though it is 30 years old.

Thanks again

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Re: Varathane or Varnish for Flatwater Canoe canoe?

Post by sdbrassfield » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:20 pm

Danish Oil.
SYOTR

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