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Finishing Paddles w/ Artwork

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by djhayes, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. djhayes

    djhayes Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Folks,
    Am struggling a little and was hoping for a little guidance. I am making a few holiday paddles for grandsons and, prior to varnishing I did some artwork (via stencils) on the blades. Used spar varnish to finish but am unhappy with the way that it discolors or yellows the artwork. Any finishing suggestions for me? Thanks much!
    Dan
     
  2. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Two possibilities: I used a product called General Finishes high performance top coat on an all wood canoe. It is a water-based urethane mix, goes on nice, dries quickly, and does not darken the wood. However, after paddling the canoe there are places which are lighter/darker, so this finish is not totally waterproof.

    West Systems makes a clear epoxy - can't remember but maybe 207??, so maybe just use epoxy as a final finish. Tom McCloud
     
  3. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Yes, it's their 207 resin - but there are two problems involved in using it. First of all, it (like any resin) does not go on smooth like varnish. You would need to add about three coats and then sand it down smooth to get a presentable looking surface. Secondly, it still needs to be varnished-over with a good UV filtering varnish in order to protect it from UV damage. Bare epoxy resin has a rather short UV lifespan before it breaks down. This is WEST Epoxy in it's natural hardened state, followed by how it looks after being sanded smooth, varnished and the varnish sanded smooth and polished:

    In order to get a water clear varnish, you pretty much have to lose the linseed oil base and go to a water-based product. These tend to vary a lot in terms of water resistance. The one I use is Enduro Pre-Cat, water-based one-part conversion varnish, which is great stuff, but needs to be sprayed.

    https://generalfinishes.com/sites/default/files/file_downloads/Tech-Data-Pre-Cat-Urethane-060310.pdf

    The water-based varnishes are all pretty thin (many about like milk). It might take quite a few coats to get what appears to be a nice, deep finish. Those made for wood floors (Minwax, Flecto Varathane Diamond, etc.) are brushable, but still pretty thin compared to oil varnish and they don't flow the way oil does. Some will withstand a day of paddling immersion, others may not.

    There is a clear grade of shellac that is supposed to be a lot less golden in color than varnish. I have always used the amber stuff and can't say anything about the clear version, but it might be worth investigating.

    Best option? It may well be to plan for some yellowing when picking your colors, make the most of the antique look it can provide and stick with good old spar varnish.
     

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    OP
    djhayes

    djhayes Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Clear Shellac - Thanks!

    There is a clear grade of shellac that is supposed to be a lot less golden in color than varnish. I have always used the amber stuff and can't say anything about the clear version, but it might be worth investigating.

    Thanks for the tip! Tried some Bulls Eye clear shellac and seems to work well.
    Dan
     

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