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Staining your canoe

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Howie, May 4, 2019.

  1. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Yes, always that is in order of my finishing process. Today I actually purchased a gallon of Tung oil to use as a substitute for the linseed oil. 65$ on amazon BTW. Its used in the epifhanes varnish as a base so why not give it a whirl? It has better properties as well for moisture. I feel the oil is the best for a creaky 120 + year old vessels that I restore. If the canoe does not creak when I pick it up off sawhorses then the oil has done its job .
  2. ewitzel

    ewitzel Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the information. I will most definitely apply the creak test!
  3. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    The problem with using boiled linseed oil is that it takes several weeks to dry. Can't varnish until it's very dry. If you do so then I believe you need to be sure to use an oil based varnish (which most of use use anyway BTW). You do want to put linseed (or maybe varnish) on the outside of the hull - but do so after the inside is varnished if you varnish before canvassing, or before canvassing if you varnish after the canvas is dry.
  4. Blott

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I use Tung oil. Initially thinned with a bit of turpentine and then applied "full bodied", rubbed back with a rag and then allowed to dry. The varnishes I use are all Tung oil based so all are happy with each other.

    Tung oil also leaves you with lovely smooth hands but a bugger for picking a pint up at the end of the day ! :)

  5. Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    A gentleman I talk to lately said that he replaces all ribs and planking that is needed then strips. His thought is that the color absorbed in the stripper from the old wood gets on the new and helps blend the colors better. Not a total match but helps even things out a bit.
  6. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Some restorers have described that "dirty stripper" technique here in the past, Norm, but I've never tried it. Adding up bits and pieces from a variety of posts in this thread encapsulates my approach: strip, TSP clean-up, chemical clean/bleach, sand, sealer coat of thinned varnish. Only then do I start replacing old wood (but I may have already removed some bad parts). Applying a sealer coat of varnish gives a good idea of what the wood will ultimately look like under varnish. So using that as a target and testing on scraps or just the ends of my new wood sanded to its final level (220 grit for me), I stain/dye to get the best match possible. Sometimes I'll apply a sealer coat of highly thinned varnish or shellac and then apply stain first if wood is prone to blotching, uneven staining, or highlighted grain that doesn't match the old wood's appearance. Staining new wood before installing prevents stain from darkening or changing the color of the adjacent old wood. That said, sometimes I have no choice but to stain after wood is added; in that case, I use good artist's brushes to stain only the intended wood.

    Never having tried the method of stripping after installing new wood, I can't comment on how well it works. Maybe it's great. I just worry that if it doesn't work as hoped, then I may have a lot of very careful staining to do. Plus the stripping sludge might not give the color that I'd like to see on the new wood. Just seems more straightforward to do it before installation when the color can be matched using a wide variety of stain/dye color or color combinations, and so that only the new wood gets stained. Finally, I like to get all the old finish and other junk our of the canoe so that any new wood makes good contact with clean old wood (I'm thinking, for example, about the ridges of varnish, sand and other debris that can be built up on the planking along the edges of old ribs).

    Different strokes... just sharing one person's approach and rationale.


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