1923 OT project


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Well i am currently in the process of refurbishing a 1923 OT ideal model canoe, so far I've stripped, I've sanded and now its time to seal the wood, I plan on mixing equal parts of Boiled linseed oil, turpentine and Varnish... the varnish ill be using is W.W. Restoration Varnish and is for marine use, my question is, it says nothing about being gloss or not, dose anyone know if this type of varnish is gloss or high gloss?, is there a way to tell?...






I can't find anything in the Behlen literature that indicates the gloss level of this varnish, and none of the Behlen suppliers I've found describe it either. Furthermore, there is also only a vague reference to UV shields, and this varnish isn't marketed as a marine varnish, just "good for interior and exterior." Why not use a traditional marine varnish, one that boat finishers have tested on boats for many years? There are a number of them including ones by Epifanes, Interlux and Petit/Z-Spar.

On a different note (and I apologize if I seem to be getting into your business), I'd suggest adding some temporary thwarts to bring the hull back into shape. It appears to have spread significantly, and perhaps more so on the left in your photo than on the right in your 3rd photo. Not a good thing.

The place i bought it from told me it was a marine varnish and it says its not affected by saltwater , do you have any specific varnish's you recommend?

Thanks for looking and i will put the thwarts in right now i appreciate all the help this is my first canoe restoration so everything new and every bit of advice helps.
I readily admit I haven't tried Behlen's varnish. It's not that a varnish should be impervious to salt water- I think any varnish should be unaffected by either salt or fresh water- it's the amount of UV shields in the varnish and its adherence to the hull and its flexibility that are important. Of a variety of varnishes tried, personally I much prefer Epifanes Gloss Varnish. It's available from good marine suppliers including Jamestown Distributors (search online; you'll find they're very helpful with a variety of finishing materials and supplies, almost any fastener you could want and many other things).

About the spreading- you might need to add some stiffening battens outside the hull where the outwales would go (no nails or screws, just clamp on), and gently, maybe slowly over time pull the hull back into shape. If you simply pull it together quickly at the thwarts, you could break some wood, or you might end up with the canoe pulled in more at the thwarts and bulged out between them. Old Town's 15' 50-pound model often develops a peanut shape on its own because it has only one thwart. Between that thwart and each end, the hull can relax. With the battens for now, and after getting outwales back on, yours shouldn't have this problem.

The canoe is looking good- keep it up!
I can't see the pics but, I was wondering why the mix?

I use tung oil (inside) or linseed oil (outside) mixed with mineral spirts for sealing, and varnish for top coating, (usually Interlux but I've used others).

But the mixing the oil with the varnish doesn't make sense to me.


"mixing equal parts of Boiled linseed oil, turpentine and Varnish"

btw, if you use turp, do it outside. :)
Good point, Dan. A lot of woodworkers make up their own concoctions for finishing, and this mix sounds like one designed as an easy wipe-on finish for furniture. For interior furniture, or for lightly used things that get some sun exposure, maybe a finish like this (with UV shields) would be okay. Marine varnishes, however, are designed for build-up of film thickness. A mix like this would be very low build even after quite a few coats.

"rbreed17"- search these forums... there have been many threads discussing varnishing techniques (and there are articles in past issues of Wooden Canoe). Most users and varnish manufacturers recommend starting with dilute varnish, and increasing concentrations with subsequent coats, ultimately laying on a number of full-strength varnish coats (sometimes even 15 or more coats for high build).

The can states long oil spar varnish. That would be athe same as a long oil marine varnish. Spar = marine in all dictionaries I have. It is a brush varnish not a wipe on. Light amber tint.
I'm working very close with someone who rebuilds canoes full time and this is the mixture he recommends and uses on all his canoes, this is only the first 2 coats to seal the wood i assume. he is out of Naples, NY
( www.westhollowboats.com )

thanks for the advice Dan i will certainly be doing this in the garage, however its around 30 degrees and i must heat the garage to around 50-55 degrees how long do u suppose i must keep the garage at this temp for the mixture to nicely soak into the wood? 24hrs 48hrs any ideas?

thanks again Mike, ill defiantly look through the forums and research a little more about varnishing techniques, i want this canoe to be perfect and once again appreciate all the help.

also i returned the W.W. Varnish and purchased Epifanes Gloss Clear Varnish.