Refinishing Questions


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I am stripping my 1928 OTCA and am going to wash it after its stripped with the 2 part teak cleaner and brightner mentioned in the book. The book I am using also recommends a coating of boiled linseed oil. I am interested in getting this vessel back to original and am worried that the linseed will turn it too dark. Are there any alternatives you can use to make the wood more durable w/o making it change such drastic colors? I am also in search of a clear coat brand that goes on nice & smooth and holds up for canoes. What was originally used and what have you guys found works best. I'm a new WCHA member and new to restoration. I'm enjoying finding the beautiful mahogany grains under all this old varnish and am thankful for the input in advance. Thanks, Stantheman TATAMY, PA
Hey Stan, the linseed oil goes on the outside of the planking so color change isn't too much of a problem. I've only ever done it once, but when I did some did soak through to the otherside (mostly near fasteners and seams) so maybe I was putting it on too thick? But at any rate when I sanded the inside prior to varnishing it went away. As for varnish, I read in one of these threads about captains z-spar varnish #1015. Ive got 3 coats on so far and I think it looks great. Maybe someone more experienced can recomend others. I also read something about putting on a satin varnish as the last coat so the boat isnt so shiny. I personally like the glossy finish so I'm sticking with it. Hope this helps. Good luck with your project.

Hi Stan,

Zach is correct, I only put the linseed oil on the outside of a restored canoe.

I put a few coats of vanish on the inside, (cut with thinner for the first coats) and then I oil the outside. You can use many different products on the outside and you won't have a problem if some leaks inside.

After its canvased and filled you can finish the varnishing on the inside.

Have fun,


I never re-canvassed and after stripping the interior finish I did oil the interior. It was the last thing I did before winter. It did make the interior resemble the finished product.

The next spring, the 'art museum' smell of the linseed was gone and the interior was not noticeably darker. the varnish lets the natural colors show thru and I do not think it is any darker from the oil...

You can see the different wood colors in my avitar. I really like the color of the mahogany outwales and left them brite on three sides. Since the rails get worn from use I did a 4th coat on the rails, thwarts, decks & seats,

Welcome to the WCHA! I'm originally from Easton and belong to Bushkill Valley; just down the road from Tatamy :)
Last edited:

I use Tung oil on the inside, linseed on the outside.
The Tung oil doesn't turn dark like the linseed oil

I mix it 50/50 with hi grade mineral spirts, (mainly to reduce the smell).

I also only use about 1 qt per side, otherwise it starts to get heavy.

Thanks, Keep It Coming

Thanks for everyone's input. In each one I learned something new. I can't wait to get back to work on it. I am a special education teacher in Easton PA and have one more day of school. I can't wait for summer to get started on my new found project. I am sure I'll need more input in the future. Thanks again. Stan