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Linseed or Tung oil question

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Ric, Mar 21, 2021.

  1. Ric

    Ric Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I've got a new to me 1919 OTCA that someone stained dark. They either did a bad job stripping it first or the original finish just has worn away. Most of the wood is bare but I can see some finish and lighter wood here and there. I eventually want to sand/strip/lighten the interior as much as I can but in the meantime would like to preserve and protect the wood. My thought is to use tung oil or boiled linseed oil. The canvas was redone about 5 yrs ago and is in decent shape.
    Will the oil make the stain harder to remove?
    Will the oil harm the canvas/filler/paint?
  2. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    Thinned Linseed is usually the way to go.

    TeKa can be used to brighten the wood up. I've never used it on a partially stripped canoe. It may look weird when applied to wood that has varnish still left.

    If the Varnish isn't too bad I'd rough up the old varnish to give it tooth. Then revarnish with a good spar varnish that matches the sheen (Flat, Satin, Gloss).

    That said, if the finish is too far gone like less than 80% coverage and the cedar is oxidizing it might be worth it to strip, TeKa, linseed oil, then Spar Varnish. I'd be on that course of action personally.

    This forum will be a massive help to you as you begin your odyssey. But before you begin you ought to get some good guides.

    Mike Elliott's book is really good for general canvas canoe restoration (he works on Chestnuts and Canadian Canoes primarily). He has really good photography and useful processes that are easy to follow.

    Jerry Stelmok & Rollin Thurlow's book is very useful for building your own canoe. But it's also useful for Old Town canoe restoration, technique, and process.
  3. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    The challenge is to make any significant improvements to the hull finish with the canvas in place. Almost any product that is used to sort out the stain and remaining varnish will seep through and possibly ruin the canvas or the finish and filler. Acids, cleaners (TSP) all need to be flushed with lot's of water. That water will soak through. Non-Phosphate TSP is probably the safest thing that could be used that would minimally damage the canvas. You might try it if a small spot where it won't stand out. I generally experiment under the seats or under the decks.
    Until the canvas is off you really cannot attempt anything that would substantially improved the coloration or draw out the stain that was applied. Consequently (assuming you are leaving the canvas on) I would carefully clean the inside of the boat with water and a soft brush. You may decide to use the TSP after testing it on a spot. Then you need to let the boat completely dry out. Next you should sand the wood taking care not to get too aggressive. Since you are not stripping the wood, you should not expect sanding to alter the color. You don't want to sand enough to sand down the cliched tacks. Once it is lightly sanded, varnish it.
    A Captains Spar tends to be a lighter/brighter varnish than the darker/richer Epifanes. You might consider that as the one to use. Do not use polyurethane. Use only marine grade spar varnish on your boat.
    Whatever you apply, the stain and wood will darken up. Hopefully it won't look black.
    I would apply three (or more) coats. The first couple should be thinned following the manufacturers instruction. A few years from now when you replace the canvas you can properly strip the hull, TeakNu, TSP etc. Personally I never use linseed oil inside the hull...thinned varnish on the inside, occasionally shellac for coloring, warmed/hot boiled linseed, mineral spirits and turpentine blend on the outside.
    You should post some pictures.
  4. OP

    Ric Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thats my concern, damaging the canvas. I want to preserve the wood but don't want to create more work or damage down the road when I do take the canvas off. Sounds like ill get some varnish. It cleaned up ok with Murphys oil soap and a nylon brush. I made another post with some pictures.
    Dave Wermuth likes this.

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