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Thread: Grey Owl Paddle refurbishment

  1. #1
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    Default Grey Owl Paddle refurbishment

    Hi,

    I am after some advice.

    Woodworking was never my strong point, I have a Grey Owl Paddle that is in need of Refurbishment.

    I am working on the basis that I need to sand it back with some very fine sandpaper and apply some varnish.

    What varnish should I use and does anyone have any tips to help me?

    Thanks

    Paul

  2. #2
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    If you've stripped it right back with no varnish left, oiling it may be a better option rather than re-varnishing. I use Danish Oil normally. Which Grey Owl paddle is it? I think the more basic ones are varnished, the more expensive oiled, if I remember rightly.

  3. #3
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    I've recently struggled with this especially the varnish so I'll leave that bit to someone better qualified. I did however completely sand the shaft then oiled it with Danish oil. Much easier to do!

    I've since been advised to initially varnish the shaft with an oil based be varnish diluted with white spirits.

    Whatever you do take your time

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Thanks - I am not too sure of the model - its well over 10 years old

  5. #5
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    Hi Paul, I'm fairly sure it's a Sugar Island and it has a standard varnish finish. I touched up my varnished Voyageur using International Yacht Varnish, a product I've used on many a dinghy over the years. Brilliant result, can't tell where the new and old varnish meet.

    A few folks on here have lavished a fair bit of effort on their Grey Owl paddles, as they are certainly worth the effort. Usual mod is to sand off all the varnish from the handles and use an oil finish. This gives a lower friction grip and reduces the chance of blisters. Not much point in doing this on the blade as it is well protected by the varnish.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

    http://apachecanoes.com

  6. #6
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    if the blade is laminated then varnish it. if you oil it the different layers of wood will expand at different rates when it gets wet which is no good. varnish seals it.

    after sanding down you can cut your varnish with turpentine to thin it, it will penetrate into the wood more. apply several thin layers that you let fully dry each, send it a bit, then apply the next layer. decrease the ratio of turpentine until you use varnish only on the top coats.

    the shaft you can oil, which i personally prefer for better feel. also if the blade is from a single piece of solid wood you can oil it as well.

  7. #7
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    I recently purchased a 'Grey owl Guide', after the advice from far more experienced members on here, i sanded and oiled the shaft with 3 coats of danish oil, as others commented the varnish was a bit 'grippy' and was starting to cause friction rubs, it's super smooth now.

  8. #8
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    Please educate me (I'm very non-technical... aka thick ). I don't understand the use of Danish Oil where you might want a breathable finish.

    I used Danish Oil in the past on a seat I had made and also to touch up a varnished Grey Owl Plume. After three or four coats it looks every bit like varnish, with a hard and glossy finish. Is it really an oil, or is it a varnish? What am I missing?

    I've now got an unvarnished Grey Owl Cherry Sagamore that I treat with boiled linseed oil, so I'm confused as to why anyone would suggest Danish Oil and not linseed oil for a matt, breathable, finish.
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

  9. #9
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    After three or four coats it looks every bit like varnish, with a hard and glossy finish
    I can't understand that, when I use it, it leaves what I'd describe as a matt finish once dry.
    You must be putting it on upside down .
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    You must be putting it on upside down .
    Ha ha ... yes, probably. Just looked again at what's now a spare / unwanted seat and it's more of a matt or silk sheen, not gloss. I guess I'm confusing myself for no good reason.
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duck Feet View Post
    I've now got an unvarnished Grey Owl Cherry Sagamore that I treat with boiled linseed oil, so I'm confused as to why anyone would suggest Danish Oil and not linseed oil for a matt, breathable, finish.
    I don't want mine breathing - it might sprout branches!

  12. #12
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    I had a varnished one piece paddle which I stripped and applied goodness knows how many coats of boiled linseed. First time in the water and it cupped to the point where it was unusable. Took it home and put it on the radiator and fortunately it straightened out so I applied loads more. I think the Danish gives a better seal so it's what I use for all my maintenance.

  13. #13
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    You can varnish over oil as well once it's set. I've done that with some bits of damage on the shoulder of the blade on my guide paddle. Soaked oil into the damaged area then varnished over it once it was well hardened.

    I've got a GO guide with a varnished blade and oiled shaft after I started having trouble with blisters from rotating the top grip on my palm. My big moving water paddle is varnished all the way, tend not to used knifed recoveries/Indian stroke so much so less rotation of the shaft and less risk of blisters.

    What came as something of a revalation to me was that you can apply thinned varnish with a lint-free cloth.

    I'm using ronseal extra hard garden furniture oil. Seems to go off quicker than danish, subjectively sets a bit harder. It has a slight reddish tint but the guid paddle is red wood anyway.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  14. #14

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    Many of the "oils" are blended mixes that are really slow setting varnishes.

    Just make sure you hang any rags out to dry. I thought it was bullsh!t that rags could self combust when I was told it as an apprentice. You know, like left-handed screwdrivers, tartan paint, etc. But my apprentice master proved it with a cotton duster and some linseed oil.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duck Feet View Post
    so I'm confused as to why anyone would suggest Danish Oil and not linseed oil for a matt, breathable, finish.
    Danish oil is either Tung Oil or Linseed Oil or a blend of the two. So, if using Danish Oil you could well be using linseed oil.
    They don't squeeze any Danes to get the oil out.

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