Forums » Ask a Question

Use this forum to post your questions to our experts – you need to be logged on to do it (you can register here ), then scroll down to the bottom of this page and click the blue Post Thread words

If you can help answer the question, feel free to post a reply – you need to be logged on to do it (you can register here ), then hit the reply button on the thread.


To go back to the experts page click here>>


Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:10pm

Post Subject: varnish or wax

Hi Tony Was wondering if you could help again. We are about ready to varinsh all the oak inside our boat and a chap recommended that we use danish oil, as it will soak into the timber, were varnish just sits on the surface, he said it looks superb when rubbed into the timber giving it a satin finish, is it just personal choice or is there benefits. At the moment i've already varnished the doors so i would have to rub them all down if using the oil. Also we will be putting smoke alarms inside the boat and i was going to put one in the engine bay, is that a good idea? Regards Martin


Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:01pm

Post Subject: varnish or wax

Dear Martin, This is Phil's area, not mine but what I can tell you is that most varnishes will darken with age and in my view make the boat look a bit Dark. I would be a little concerned about the grain in oiled wood being left or becoming "open" so spillages and children's' art work etc. could be difficult to remove without sanding. I also have concerns over oil attracting dust - especially if you have a solid fuel stove. When I bought out boat in about 2000 I did some remodelling to the front cabin using white oak veneered board and trims. I decide to use silk water based varnish because the paint lecturers at College told me it did not suffer from darkening to the same extent as oil based varnish. I repeated this about four years ago when I re-did the back cabin and so far there is little signs of darkening. However when I worked on the hire fleet I got fed up with having to scrape all the old varnish off the wooden hulls/cabin sides, rub down and re-varnish every few years so thats a reason to use oil, but I still used water based varnish inside my boat. As far as the smoke alarm goes and assuming that you engine bay is at the stern then I suspect it would work as intended on a new boat & engine, but as the years go by I fear the constant dampness/condensation would destroy it and it might start reacting to slight exhaust leaks or crankcase fumes. I do not know the figures but we do not seem to hear about too many fires starting in engine rooms and I suspect those that do are electrically based so I think care with the electrical installation - especially the starting and other "unfused" circuits - would go far to minimise the risk. I can not say do not, but I fear it may give you a false sense of security so you do not make regular checks and then end up with a major short circuit and an alarm that failed through damp two years ago. Both of these are my personal opinions and as I said, Phil is the man to answer the oil v varnish question. Tony Brooks

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Canal Boat monthly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Cache: Disabled for this object  Total Queries: 43.  Total Objects: 162.  Total Unserialized: 3. Total Runtime: 0.28 seconds.