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Back in the fifties, when I built my canoes, I used yacht varnish on the mahogany bits.  I think that would have been before polyurethane!  It was perfect - it brought out the colour and the grain of the wood, and slightly darkened it.

I've reached the stage in my (first-ever) Mare Nostrum build where I have to paint it.  Or varnish it.  I decided against paint, mainly because I used walnut for the second planking layer and I want it to show.

But what varnish?
When I had finished the (basswood) deck planking, I bought a little pot of "Blackfriar Duratough Clear Varnish" and used that on it.  OK for basswood, I suppose, but it seems 'clear varnish' is formulated to just coat the wood without enhancing any of its character.

I tried the Duratough varnish on a test piece of walnut, and frankly it did nothing at all to bring out the wood's colour or to enhance its appearance in any way.
Is there still an equivalent of proper yacht varnish available?

 

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Brian,

 

There must be 'proper yacht varnish' still out there as there are still a lot of nicely varnished wooden yachts about.

 

Lately I've been using an American product - Minwax Wipe-on Poly - and found it excellent for models.

 

John

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Thanks John.  I've searched our UK end for "Minwax Wipe-on Poly" and it comes up with lots of people looking for it, but none finding it!  Even Amazon UK says 'not available'.

Obviously America has sneezed, but the UK hasn't yet caught the cold!

 

As an alternative, I've seen references by some modelers here to 'oiling' their models.  Does that mean they use teak oil instead of (or maybe as a precursor to a polyurethane finish?

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Brian,

 

it's funny that Minwax is available over here but not in the UK.

 

Yes, some modellers use an oil finish instead of polyurethane and find it execellent, but I've always been worried about the dust catching qualities of some oil finishes.  Try a new query on the forum re the best oil finish as various ones have been used by some of our members.

 

John

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